College of Business and Economics

New doctoral graduates to be recognized at winter commencement

December 16, 2020

Written by Dana Krems | Photo by Nick Pook

Eight graduates of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Doctorate of Business Administration program will be named at the Dec. 19 virtual commencement ceremony celebrating all May, August and December graduates of the Class of 2020. These new terminal degree-holders will join the 37 others who have completed the program since 2014.

The individuals are Linda Bartelt, Suanne Barthol, Amy Fairfield, Ronald Pegram, Alecia Reinhardt, Derek Rowland, Dawn Shearrow, and Yi Xu. They include business consultants, corporate executives and university professors.

“While we cannot celebrate in person, we extend our congratulations as the graduates take the next steps in their careers,” said John Chenoweth, dean of the College of Business and Economics. “Their success helps characterize the quality of the program and the faculty supporting it.”

“Students from four cohorts have now graduated,” added K. Praveen Parboteeah, professor of management and DBA program director. “We can showcase a strong collection of theses and dissertation defenses, as well as the quality academic articles our alumni produce or their advancement as business leaders.”

The UW-Whitewater DBA was designed as an applied, practitioner-orientated degree program. Students are taught to use a theoretical lens when framing their area of study and use academic-level research and analysis to solve real-world problems.

DBA candidates have embraced this framework and flourished. They are conducting research that is leading to dissertations with immediate impact.

Linda Bartelt, who is launching Mobius Learning Academy, a new STEM-based after-school and summer camp experience in Bentonville, Arkansas, shared some of the challenges and rewards of the program.

“One of my goals for my DBA journey was to build on my professional experiences working with college interns,” Bartelt shared. “It was a challenging endeavor to develop qualitative and quantitative research based on business management theories, and provide findings on the significant, positive impact of college interns on work teams. The good news is that businesses do benefit from intern talent.”

Ronald Pegram, a vice president and general manager at Federal Sign Corporation in Chicago, conducted his research on factors that can affect the success of minority entrepreneurs. He also spoke about the impact of his DBA experience.

“Since my dissertation defense, I’ve been approached by several industry groups to discuss my research, and that is very fulfilling,” said Pegram. “I hope to bridge to full-time academia one day, and these opportunities to prepare and discuss applied research will be critical for reaching that goal.”

“My first article will likely appear in print in March 2021 in a well-respected industry journal, and I am working on several articles for academic journals,” Pegram added. “I’m hopeful that I may get a chance to present in one or more academic conferences in 2021.”

Suanne Barthol, a first-generation college student who is currently an assistant professor of business at Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio, shared her motivation for completing the DBA.

“Many people considered me nuts as I took out student loans to start a new career later in life, while many of my friends are winding down their careers,” she said. “However, the transition to teaching is my retirement plan. As I reflected on all of my corporate roles, I had incorporated some teaching, coaching, or training in each one. But, little did I know that the program’s research side would also be a natural fit for my never-ending questions of ‘why?’”

Barthol responded to the differences between the Ph.D. and the DBA.

“The focus on solving practical problems means that the DBA is different from a Ph.D. However, when we start talking theory, constructs, and results, as students at UW-Whitewater, we have been classically trained to hold our own in any of these types of discussions in our area of specialty. And for that, I am most thankful.”

Parboteeah says he is immensely proud of the DBA graduates’ success.

“I am always delighted to hear from our alums with a new article or award, and to find out where their skills and talents are taking them,” he said. “Their achievements are truly impressive.”

The UW-Whitewater Doctorate of Business Administration is a 60-credit program that allows professionals to maintain their full-time careers and complete their degree in three years. As the largest AACSB-accredited business school in the region, the UW-Whitewater College of Business and Economics offers excellent facilities, as well as highly-qualified and credentialed faculty working on a wide range of projects and internationally-recognized research.