Ballard Center Names First Research and Teaching Fellows

The buzz around social innovation and entrepreneurship is growing as the Ballard Center for Economic Self-Reliance welcomes seven faculty members to its fellows program.   

As research and teaching fellows, the professors receive funding and other resources needed to incorporate principles of social problem solving within their research projects and lesson plans.

"Promoting research is one of our major focuses," says Gibb Dyer, academic director of the Ballard Center. "We enthusiastically support our colleagues in producing top-tier articles that coincide with the center's goals. We're also excited to assist them as they teach students creative approaches to resolving today's social issues. Our efforts not only contribute to the conversation around these topics but also build our brand within each industry."

The center selects fellows according to their alignment with its initiatives. While Ballard Fellows work within social innovation, Peery Fellows focus on social entrepreneurship.

The 2011 Ballard Research Fellows include Paul Godfrey, professor of strategic management; Todd Mitton, associate professor of finance; Monte Swain, professor of accounting; Lori Wadsworth, associate professor of public management; and Eva Whitesman, assistant professor of public management. The center also named Robert Jensen, assistant professor of strategy and international business, a Peery Research Fellow and Nathan Furr, associate professor of entrepreneurship, a Peery Teaching Fellow. 

The faculty members were selected by the Ballard Center based on nominations from department chairs and through in-depth interviews. They exhibit excellence in their research or teaching endeavors as well as commitment to work within the scope of social innovation and entrepreneurship. Once selected, the professors utilize the center's support to hire assistants, cover travel costs and obtain training needed to reach their goals.

"We expect to expand this program to faculty across campus next year," reports Todd Manwaring, director of the Ballard Center. "The students involved with our center benefit tremendously from interactions with faculty who understand how they can apply principles of social problem solving to their disciplines.

The Ballard Center Fellows Program supports students, faculty and local visionaries in approaching their fields through the lenses of social innovation and entrepreneurship. In addition to research and teaching fellows, the program awards grants to film and engineering students as well as others to apply their talents in finding sustainable solutions to global issues.

The Marriott School is located at Brigham Young University, the largest privately owned, church-sponsored university in the United States. The school has nationally recognized programs in accounting, business management, public management, information systems and entrepreneurship. The school's mission is to prepare men and women of faith, character and professional ability for positions of leadership throughout the world. Approximately 3,000 students are enrolled in the Marriott School's graduate and undergraduate programs. 

Ballard Research Fellows

Paul Godfrey is a professor of strategic management and associate academic director of the Ballard Center. At the center, he helps other research fellows pursue their goals by helping them find resources and holding them accountable for research output. His research focuses on two areas: types of capital needed for improving individual self-reliance and implications of informal economic arrangements on development and self-reliance.

Associate professor of finance Todd Mitton is collecting data on the geographical conditions and economic development of 100 different regions in to understand how environmental factors affect financial systems across the globe. His research project is titled, "Geography and Economic Development: Subnational Evidence."

Professor of accountancy Monte Swain aims to understand the full consumer costs of fringe credit products, particularly payday loans and check protection services in the United States. By analyzing additional costs that are often overlooked, he hopes to provide insight for more intelligent regulation and disclosure policies.

Lori Wadsworth, associate professor of public management, is exploring the experiences of both married and single mothers through understanding the impact of their resources. Her research focuses on two subjects: the impact of father involvement on the parenting success of mothers and the impact of economic strategies and support systems on single and married mothers.

Assistant professor of public management Eva Witesman is researching the impact of individual giving in disaster situations. She aims to learn the implications that donations of time, money and in-kind items have on people in need. Her research interests include disaster response volunteerism and emergency management as well as public policy issues within low-income and vulnerable populations.

Peery Research Fellows

Robert Jensen, assistant professor of strategy and international business, focuses his research on microfranchising, a promising business model that has reached many developing countries. He analyzes the environments and policies of diverse areas to determine which regions may benefit from microfranchising programs.

Peery Teaching Fellows

Associate professor of entrepreneurship Nathan Furr seeks to incorporate social entrepreneurship courses into BYU curriculum. The Peery Program supports his efforts by funding his participation in a Harvard University training course that provides professors with insight into teaching subjects that fall within the field.  

Media Contact: Joseph Ogden (801) 422-8938
Writer: Courtney Rieder Nielsen