The first winners of the CBPA Social Impact Research and Outreach Awards were announced today by Drake University’s College of Business and Public Administration. This new program recognizes college faculty and staff who tackle pressing issues facing society through their scholarship as well as their work in the community and around the globe. Each of the eight winning submissions will receive an award—valued at $1,000—for their contributions to addressing one or more of a range of social and environmental topics.

“The winning outreach and research initiatives seek to improve the lives of people ranging from children in Iowa to leaders in Africa, and bring attention to the challenges of pressing issues including climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Alejandro Hernandez, dean of the College of Business and Public Administration. “This recognition of our college’s positive contributions to the world we live in is central to Drake’s commitment to ensuring that a business education can serve as a force for good.”

The winners and their work include:

Social impact research

Andrew Bryant: Identifying mechanisms for corporations to take action to mitigate climate change—Associate Professor of Marketing Andrew Bryant co-authored an article entitled “Mitigating climate change: A role for regulations and risk-taking” published in the peer-reviewed journal Business Strategy and the Environment. The research he conducted with his colleagues (based on analysis of the actions of more than 2,400 U.S. publicly traded firms) pointed to two counterintuitive mechanisms related to companies’ actions in reducing climate change: high levels of regulation and a firm’s increased tolerance for risk.

Lendie Follett and Andrew Bryant: Driving healthy food choices—Assistant Professor of Business Analytics Lendie Follett and Associate Professor of Marketing Andrew Bryant worked with members of the Des Moines Area Religious Council (DMARC) food pantry to examine if the nutritional score program implemented by the pantry in 2017 affected the food selection of clients. As food pantries have moved to allowing clients to choose their own food, encouraging healthy food choices has become an important topic. As a result of this work, DMARC changed the budget for food pantry clients to make healthy choices cheaper and less healthy choices more expensive. It also led to the publication of an article entitled “Investigating the short and long-term effects of ‘nutritional-score’ pricing on food pantry selections” in the peer-reviewed journal Appetite.

Lendie Follett and Brian Vander Naald: Using modeling to refine ecosystem tourism value—Assistant Professor of Business Analytics Lendie Follett and Associate Professor of Economics Brian Vander Naald leveraged Bayesian statistical methods to estimate values associated with tourist preferences for reducing glacier recession. This research delivers important insights for policymakers responsible for natural resources management by providing an approach for more segmented constituent assessments. The resulting article from this work entitled “Explaining variability in tourist preferences: A Bayesian model well suited to small samples” appeared in the peer-reviewed journal Tourism Management.


Brian Vander Naald: Researching the recreational value of glaciers—Associate Professor of Economics Brian Vander Naald authored an article entitled “Examining tourist preferences to slow glacier loss: evidence from Alaska” in the peer-reviewed journal Tourism Recreation Research. His work is intended to provide policymakers and others with a more accurate accounting of the benefits and costs of natural resources—specifically the Mendenhall Glacier in Alaska—to make efficient public policy decisions. His study is the first of its kind to use a choice experiment to estimate a nonmarket benefit of glacier ecosystem services.

Social impact outreach

Deb Bishop and Lance Noe: Developing African leaders —Beginning in 2016, Drake secured grants to host cohorts of 25 young African leaders in the Leadership in Business track of the Mandela Washington Fellowship. Professor of Practice in Management and International Business Deb Bishop has served as the academic director for this program while staff member Lance Noe has served as the administrative director. Drake is one of 28 institutions across the U.S. hosting these fellows. This program brings some of the brightest young Africans to Drake University for six weeks of leadership training and networking. In 2020, the program delivered virtual content to engage the 700 Fellows who had their in-person program postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dan Connolly: Delivering strategic counsel to Children & Families of Iowa—Professor of Management Dan Connolly has taken a leadership role working with this non-profit’s board to effectively implement its strategic plan aimed at improving the lives of children and families throughout the state. Highlights of his contributions include a one-page strategy-at-a-glance document, a senior leadership strategic goal progress reporting tool, a new charter for the board’s advocacy committee, and the creation of a student internship program.

Matthew Mitchell and Jeff Kappen: Helping regional business recover from COVID-19—Associate Professors of International Business Matthew Mitchell and Jeff Kappen put their business expertise to work as leaders of a task force formed by the Greater Des Moines Partnership charged with creating tools to prepare the region for social and economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The resulting DSM Forward Playbooks—rooted in rigor and science—have been recognized nationally and internationally for their speed, quality, and social impact.

Brian Sweeney: Building a non-profit to provide service dogs to disabled veterans—Assistant Professor of Practice in Accounting Sweeney was instrumental in the launch of IOWA Service Dogs, a non-profit which trains and provides service dogs at no cost to disabled veterans. As a founding board member, he took the role of treasurer and business manager leading tasks ranging from drafting articles of incorporation and bylaws to designing and implementing a donor management system to preparing and submitting financial reports and grant applications. The organization graduated its first two dogs in December 2021 and they have been provided to their new owners.