Corporate sponsorship policy, the nutritional preferences of very young children, the growing world of e-sports—what do these very different subjects all have in common? Edwin E. & June Woldt Cone Professor of Marketing T. Bettina Cornwell.
“My areas of research overlap quite nicely with our centers of excellence in sport marketing, sustainability and entrepreneurship ,” she said. “I always have new questions because the subject matter is always evolving.”
When the college unveiled Cornwell as the 2016 Thomas C. Stewart Distinguished Professor in December, those in attendance were unsurprised by her selection. The Stewart Professorship award given annually aims to “reward excellence in faculty performance that significantly enhances the visibility and strategic directions of the Lundquist College of Business and the University of Oregon.”
Cornwell is a publishing powerhouse who has made a dramatic imprint on the college’s research productivity and reputation.
“First, let’s talk scale of research and intellectual contributions,” said senior instructor of management Beth Hjelm in her letter nominating Cornwell for the honor. “In five years, she has had 22 publications in peer-reviewed journals. Of these four have been in A/A- journals, a particularly impressive feat since many of her areas of research are published in journals not considered within the college of business. She has authored one book and four book chapters. At the same time she presented at 24 academic or professional meetings and conferences, as well as too many workshops or seminars at universities to count.”
Hjelm also noted Cornwell’s tireless efforts to elevate the college’s reputation through engagement with the media: “Bettina is also incredibly involved in service to the profession, the university, the college, and to our students.”
Cornwell’s path to the Lillis Business Complex is an unexpected one. She earned her undergraduate degree in marketing and fine art, but when she had a difficult time parting with her first painting, she decided to earn her income elsewhere and express her art in different ways. While art is not a current area of study for Cornwell, her work does involve finding patterns.
“My interest is in being more holistic,” she said. “Lots of things can fit in under the umbrella of understanding the broader human condition.”
Broadly, her research focuses on marketing communications and consumer behavior, and it often includes international and public policy emphases. Her research on corporate sponsorship and the sponsor/sponsee relationship has won international acclaim.
“Our argument is to reconnect people with an understanding of the macro relationship to their consumption patterns,” she said. “We have reduced the role of government in the arts and physical education, and the gap is being filled by corporations. How do we help corporations help us? How do we help companies see they can invest in certain areas and see some profit while helping to better society?”
Another research area for Cornwell is that of children and the nutritional choices they (and their parents) make. News outlets around the world have featured her findings.
Childhood obesity is of great concern to Cornwell.
“It’s our responsibility to do what we can,” she said. “I’m trying to align my talents and skillset to contribute to a better future.”
Like so many great passions, for Cornwell, it’s personal.
“My ability to contribute to society through gifts to good causes is limited, but my ability to contribute research findings and information to decision making and public policy, is much greater,” she said.
Cornwell summed up her philosophy simply, “A healthy society is good for everyone.”