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College of Business and Economics News

Gundars (Gundy) Kaupins Spoke on Humor in the Workplace at the Process Improvement Symposium

Gundy Kaupins talking to Boise State staff at Process Improvement Symposium

Gundars (Gundy) Kaupins spoke on how to incorporate humor in the workplace at the Process Improvement Symposium in early February.

To be creative when using humor, individuals should go crazy, build on others’ ideas, and do not criticize. Criticism will reduce ideas because of the fear of rejection. He conducted an experiment by asking the attendees to find 50 creative uses for a paper clip. The experiment showed how groups can create many ideas such as playing miniature tennis and flossing teeth.

In the second half of the presentation, he had participants share some jokes that people can relate to. There were a bunch of good hits.

“The best jokes,” Kaupins said, “help listeners use their knowledge and experiences to understand what is said. Using such humor can help bring people together in the workplace.”

Doug Twitchell In Video – Verify: Can Companies Protect You from Cybercrime?

Doug TwitchellDoug Twitchell, an assistant professor in the Department of Information Technology and Supply Chain Management, was in the KTVB video “Verify: Can Companies Protect You from Cybercrime?” For this segment of Verify, reporter Joe Parris investigated services claiming to search hidden parts of the internet to see if your information is out there. Twitchell gave his opinion that that service is more a clever advertising tactic rather than a useful service.

Watch the Cybercrime video and read the article here.

Students and Business Executives Praise the Learning Power of Business: Total Immersion Learning Courses

College of Business and Economics students are experiencing what it’s like to work in a real business environment through the Business: Total Immersion learning courses, piloted by professors Ruth Jebe and Shelle Poole of the Department of Management. The Total Immersion framework builds courses around a fictional work environment constructed in and for the classroom. Total Immersion uses active and experiential learning techniques to deepen student mastery of course materials and concepts that make them business ready.

Students in the courses describe them as unique and refreshing, unlike any class they have had before.

students in a classroom working in groups

Jebe introduced the framework into her undergraduate legal environment course by structuring activities and assignments around a fictional national electronics retailer. Students were tasked with addressing the actual types of legal issues that managers in different functional areas of the company would encounter in their daily work. Students in the course recognized the value of the immersion framework in promoting their own learning and transition into the business world. In course feedback, Jebe’s students stated that “the immersion style of the class helped … in understanding how the material related to the real world,” and was “helpful in putting concepts into context.”

Poole drove students’ entrepreneurial spirit in her capstone strategy course by having them create a plan for a new business and then pitch that business to a panel of angel investors played by local executives. It was valuable for students to receive feedback from local influencers outside of the university. Poole’s students felt that, “[the immersion aspect of the class]… made us think in ways that traditional coursework could not.” Another student commented on how “the teacher gave us assignments and threw us curves to make sure we got the experience that a real job would give us.”

The participating executives could one day be those interviewing these students for jobs, and they also praised the learning power of the Total Immersion framework.

Eric Holstine, a serial local entrepreneur, thinks that the students “working in groups and hashing out start-up puzzles is the perfect way to get them ready for real-world communication puzzles.”

Dan Sel, owner of The Stil Ice Cream Shop in downtown Boise, discussed his own challenges in adjusting to the real world after graduate school, and notes that providing a learning environment “that allows them to begin to make those adjustments will be invaluable once they are in front of real managers, stakeholders and investors.”

Both Amanda Martinez and Karen Sales, who are in vice president roles at Albertsons, agreed that these investment pitches and projects are ideal in understanding the real world experience of working on a team to implement a business plan.

Ruth Jebe and Shelle Poole

Ruth Jebe and Shelle Poole

Professors Jebe and Poole are currently teaching the second round of courses using the Total Immersion framework with the objective of continuous improvement and refinement of the framework.

Students in Management 410 Logged 1162 Hours Serving the Community

Brian McNatt

Brian McNatt

In 2017, Associate Professor Brian McNatt added a significant Service-Learning component to his Leadership and Personal Development course. Students in his classes had meaningful and positive impact on the community and themselves.

