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Washington State University
Dividend - Fall 2021 Creating Pathways to Excellence

Endowed Professorship
Brings Scholarly Prestige to the Palouse

By Sue McMurray • Photo courtesy of WSU Photo Services

Elizabeth (Betsy) Howlett was very happy as a professor of marketing at the University of Arkansas Sam M. Walton College of Business, where she worked for 23 years teaching and conducting research on consumer health and welfare issues. An accomplished scholar with over 65 journal publications, Howlett served as a consultant and expert witness in numerous litigation matters involving consumer confusion, and she helped countless students achieve their academic goals.

She saw no reason to make a change until she learned more about the research reputation of the Carson College through her friend David Sprott, a former Carson College marketing professor and senior associate dean. The two share a passion for consumer research, and Sprott recruited Howlett to join the college’s marketing and international business faculty.

In 2017 when Howlett interviewed at WSU and recognized the great leadership in the dean’s office and opportunity for collaboration with colleagues across disciplines, she began contemplating a move to the Palouse.

Receiving the Gardner O. Hart Distinguished Professorship clinched the decision.

Endowed Professorship Extends Global Teaching and Research Impact

“It was such a great honor to be awarded this professorship,” says Howlett. “It gave me the opportunity to extend the impact of my research at the state, national, and international levels.”

Hart (’29 Econ.) established the endowed professorship in 2003 to support a faculty member’s teaching, research, and service efforts. The recipient is expected to teach and engage both doctoral and undergraduate students in research supporting WSU’s land-grant mission and the college’s efforts to create global insights and opportunities through the study of business.

“Recognition of my accomplishments that have positively influenced the health and welfare of consumers is very humbling,” says Howlett. “I am very grateful for the financial support as well. The research funds have allowed me to continue to work on finding solutions to marketing problems that can make a significant difference in people’s lives.”

Howlett’s Award-Winning Research Benefits Society

Howlett says the endowed professorship enables her to focus on what she does best—teaching and research. She is able to conduct studies necessary to achieve publications in top journals. Publications in premiere journals typically require four or more studies. Just obtaining the necessary number of participants can easily cost $10,000 to $15,000 per publication, she says.

Her research has significantly improved the understanding of how calorie menu labeling, front-of-package labeling, and nutrition information influence consumers’ health choices. This year, her publication “Understanding the Calorie Labeling Paradox in Chain Restaurants: Why Menu Calorie Labeling Alone May Not Affect Average Calories Ordered,” published in the Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, won the 2021 American Marketing Association–EBSCO Annual Award for Responsible Research in Marketing. The award honors outstanding research that produces both credible and useful knowledge that can benefit society.

“It is very important to offer endowed professorships to recruit faculty members who are leaders in their disciplines,” says Jeff Joireman, chair of the Carson College Department of Marketing and International Business. “They advance the college’s research mission and bring a wealth of knowledge and experience into the classroom. Betsy’s research on public policy is recognized internationally, and her work with graduate students has helped them achieve their career aspirations. All of this contributes to the college becoming the top school for business education in the Pacific Northwest.”

Debbie Compeau, senior associate dean for faculty affairs and research, is also the Hubman Distinguished Professor of Information Systems. The endowed professorship supports her teaching efforts and research focused on the interaction between people and information technologies in organizations.

Support the Carson College With an Endowed Professorship or Chair

Endowed professorships and chairs are one of the highest honors the Carson College of Business can bestow on a faculty member. Within academia, an endowed position is a coveted and widely recognized accolade, signaling a colleague is at the top of his or her field.

By endowing a professorship or chair, you make it possible to attract and retain Carson College faculty, one of its most important resources, and help the college become the school of choice for business education in the Pacific Northwest.

Once you decide to create an endowment, a Carson College development professional will work closely with you to help define your endowment to meet both your wishes and the needs of the University. Contact the Office of Development for more information or to ask questions about establishing an endowment.