Inner Circle - November 2013

On the Meaning of Academic Excellence

Academic excellence can serve as a catchall term, but what does it really mean?

Here at the Lundquist College, one measure is postgraduate achievement and placement. We have some recent proof points worth sharing.

Marketing PhD candidate Elizabeth Minton has proven to be a shining star at our college. This fall she took home the 2013 Sheth Foundation Dissertation Award in Chicago at the Association for Consumer Research annual meeting.

“It's exciting and impressive for her to be standing in front of 1,200 people who are applauding her outstanding scholarship," said Lynn Kahle, Department of Marketing head and Ehrman Giustina Professor of Marketing. “We are, of course, appreciative of all our PhD students, but it is nice when one receives recognition for work that goes on here in Eugene."

Minton's work focuses on pro-social marketing, including improving cause-related marketing, healthy consumption, sustainability, and religion and associated altruistic consumer behaviors.

“Not only did Elizabeth win the national dissertation award, but she was offered and has accepted an assistant professorship at the University of Wyoming in Laramie," said Andrew Verner, PhD program director at the Lundquist College.

According to Verner, Minton is also finishing in record time--four years.

Other notable recent placements include marketing PhD candidate Cat Armstrong Soule, who had several offers, from among which she chose Western Washington University in Bellingham, and fellow marketing PhD candidate Leslie Koppenhafer, who has accepted a position as assistant professor of marketing with Boise State University in the College of Business and Economics.

In fact, each and every PhD graduated from the Lundquist College during the past half decade has been placed in an academic position.

“Our current goal is to place 100 percent of our graduates in academic positions, with 50 percent at schools offering doctorates in any field, and 25 percent at schools offering doctorates in business and related fields," explained Verner. “The three marketing placements all meet the first goal, two meet the second, and one meets the third. In fact, overall we have met or exceeded these goals for the past five years."

There may be even more exciting news soon. Verner said at least four more graduates this year--three in finance and one in accounting--have yet to hear back on placement. Past performance indicates they will have no trouble landing highly sought-after posts at desirable institutions.

This focus on graduate placement at the PhD level has paid dividends and is an intrinsic element of our strategic plan. As we move ahead, we look forward to reaching even greater heights when it comes to PhD placement--though it will be a challenge to improve upon 100 percent.


Cornelis A. "Kees" de Kluyver
Dean and James and Shirley Rippey Distinguished Professor