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Home Featured Story Lisa Ordóñez Receives UA Visionary Award

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By Sue Kern-Fleischer

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Lisa Ordóñez. Photo by Thomas Veneklasen.

She’s a leader who champions diversity, equity and professional development. She’s a passionate teacher whose active research has been cited dozens of times in national media outlets. She’s a role model and mentor to first-generation college students. And, she’s a mother who helps other women balance a high pressure tenure-track career with raising a family.

And now, Lisa Ordóñez, Eller vice dean, professor of Management and Organizations, and Levine faculty fellow, is among the recipients of the UA’s 2016 CSW Established Visionary Award. Ordóñez received the award on February 25 during the Visionary Leadership Award Ceremony presented by the Commission on the Status of Women and Programs for Inclusive Excellence.

The CSW Vision Awards were established in 1999 to celebrate emerging and established leaders on campus who pursue the vision of diversity and equity that was set out by the original Arizona Board of Regents Commission on the Status of Women in 1990. Of special consideration are goals related to campus climate, professional development, and compensation and equity.

Being recognized for her achievements is nothing new for Ordóñez. In 2014, she won the “trifecta” of Eller teaching awards, at all three levels of teaching. First the Kalt prize for the best Ph.D. placement in the college, when her student accepted a tenure track position at the University of Washington; then the Eller MBA outstanding teaching award for her statistics class; and finally, the Management and Organizations annual undergraduate teaching award for her groups and teams class. No one has ever won all three awards in one year before.

Stephen Gilliland, associate dean of Eller Executive Education and executive director of the Center for Leadership Ethics, helped nominate Ordóñez for the award.

“The impact she has extends far beyond our institution to the hundreds of women she has taught, advised, and mentored who are now succeeding in male-dominated business professions,” Gilliland wrote in the nominating letter.

UA’s campus climate has improved, thanks to Ordóñez’s contributions. Gilliland described how she has been instrumental in transforming Eller’s M&O department.

“When Lisa was hired, she was only one of two M&O female faculty,” he said. “Over her 20-year tenure with the department, and particularly since Lisa has been a full professor, the number of female faculty has increased dramatically so that now eight of the 20 faculty are women. In our past three years of hiring, we have added three female and two male tenure-track assistant professors.”

Those who know Ordóñez say she is very generous with her time, especially when it comes to supporting professional development. Early in her time at the UA, she got involved in the Ph.D. Project, a national effort to increase minority applicants to Ph.D. programs in business.

“As a business school, much of what we do in our teaching and mentoring of students emphasizes professional development,” Gilliland said. “Lisa has been a role model in this regard for every level of student.  She served as an Arizona Assurance Scholars mentor, working with first-generation college students, many of them young women, much as she herself was a first-generation college student.”

Ordóñez also has demonstrated her commitment to the “Never Settle” vision.

“Although only in her second year as vice dean, Lisa has already made important contributions to equity in Eller that are aligned with the “Never Settle” vision,” Gilliland said in the nomination letter, citing examples of how she increased Ph.D. student funding and dedicated funding to increasing the number of assistantships and the level of these assistantships.

“Similarly, this year she was able to provide a small but critical raise pool for Eller faculty. She has also emphasized the importance of including female and minority faculty in professional teaching assignments that carry additional compensation. Not only does this help us retain our diverse faculty, but it showcases a much more inclusive group of faculty for our business clients,” Gilliland said.

Prior to serving as vice dean, Ordóñez was chair of the faculty for the Eller College, where she pushed for inclusion of non-tenure track teaching faculty in the faculty governance process.

Before getting involved with administration, and before the UA had a parental leave policy, Ordóñez helped develop an innovative informal maternity leave model that has been used by multiple faculty in M&O and other departments in Eller. It involved stacking teaching, using accumulated sick leave, and providing other informal accommodations to create a maternity leave period. 

“Lisa does all this while maintaining an active research program. She has received several NSF grants, which are uncommon and difficult to get in business. She is a continual role model of the way in which successful faculty can achieve and deliver outstanding quality in both research and teaching,” Gilliland said, adding that she has joint appointments in marketing and psychology and is an active contributor to all three departments, thereby promoting cross-discipline collaboration.

This award validates what Eller’s faculty, staff and students have known all along — that Lisa Ordóñez is a visionary leader whose contributions will continue to make an impact on the university.

Top photo by Thomas Veneklasen.