Faculty Spotlight – Stephen Fitzgerald

Adjunct Professor Stephen Fitzgerald didn’t always see himself as a teacher. He completed his undergraduate career as a Management Information Systems (MIS) major, was hired at PwC to work in Risk Assurance, and had a series of odd jobs before deciding to return to school here at UConn. “Whether I was at PwC with new hires or at HuskyTech during my undergrad, I realized that the times when I was most at home, in flow, comfortable, and felt the most gratification was when I was sharing my knowledge with other people.” It was this self realization that inspired him to return to UConn to pursue a degree in Curriculum and Instruction through the NEAG School of Education. “The best part about my job is I essentially get paid to learn all of this stuff, distill it down to my own words, and tell them about all of the interesting stuff I am learning about. I get paid to learn which is super awesome.”

Professor Fitzgerald is currently teaching three Operations and Information Management (OPIM) courses; Business Information Systems, Operations Management, and Advanced Business Application Development. With Advanced Business Application Development, he was given the freedom to design and teach the course the way he wanted to. The course mostly involves teaching programming languages such as C# and Unity. What keeps him the most interested in information systems is the efficiency of programs and technology. Technology makes his job easier and their construction is “lean and makes sense.” Although he finds information systems “fascinating and elegant” in the way it works, he keeps an open mind towards the future of his teaching career and where that may take him. As long as his job can be learning and that learning can be shared with other people, he will find satisfaction.

“Giving people things that are relevant to them and skills that they can use in other parts of their lives, regardless of whether or not they are going to pursue OPIM or business in general,” is his favorite part of teaching. Being able to see the moment that students are able to make connections and understand concepts is rewarding for professors like Fitzgerald, who even spend their time outside of the classroom teaching. Fitzgerald is always researching ways to improve his teaching and he tries to stay involved in the OPIM Department by conducting workshops. Last semester, Fitzgerald conducted three workshops on Blockchain, Virtual Reality, and Artificial Intelligence. This semester he is teaching two more on How The Internet Works and Emerging Technologies Disrupting the Business World.

As someone who attended UConn, worked in the field, and discovered his passion, Fitzgerald is a great mentor to UConn students looking to explore career paths. His advice to students is to stay curious. “I think the easiest way to fall behind or lose interest is to not be constantly learning new things about technology and how to do our jobs better. Not only will you lose interest but you will fall behind. Stay curious and keep up on what’s new because it’s changing faster than we can teach it and the onus is on the student to take that into their own hands.”

Professor Fitzgerald is very thankful for the opportunities that the University of Connecticut has given him. He was able to teach a course last semester, and after his success he has the opportunity to teach more. With his remaining year as a graduate student, Professor Fitzgerald hopes to remain an active, influential member in the Operations and Information Management Department.

Faculty Spotlight – Satvinder Mayall

Satvinder Mayall is an Adjunct Professor in the UConn Operations and Information Management (OPIM) Department. Mayall has an extensive background in information technology throughout his career, holding senior management positions involving business and technology. He holds a Bachelor of Science (BS) and a Masters of Science (MS) in Electrical Engineering, along with a Masters of Business Administration (MBA).

Mayall has experience in a variety of industries, including – automotive, high tech, aerospace and defense, consumer, consulting, healthcare and education. Holding the position of Vice President of Information Technology (IT), Mayall worked with the design and implementation of information systems in nearly all functional areas of a company. He said that the projects he was involved with ranged in magnitude. He has experience managing multi-million dollar projects involving hundreds of people, he said.

His career in teaching began over 15 years ago when he covered a class for a friend for two weeks. In those two weeks, Mayall said he realized his enjoyment for teaching because he felt he had something to offer students and the students seemed to enjoy his teaching. The following semester, Mayall’s career as an Adjunct Professor began.

Mayall has been teaching at UConn for eight years now. Currently, he teaches two sections of the introductory course, OPIM 3103 (Business Information Systems), and BADM 3760 (Business Information Systems) over the summer for students outside of the Business School. He loves teaching because he said it very rewarding, and on top of all of that, he said it is fun!

“I am continuously learning from my students, which happens every semester. My thanks goes to all of those students who have helped me,” Mayall said.

For Mayall, the most rewarding part of teaching is that instead of thinking of it as teaching students, he thinks of it as training of future executives. He said a major lesson in his class involves discussing the importance of goal setting and measuring.

“I keep reminding my class: think like a manager, executive, or CEO, and how information technology can help achieve goals,” Mayall said.

Information systems is so important because it helps managers make good decisions based on good data, he said. Mayall said he always emphasizes the quality of data in his courses because it is critical to the success of the company. He said that his course discusses how the quality of data can be improved through good design.

“My goal is to make students understand the effective use of information technology to help make better decisions as managers and executives,” Mayall said.

Teaching the introductory course means that Mayall teaches students throughout the School of Business, not just OPIM students. He said that during his first lecture, he tells students of his journey in information technology, encouraging students who are interested in the field to pursue a career in it.

Mayall said he makes it a point to discuss the many future challenges in the field and though these challenges will be bigger, he tells students that they will be far more rewarding. Mayall encourages any students interested in entering the field to pay him a visit to discuss your future goals.

In his spare time, Mayall enjoys volunteering, mentoring and spending time with his grandchildren. He is the Treasurer at the Historical Society in his town. In addition to information technology, Mayall said he is interested in innovation technology, particularly related terrestrial and outer space research. Bringing his new research to the classroom to discuss and challenge is application to society is one of his biggest joys in teaching, he said.

As for his advice to his students, Mayall said to always keep learning.

“Never stop learning. Learning is a lifelong, never ending journey no matter what career path you choose,” Mayall said.

Finally, he wanted to leave students with one last word as they begin their careers in the field.

“I envy young students of today, who will participate, develop, and enjoy the fruits and pains of new technologies in all fields. Now go make it a better world,” Mayall said.

Faculty Spotlight – Marshall Dougherty

Marshall Dougherty is a graduate of UConn’s Management Information Systems (MIS) program and now an adjunct faculty member in the Operations and Information Management (OPIM) Department. In addition to his work
here at UConn, Dougherty runs the daily operations of the Corporate Audit Data Integrity Team at Traveler’s in Hartford.

After graduating from UConn and receiving many top job offers, Dougherty went on to work at Deloitte, which at the time he said was ranked as the #1 place to start your career. He said he owes his success to the UConn MIS program in preparing him extremely well for a career in the field.

“I have nothing but great things to say about the department and how it prepared me,” Dougherty said.

Because of his great experience at the university, Dougherty began working at UConn in the Fall of 2015. He said he enjoyed the technical training that he was doing at Traveler’s, which made him realize that he wanted to pursue teaching. Dougherty said he showed his interest to UConn’s OPIM Department and he was fortunate that they took him up on the offer.

He currently teaches the predictive modeling course in data and text mining, as well as the data analysis for audits and investigations course, which he said involves a great deal of SAS programming. Just last week, Dougherty taught the Introduction to SAS workshop, as part of the department’s OPIM Innovate Initiative. He enjoys sharing his knowledge of SAS programming because he knows it is an extremely valuable skill.

Dougherty said the best part about teaching for him is the impact that he can have on his students’ careers and lives.

“I love bringing perspective from the industry to students and imparting tangible skills that can help them land a job or excel at one,” Dougherty said.

On the other hand, at Traveler’s, Dougherty works with a team of SAS and SQL professionals conducting data analytics to support the audit function and developing automation approaches to controls across various business areas.

He said he loves his job at Traveler’s because of the variety. Dougherty said his team is constantly getting involved in new and different projects. He said he mainly works on analytics. He enjoys his role because it gives him the opportunity to learn many new things while getting a true sense of the inner-workings of an expansive enterprise.

Within the information technology field, Dougherty is most interested in data analytics, forensic data work, and business process automation.

Information technology is an extremely marketable field, which is why he would advise students to enter into it. He said if you have an understanding of technology you will always be able to find work.

“It goes without saying that technology powers almost every facet of our lives at this point,” Dougherty said.

Dougherty also said he appreciates how the field emphasizes concrete skills.

As for his future goals in the field, Dougherty said its onward and upward. He hopes for his team at Traveler’s to increase their reach across the enterprise to serve even more customers than they currently do.

“The bigger our footprint can be, the happier I’ll be,” he said.

He said he hopes for his team at Traveler’s to increase their footprint across the enterprise. He said that because of the broad view they currently have of the company, his team will be extremely valuable to serve even more customers than they currently do.

Dougherty said he hopes to increase his involvement with the UConn OPIM Department as much as his job at Traveler’s and family life will allow.

Outside of work, Dougherty said he is just a simple guy. He and his family love the outdoors, are cat and dog owners and raise chickens, he said. He and his wife have one son and they are expecting another in May, he said. In the future, he plans to travel more often, as it is something he truly enjoys.

Faculty Spotlight – Wei-Kuang Huang


Wei-Kuang Huang teaches UConn’s Business Information Systems and Database Management courses at all three of the university’s regional campuses in Hartford, Waterbury and Stamford. Shortly after completing his Ph.D at Rutger’s University in 1998, Huang began his teaching career at UConn. In 2001, Huang briefly worked at the Storrs campus before joining the newly developed Business Technology program (Now Business Data Analytics major) at the regional campuses.

Huang’s main areas of expertise in the technology field are workflow management systems, database systems, information systems security, electronic data interchange and client-server computing. Although he is not actively conducting any research in these areas, he serves on an editorial board, as well as a peer reviewer for database management and data security journals.

As for his favorite part about teaching, Huang said it is the interaction with his students. It excites him to to watch them grow in knowledge, as well as to learn from them.

“I’ve always felt that it is a privilege to be a teacher. I not only have the opportunity to pass down my academic knowledge, but also share my life experience and hopefully inspire them in some way,” Huang said.

He said he believes that teaching and learning go hand-in-hand. For Huang, teaching is a very rewarding and humbling experience.

My students are the reason why I am always so motivated to teach,” He said.

Over the past eight years, Huang has been leading his students in various IT case competitions. He said these competitions are a way to network with the Business Data Analytics (BDA) industry and alumni. Huang said he hopes to continue to provide these networking opportunities to UConn’s regional campuses.

In the field of BDA, Huang is fascinated by the progression of transforming data into information, knowledge, and ultimately, business intelligence, he said. Along with being an extremely interesting field, Huang said that these BDA processes are critical for success in the business world. He said the necessity of BDA has emerged in recent years due to the advancement in technology.

Due to the emerging focus on data science and data engineering in businesses today, Huang said that BDA is becoming a very demanding and sought-after major.

“Instead of entering a general business study, the BDA program provides a more specialized and up-to-date skillset that is ultimately beneficial for the job market today,” Huang said.

He believes that there is a very promising future for the undergraduate BDA program on UConn’s regional campuses due to excellent job placement of recent graduates of the MSBAPM (MS in Business Analytics and Project Management) program.

Outside of his work here at UConn, Huang is extremely passionate about the arts. He comes from a very musical family and enjoys listening to music. Additionally, Huang loves traveling and photography.


Faculty Spotlight – Jing Peng


After earning a Ph.D. in Operations, Information and Decisions from the University of Pennsylvania, Jing Peng began his work at UConn six months ago. Peng is an Assistant Professor in the School of Business Operations and Information Management (OPIM) Department. He currently teaches students at the graduate level in Data Mining and Business Intelligence (OPIM 5671).

When he is not teaching, Peng is working on research. Peng’s current research focuses on business analytics in relation to social media marketing, recommender systems and data mining. His goal is to provide actionable insights regarding who to target on social media and e-commerce platforms and how to effectively reach these target people. His goal in his research is to provide actionable insights to managers in order for them to use social media and digital platforms more effectively, he said.

With the flexible hours of academia, Peng is able to teach, while conducting his research at the same time. This is one of the many reasons that he likes working as a professor, he said. His favorite part about his career as a whole is that he is able to align his work focus with his personal interests in the information technology field.

The best part about the field for Peng is the wide range of interesting topics and the sustainability of a career in the field, he said.

“It’s a growing field covering a wide range of topics. It’s easy for anyone to find a topic he or she is interested in,” Peng said.

Peng advises students to enter the information technology field because it encompasses a wide range of topics that are extremely fascinating to learn about. He said the skills obtained with a degree in the field are some of the most sought after in the business world today.

In the future, Peng hopes to have his research papers published in premier journals, as well as receive tenure from the university as a professor. Outside of his professional career, Peng said he enjoys photography, basketball and swimming.

Faculty Spotlight – Shu He


Shu He began her career teaching at the University of Connecticut last August. Currently, she teaches a section of Business Information Systems (OPIM 3103).

In addition to teaching, He is working on research about how companies respond to emerging business challenges by adapting competitive strategies, such as effective social media management, adoption of mobile devices, and cyber security threats.

He enjoys having the opportunity to choose the topic of her research based on her interests. She said she is fascinated by information systems because of its unlimited possibilities. The information technology field is both exciting and challenging, He said.

“With the rapid deployment of computing devices and the improved Internet access, our daily lives and the business world have been reshaped dramatically,” He said.

She said advancements in computer systems and the Internet is constantly evolving. These improvements bring about abundant research opportunities, new technologies and new business environments, she said. In order to embrace this new technology development, there is a high demand for professionals who can bridge technology and business within companies.

“Technology has permeated every management discipline,” He said.

She said that there are many professional opportunities for Management Information Systems (MIS) students with both technical and business skills.

As for her position here at UConn, He said the most rewarding part about teaching is interacting with the students and being a part of their development.

“I have the privilege of teaching students from all over the world. I learn a lot from my students and I am always motivated to update my knowledge,” said He.

On a more personal level in her free time, He likes to exercise by doing pilates and swimming. She enjoys cooking, as well.

Faculty Spotlight – Shun-Yang Lee


Outside of technology, UConn Operations and Information Management (OPIM) assistant professor, Shun-Yang Lee enjoys playing the piano and exploring the outdoors. He recently began teaching at UConn in August 2016.

Lee teaches two different courses at UConn, Business Information Systems (OPIM 3103) at the undergraduate level and Predictive Modeling (OPIM 5604) at the graduate level taught in the GBLC (Graduate Business Learning Center) in downtown Hartford.

When asked why he went into teaching, Lee said he enjoys learning new things. He loves working with students because he is constantly learning from them. He knows that information technology is extremely important.

“Being in academia, particularly in the information systems field,  you are constantly learning new technologies and figuring out how things work, which I enjoy very much,” Lee said.

Information technology is so important because it is constantly changing, he said. He enjoys introducing students to different types of technologies and he finds it empowering and humbling to know that his students’ careers will benefit greatly from this knowledge, he said.

Lee’s motivation in research are the times where there is no clear solution to a business problem or technology. He said that going out, conducting research and exploring on his own to understand these complex problems is much more exciting than when there is a present and clear solution.

Lee’s current research is focused on the interactions between humans and information systems. He said that he is specifically interested in how people use and react to technology. Lee wants to know whether technology helps or inhibits people’s decision making.

“I am interested in understanding how users utilize and react to technology – do they make decisions more efficiently and more effectively? Or does the design of technology somehow mislead people into making biased decisions?” Lee said.

This topic of technology research is extremely important because Lee believes that better understanding how people use and are affected by technology will ultimately lead to more effective design in the future.

Lee shared some information about one of his current projects on how the politeness level of answers on question answering platforms affects user’s perception of answer quality. He takes a look at sites, such as Quora, Stack Overflow and Yahoo! Answers. What he has found so far in his preliminary research suggests that question askers prefer polite to impolite answers, which is an example of how technology users might make biased decisions, he said.

Management Information Systems (MIS) students are extremely valuable assets to businesses in a time where technology is such an integral part of daily life, Lee said. MIS students have the unique ability to bridge the gap between technology and business. Lee encourages interested students to pursue the MIS major, most importantly, because he said technology is fascinating and MIS is fun!

Faculty Spotlight – Ryan O’Connor


Adjunct Professor Ryan O’Connor started working in Information Technology when he was just 16 years old at a small computer shop in Quaker Hill, Connecticut. Now, Ryan teaches classes in the Operations and Information Management (OPIM) Department at UConn and he works full-time for Hurricane Labs, though he is still confused for a student from time to time.

Ryan shared his experiences in Information Technology, how he became involved in teaching, the importance of technology and his advice for students entering into the field.

Ryan’s own experience at UConn inspired him to become a teacher at the university. He said that he wanted to give back to UConn and he felt that he had a lot of experience and knowledge to give to others.

