Fritz Roethlisberger Memorial Award

Faculty Duo Receive Fritz Roethlisberger Memorial Award

 Date published: August 23, 2017

Richard Miller, DBA, and Rosemary Maellaro, Ph.D.Satish & Yasmin Gupta College of Business faculty members Richard Miller, DBA, and Rosemary Maellaro, Ph.D., were recently awarded the Fritz Roethlisberger Memorial Award for their research article “Getting to the Root of the Problem in Experiential Learning: Using Problem Solving and Collective Reflection to Improve Learning Outcomes.”

This award commemorates the legacy of 20th century social scientist and management theorist Fritz Roethlisberger and is granted each year to the author(s) judged to have contributed the best paper on teaching and learning in the organizational and management sciences published in the Journal of Management Education.

Drs. Miller and Maellaro’s research explores the impact of the experiential learning cycle — or learning through reflection on doing — on management education and combines academic and industry tools to help educators increase the depth of student learning.

Dr. Miller, an expert in operations, was able to combine his insights with Dr. Maellaro’s more than 20 years of leadership and organization development experience. The result was a cross-disciplinary study that paved the way for an enhanced experiential learning model and became one of the top-read articles from the Journal of Management Education.

The inception of the research occurred in 2012 at a faculty research discussion where Dr. Miller was presenting some of his initial findings on experiential learning to his colleagues, including Dr. Maellaro, at the University of Dallas. Despite working only a few doors away from each other in SB Hall, Drs. Miller and Maellaro were unaware of just how similar their research specialties really were.

“While listening to Dr. Miller’s presentation, I realized that we were both working on similar things, just calling them by a different name,” recalled Dr. Maellaro.

This research is groundbreaking in the field for its ability to link two areas of business not commonly studied together: operations, which is very analytical, and organization development, which is much more qualitative in nature. While Drs. Miller and Maellaro have very different professional backgrounds, once they discovered their shared interests, the colleagues realized the research could be strengthened by working together.

“Oftentimes we’re a lot more alike than we realize,” added Dr. Miller. “This really shows the collaboration of the college and our research philosophy — even across fields as different as operations management and leadership.”

In fact, the unique approach of their research has been one of the major keys to its success. The awards committee applauded the paper’s innovation “in its combination of tools used in different functions more common in industry than in education.” The committee also noted that the paper “offers readers the potential of a significant learning depth for students in terms of critical thinking.”

Since receiving this award, the circulation of this article has increased dramatically and has received praise across the academic community.

“This research has made us better educators,” said Dr. Maellaro. “I now have greater confidence in my teaching process and philosophy because of this research — I know that it works. It cemented my confidence in the process.”

“We were both doing this research for the goal of increasing our students’ learning,” agreed Drs. Miller and Maellaro. “Receiving this award is validation that what we do in the classroom has a positive and meaningful impact on them.”


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