McNatt advised 25 student teams who served 1,162 hours and raised $9,254 for non-profits in the community. Here is a sampling of the types of service:

  • Created evening social for Boise State’s Intensive English Program students
  • Prepared breakfast at Ronald McDonald House
  • Provided administrative help at Idaho Youth Ranch
  • Helped with auction dinner logistics for Caring Hearts and Hands of Hope
  • Helped pre-school children with seed bag craft at Boise Urban Garden School
  • Organized Dog wash fundraiser for Idaho Humane Society

“Students raised awareness, touched lives and created networks between the community and Boise State,” said McNatt. “They learned a lot about leadership, project development and management, about the needs of ours and other communities, and about themselves and their potential to do good. Truly it was humbling to hear them speak of the needs and of their selfless service.”

One group filmed at their event. Jacob Byers, McKenna Haycock, Sierra Martinez and Erik Stebbins organized a Food Truck lunch event for homeless at the Corpus Christi House (serving the Boise community with compassion). Vendors Blue Sky Bagels, Jersey Mike, Tin Roof Tacos and Urban Smoke donated more than 175 meals.

COBE Scholarship Series

Kyle PetersonCOBE Scholarship Series Presents: Kyle Peterson. Peterson is an associate professor of accounting at the University of Oregon. He will present: “Managers’ Perceived Competition and Firms’ Long-Term Investments”

Kyle Peterson

1;30 p.m. Friday, February 16, MBEB Room 4001

About Kyle Peterson

Degree History

  • PhD, University of Michigan, 2008
  • MAcc, Brigham Young University, 2001
  • BS, Accounting, Brigham Young University, 2001

Research/Teaching Awards

Lundquist College Undergraduate Teaching Award, University of Oregon, 2014


Kyle Peterson received his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in 2008 and joined the University of Oregon that same year. His research addresses questions about disclosure, financial statement complexity, comparability, and revenue recognition. Peterson teaches intermediate accounting, serves as an ad hoc reviewer for multiple accounting journals, and sits on undergraduate programs committees for the college and department.

Assistant Professor Shelle Poole and MBA candidate Lauren Rice Helped Organize Conversations for Change Event

Lauren Rice speaking to group of students

Lauren Rice, an MBA student and one of the founders of Women of the Workplace. Photo by Madison Park

W.O.W. (Women of the Workplace) student organization co-hosted a Conversations for Change event at the end of January. The topic was creating a collaborate climate in an evolving workplace. Led by State Rep. Melissa Wintrow, talk centered around recognizing and ending harassment in the workplace.

Shelle Poole, an assistant professor in the Department of Management was quoted in the campus Update about the event.

“I think one thing I was particularly impressed with was, there was a group where two of the members had completely opposite perspectives. They stayed respectful of one another, asked each other tough questions, and listened to each other’s perspectives,” said Poole. “Because of this they learned something in the process. ”

Lauren Rice, an MBA student and one of the founders of Women of the Workplace, was also quoted.

“This is the first of many conversations,” said Rice. “We want students to know that they can be change agents.”

Read the Update story “Students, Faculty Explore Ways to Fight Harassment in the Workplace” here (link opens in a new tab).

Leslie Koppenhafer

Leslie Koppenhafer

Shelle Poole

Shelle Poole

COBE faculty Leslie Koppenhafer, assistant professor in the Department of Marketing, and Shelle Poole started W.O.W. in 2016.


COBE Staff Awarded for Contributions in Business Process Innovation

At the second annual Process Improvement Symposium last week, eight awards were presented for contributions in business process innovation. A total of 85 individuals and 17 departments and teams were nominated for the awards. COBE staff won in two categories.

Olgie Castillo

Olgie Castillo

Eldar Sakebaev

Eldar Sakebaev

In the Shadow Hunter category, the winners were Olgie Castillo, administrative assistant, and Eldar Sakebaev, MBA candidate and graduate assistant, from the Idaho Small Business Development Center. They worked collaboratively on the Account Analysis Pivot and the Grant Analysis Pivot to produce a projection analysis spreadsheet, to identify projected totals and variances and reducing the use of shadow tracking.

Alex Williamson

Alex Williamson

Alex Williamson, an administrative assistant in the Department of Accountancy, saw a need and filled it by meeting with each department in the college to set up customized reporting in order to create a self-sufficient business office. She was the Splendid Self-sufficiency winner.

Read the campus Update story on Process Improvement award winners here (link opens in a new window).