Written by Craig Schreiner | Photos by Craig Schreiner
In Why I Teach, K. Praveen Parboteeah, a professor of management at University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, talks about the resilience and integrity of his grandfather in his native Mauritius, an island nation in the Indian Ocean, and his parents’ powerful influence as educators.
Parboteeah has been that kind of influence himself. In 2012, he proposed an applied Doctor of Business Administration program at UW-Whitewater, ideal for working professionals and the first-ever doctoral program at the university. The program graduated its first cohort in 2017, and Parboteeah remains its guiding light.
“In a nutshell, I teach and train doctoral students to do excellent research that solves essential workplace issues. We then publish this work to contribute to practice. I teach my students how to think of the work problems they face in terms of research questions. I educate them about conducting literature reviews to know what has been done and to frame their own work issues within this context. I also teach them about the various ways data can be collected, and how to analyze the data and report the findings. Ultimately, I prepare doctoral students to write their doctoral dissertations. The courses I teach all center around how to do excellent scientific research.”
“I have worked with many DBA students on areas such as understanding the barriers for minority entrepreneurs, examining people’s ethics in terms of compliance with paying their taxes, the impact of ethics on human resource management practices in companies, as well as the connection between a company’s entrepreneurial orientation and their approaches to corporate social responsibility.”
“I grew up on the island of Mauritius, and my maternal grandfather happened to be one of the first non-Christian teachers/principal on the island during British rule. He always shared stories of his career and the difficulties he faced in that environment, and that was very influential. Both my parents were also teachers, and I saw the power of the influence of their work. They both had a strong work ethic and were interested in their students’ success. I grew up in this very loving, but responsible, environment — and that had an impact on me.”
“UW-Whitewater is my first job after doctoral school. I met my wife at Washington State University, and we both wanted to go back to the West Coast at some point. But I am now starting my 21st year at UW-Whitewater! I have an outstanding department with caring colleagues. Both my college and the university provided me with an environment where I could flourish. We live in Whitewater, and it has been a good community to raise our two children. My wife, Kyong, is actually finishing her Master of Science in Business Education at UW-Whitewater! She has been a substitute teacher for a while in the Whitewater Unified School District and will soon also be a full-time teacher with a UW-Whitewater degree!”
“My students tend to be successful working professionals who want to add a doctorate to their education. Most of them are seasoned individuals who see the value of learning. The DBA program is very rigorous. I work with them to make sure they can weather the first difficult semester. Afterward, my primary role is to continue helping them understand the processes behind scientific research as well as crafting papers. Seeing my students succeed is what makes teaching so rewarding. And success can be so many things. It can be a paper accepted for publication. It can be a successful defense for a student who was having a hard time. It can be a new job or promotion.”
“The best anecdote I have is of a former student and now colleague. He was my MBA student here and went back to South Korea in 2005 after completing his degree. We stayed in touch, and, about 5 years ago he contacted me as he was interested in getting a Ph.D. I helped him apply to a few programs and supported him through letters of recommendation. He ended up being my doctoral advisor’s last doctoral student! I was a member of his dissertation committee and he is now an assistant professor. It brought so much joy to me to see one of my early UW-Whitewater students succeed and also become my advisor’s last doctoral student. It was some sort of closing of the loop!”
WHY I TEACH is a series about the dedicated professionals at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, including professors, coaches, advisors and other staff members, who make every day a teachable moment — and every place a learning place — by their expertise and example.