News & Press: InSider

Executive Director's Message: Award Recipients Discuss Their Biggest Academic Influences

Wednesday, September 19, 2012  

AIS recognizes talent and dedication through our peer-reviewed publications and various award programs. At ICIS each year we have the opportunity to recognize those who have exhibited their commitment to the discipline with the presentation of the LEO and Fellow Awards. Those who are fortunate enough to be selected by a group of their peers to receive this recognition are among the best in the field. So, while the 2011 recipients of these awards were announced earlier this year, we have decided to take a deeper look into the thinking of these outstanding scholars.

In this issue of InSider, and the next few, we ask some probing questions to get inside the minds of our past award recipients. We think doctoral students, new members, and even more ‘seasoned’ members will find these insights and reflections thought provoking.

Here’s to these outstanding individuals who have raised the bar of accomplishment by their sacrifice, dedication, and determination. May they be an inspiration to us all.


Pete Tinsley, CAE
Executive Director

For the previous article on AIS award winners, please click here.

Who most influenced you to pursue a career as an IS academic?

Ritu Agarwal | Juhani Iivari | Dorothy Leidner | Jae Kyu Lee | Bernard Tan | Rick Watson | Ron Weber

Ritu Agarwal: I always knew that I wanted to be a researcher.  After getting an MBA and working for six months, any doubts I had vanished – organizational life, with its routines and preoccupation with the mundane was not my cup of tea.  My idiosyncratic choice of specialization during the MBA–MIS and development studies–foreshadowed my burgeoning interest in the impact of information technology...I had a group of very close friends, all of whom were going on to pursue a PhD (in diverse fields like sociology, economics, and physics), and we reinforced each other’s commitment to a career of research!  Many colleagues, but particularly my advisor, Mohan Tanniru, and later my colleagues Prabuddha De and Bob Zmud, were important influences in my development as a scholar.

Juhani Iivari: Professor Pentti Kerola.

Dorothy Leidner: A professor of management science at UT Austin by the name of Darwin Klingman and a professor of statistics also at UT Austin by the name of Tom Shively.

Jae Kyu Lee: The scholar who influenced me most in choosing my career was Professor Hubert Simon, but I was more influenced by the nature of the real world problem itself. When I was a master's student in the mid 1970s, I wanted to use optimization models to support managerial decision making and statistical models to forecast the future more accurately...When I tried to work for the real world, I was quite embarrassed because I realized that I did not know the nature of the real world problems, let alone their solutions. However, because the application of computer systems was very honest and useful, I chose to pursue my Ph.D. in MIS.

Bernard Tan: I was most influenced by KS Raman (my undergraduate thesis advisor who is now retired) who convinced me to consider a career in academia in spite of the fact that I had received several good job offers from the industry. He had taught me the value of hard work and perseverance as well as the need to carve a niche for myself in terms of my research programs. Most importantly, he led by example in demonstrating these values and had been an excellent role model.

Rick Watson: When I was an MBA student at Monash University in Australia, I had a class in strategy by Brian James Quinn, a visiting Fulbright professor from Dartmouth. I had wanted to be a professor from an early age, and Professor Quinn presented the model of what type of professor I wanted to be. I enjoyed his teaching style and breadth of vision and knowledge.

Ron Weber: When I studied for my honors degree at the University of Queensland, an English academic who was teaching at the university named Peter Richards introduced me to the field of information systems.  Peter was a graduate of the University of Oxford, and he was one of the first academics to work in the field of information systems.  He was a wonderful role model, and he supervised my honors thesis.  I worked in practice for four years before I realized I wanted to be an academic like Peter.

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