From the desk of President Leslie K. Guice

Faculty Feature: Dr. Rebecca Bennett

Aug 19, 2013 | Faculty Feature

Becky Bennett in Office (2)Becky Bennett grew up in the “Show Me” state in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, along with 3 brothers, in her family’s 4th generation peach orchard & development business.  Becky said, “How ironic that I ended up in Ruston where I am greeted by peach signs everywhere I look and there is even a peach festival!”  Her path from Cape Girardeau to Ruston has been winding, but we are fortunate that she stayed on the path and made her way to Louisiana Tech. Becky went to college at Washington University in St. Louis intending to study biomedical engineering. But because of earning AP credit for biology, she was placed in psychology instead in her freshman year and became so enamored with psychology, she never did take biology.  She then wrote her senior honors thesis under the supervision of a business professor, Walt Nord, who was a great mentor and encouraged her to pursue the Ph.D. in business. Up until that point, Becky had not even considered getting the doctorate.  She said, “When he suggested it to me, I was so shocked I didn’t go back to his office for at least a week!”  But, finally, she did decide to go and earn her Masters & Ph.D. in Organization Behavior at the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University. After graduating from Northwestern, Dr. Rebecca Bennett became Professor of Management and Associate Director of the Family Business Center at the University of Toledo.  She was the liaison between the Center and the faculty, encouraging faculty to participate in summer internships in family businesses and in research grant and teaching family business cases.  Family businesses are her forte’. After 13 years at the University of Toledo, Becky decided to find a University where she could develop doctoral students of her own.  That is when her path took her to Louisiana Tech.  The College of Business was looking for a senior faculty member in Human Resource Management and hired Becky in 2004. Becky reflected, “One thing I didn’t realize about Louisiana Tech when I accepted the job was how collegial and conscientious the faculty are.  We have a small department but that doesn’t keep the faculty from engaging with doctoral students and each other in interesting research, in teaching classes in Ruston, Monroe & Shreveport, and from developing new curricula and majors for our students to keep them on the cutting edge.  In the last several years, faculty in my area have developed a new major in Sustainable Supply Chain Management and a minor in Leadership.” Becky Bennett in Class 3Becky teaches courses in organizational behavior, human resource management and management classes such as “negotiations” and “staffing.”  She likes using experiential exercises in class such as having blindfolded students form a ‘perfect square’ with a piece of rope.  Becky said “It really makes them aware of the importance of communication and leadership, in a much more hard-hitting way than to just get a lecture on the subject.”  In the negotiations class when considering different ways to approach a conflict setting and to reach agreement, Becky uses role plays.  Students learn a great deal by comparing their results to others playing the same role in the class. On a national level, Becky is highly recognized in Human Resource Management.  She developed a model which is referenced in all textbooks and research articles on employee deviance.  She was invited to participate in a panel on national security clearance for the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Atlantic (SPAWAR) and the Special Security Center (SSC) in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.  SPAWAR and SSC brought together specialists in child development, juvenile delinquency, parole officers, criminal defense attorneys, and many others to discuss how to improve the process for protecting national security through tightening the clearance process.  Recent events indicate this is still an important issue. Becky serves her community by contributing her expertise in HRM with the Board and Staff of the Domestic Abuse Resistance Team (DART), helping them with their policy manual and staff evaluation procedures.  And she is an artist too, enjoying taking classes with Tech’s own local artist (and my former art & architecture professor) Doug Walton. Becky has not forgotten her roots of growing up on an apple and peach farm, and she even still finds time to garden. She learned early that experiential learning is important for comprehension.  She also brings to practice her experience in working across the disciplines to enrich learning and organizational performance.  Thanks to Becky for making a difference at Louisiana Tech. Check out Becky in action in this recent College of Business recruiting video: