Meet the Incredible New Members of the Ross Faculty

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There are a lot of new faces around Michigan Ross this year. We admitted exceptional students with records and accomplishments that are both humbling and inspirational. We also welcomed a number of new faculty members, who are incredible in their own right – and have already been in the classroom teaching Ross students. These new members join an already all-star group of researchers, practitioners, and teachers who work together to make the Ross faculty one of the best at any business school in the world.

Over the last week, I’ve been asking our new faculty a series of questions to get to know them a little better, and their responses shed a lot of light on their remarkable backgrounds, their work, and their personalities. Allow me to introduce you to the newest additions to the powerful Michigan Ross faculty:

JEREMY KRESS

Jeremy is joining our business law faculty as a lecturer and is a former attorney at the Federal Reserve. He is also a lecturer at the U-M Law School and has a role as a senior research fellow at U-M’s Center on Finance, Law, and Policy.

DeRue: What are you most looking forward to at Michigan Ross?
Kress:
As a Ross BBA (2005), I'm particularly looking forward to teaching the BBA business law course as part of the Ross Integrative Semester and a new Legal Issues in Finance & Banking capstone course for BBA seniors. I wish both the Ross Integrative Semester and the capstone courses existed when I was a student!

DeRue: What is the most exciting thing happening in your research field right now?
Kress: My background is in financial regulatory law and policy, with a focus on macro-prudential bank regulation and corporate governance. Now that the financial regulatory agencies have implemented most of the substantive provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act, there is some momentum behind re-shaping the corporate governance structures of the largest financial institutions to better account for systemic risk. As one example of this type of research, I am working on a paper arguing that the directors of systemically important financial companies are too busy to execute their governance roles effectively.

DeRue: Tell us about an unusual item in your office.
Kress:
On Thursdays, you will find an over-stuffed gym bag in my office with all of my gear for my weekly softball game.  My team is not very good - we recently won our first game, and our record stands at 1-23.  But I look forward to getting out on the field every week!


SAMANTHA MEYER KEPPLER

Samantha is a new assistant professor in our technology and operations department. Her research interests include using qualitative and quantitative data to better understand operations problems and build operations management models that address complex social problems, such as those in education.

DeRue: What are you most looking forward to at Michigan Ross?
Keppler:
Taking advantage of its interdisciplinary culture. I’m excited to meet and engage with people across different disciplinary backgrounds, formally (through ICOS, Hosmer-Hall Lunches, etc.) and informally on the elevator or in the Starbucks line. I don’t neatly fall into any disciplinary bucket, and I love to learn about other people who similarly span research areas and interests.

DeRue: What is the most exciting thing happening in your research field right now?
Keppler:
Some of the first operations management (OM) studies were field studies that examined real people in real organizations (such as time and motion studies), but since that time OM research began to focus more on theoretical and mathematical insights. Today, however, researchers are turning back to the field: collecting and analyzing real-world data to identify better problems and build better models. I’m excited to be a part of this movement.

DeRue: Tell us about an unusual item in your office.
Keppler:
My office is pretty typical: books, papers, Post-Its, and coffee mugs. The somewhat unusual things are a Teach For America koozie (I’m an alum), Brooks running pins (I’m a two-time Chicago Marathoner), and pictures of my dog Bodie (a vizsla).


DEREK HARMON

Derek is joining the Ross strategy faculty as an assistant professor. His PhD research at the Marshall School of Business at USC looked at how the communication of the Federal Reserve chairperson influences the U.S. financial markets.

DeRue: What are you most looking forward to at Michigan Ross?
Harmon:
I was once told that being at Michigan Ross is like being a kid in a candy store – but for the intellectually curious. My short time here so far suggests that this may even be an understatement. From the far-reaching interests of the faculty to the amount of support and resources we receive to make impactful intellectual connections, I am impressed by the multidisciplinary ethos infused in the school. Given that my research brings together insights from strategy, sociology, psychology, philosophy of language, computer science, and finance, it is wonderful to be in an environment that I believe will not just allow—but enable—me to thrive.

DeRue: What is the most exciting thing happening in your research field right now?
Harmon:
The increasingly sophisticated use of computer science methods to study how language operates within and across organizations, institutions, and societies. I study the role of strategic communication in markets. Some of my research, for instance, looks at how communication from the Federal Reserve affects the level of uncertainty in United States financial markets. Right now, with large amounts of public communication easily available and sophisticated technologies analyzing this language almost instantaneously, it is an exciting time as we’re trying to develop theories and approaches that can bring about both theoretical and practical long-term insights.

DeRue: Tell us about an unusual item in your office.
Harmon:
An original 1940 newspaper article entitled “Tom Harmons Both.” Given that my last name is Harmon, I’ve often been asked by people around campus whether I’m related to Tom Harmon – or “Old 98” as some called him – who was one of Michigan’s most famous football players in the late '30s and early '40s. Although I’m not related to that Tom Harmon, my grandfather’s name is Tom Harmon. The newspaper article in my office features U-M’s Tom Harmon in 1940 signing a football for my grandfather who, at the time, was only eight years old. When I accepted a position at Michigan, he framed it and gave it to me with a short note: “I knew there was a reason I kept this.”


BOB TOTTE

Bob is joining the Ross faculty as an intermittent lecturer with our accounting department. He’s actually been with Ross before, from the early '80s until 1993. His teaching interests include helping students develop the skills to tackle real-life tax issues when they enter the workforce

DeRue: What are you most looking forward to at Michigan Ross?
Totte: I am looking forward to educating the next generation of business leaders to understand and appreciate the importance of tax issues in their business and daily lives.

DeRue: What is the most exciting thing happening in your research field right now?
Totte: This year is very exciting in the tax arena. Both presidential candidates have proposed new, innovative, and controversial tax ideas for the public and Congress to consider. There is a high expectation of fundamental U.S. tax reform after the November elections. Such fundamental tax reform has not occurred in the U.S. for 30 years, since the passage of the Tax Reform Act of 1986.

DeRue: Tell us about an unusual item in your office.
Totte: I have a wooden pyramid given to me by my ex-boss. It is modeled on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, but adapted to the Hierarchy of Needs that the C-Suite expects finance and tax professionals to achieve – that is, “Value Added Finance” strategies. I have referred to this pyramid several times during my career.

Please join me in welcoming these incredible additions to the Ross Faculty. Go Blue!

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Scott DeRue
  • Edward J. Frey Dean of Business
  • Stephen M. Ross Professor of Business
Scott DeRue is the Edward J. Frey Dean of the Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. He is also the Stephen M. Ross...

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