“Knowledge is a powerful thing, but only if it’s shared” Ryan said.

Ryan believes Information Technology is important because it is involved all monumental achievements in society. He is mainly interested in Information Security and data driven decision making. He said a course he took with OPIM Professor Bob Day at UConn is what sparked his interests in these areas of technology.

“Information technology is so important because it’s as much the present as it is the future,” Ryan said.

Ryan graduated from UConn with a Master’s in Business Analytics and Project Management (MBAPM) in 2014. During his time at UConn, Ryan worked at the University Information Technology Services (UITS) Help Desk. He worked at UITS for seven years, eventually transitioning to a full-time position in the Information Security Office. After earning his Masters degree, Ryan left UITS to further pursue a career in Information Security and Splunk consulting. Ryan currently teaches courses in Network and Design Applications (OPIM 3222) and Business Data Analytics (OPIM 3511) in Storrs and West Hartford.

As for advice for students looking to enter into a technology-based field, Ryan said it is important to become a ‘yes’ person. He said that anything is possible with technology and it is important to keep a positive mind set to be successful.

“It might be hard, but you’ll learn far more in struggling to figure something out than simply saying ‘no we can’t do that,'” Ryan said.

He encourages all of his students to take advantage of every opportunity given to them during there time at UConn.

Ryan hopes to advance in his position at Hurricane Labs as a Splunk Consultant and continue to develop the OPIM Department at UConn. He said he and Professor Jon Moore are hoping to develop the lab environment in the OPIM Department into something new and innovative. He said the goal is to make it a place where students can apply what they learn outside of the classroom. Another goal of his is to help other professors continue to grow their curriculums with technology and promote more hands on learning with students.

Faculty Spotlight – Alex Tung


Alex Tung, an associate professor in the UConn School of Business Operations and Information Management (OPIM) Department and a proud Husky Basketball fan, is passionate about bringing together academics and the information technology field through his work. Tung has been involved with the OPIM Department at UConn since 2000. Tung told me about his interests in information technology, his reasons for teaching, advice to students entering into the field, and his future goals for the OPIM Department.

Tung’s focus in information technology is on building and improving IT software to help businesses become more efficient and effective in decision-making. He said this require deep thinking to come up with the correct logic to solve each problem in different functional areas of businesses.

Tung became involved in teaching because he loves spreading his knowledge. He said it is extremely satisfying to him when he sees students grasp what he is teaching and apply it to real-life problem solving. He said he finds teaching to be very rewarding and interacting with students motivates him to pursue new knowledge himself.

As for the importance of the Information Technology field, Tung said that no businesses today, whether they be large or small, operate successfully without the use of technology. Information technology is everywhere and the industry is growing on a daily basis. Because of this, people are needed to build and maintain these information systems, he said.

Tung’s advice for students pursuing careers in information technology is to be passionate and persistent. He said that working in the field can sometimes be frustrating when something is not working.

“Work hard and you will succeed. Once the system you try to build is working the way it should, or the piece of computer program you wrote solves a complex problem, the feeling of fulfillment is beyond imagination,” Tung said.

Additionally, he advised students to always keep up with new technologies because the industry advances very rapidly. Mastering new technologies as they become available is a key to being successful in the information technology field, Tung said.

When asked about his future goals for the OPIM Department, Tung said he hopes to build an IT entrepreneurial field lab facility to integrate the theory and application of students’ learning. He said that the information being taught in the classroom should be able to be immediately applied to real-world scenarios while they are still at school and he wants to facilitate this.

“I have no doubt that with the high caliber of our students, the next Mark Zuckerberg could very well likely be produced by UConn’s OPIM Department,” Tung said.

Faculty Spotlight – Ramesh Shankar


Ramesh Shankar is an Associate Professor and the Assistant Department Head of the Operations and Information Management (OPIM) Department at the University of Connecticut School of Business. With a Ph.D. from NYU Stern School of Business, Shankar began his work at UConn in 2004.

Aside from teaching at UConn, Shankar is constantly conducting technology research. His current research focuses on Big Data analytics, social media, strategic analysis of digital goods such as software, music and video games, and the impact of information systems on business processes and the structure of firms.

The area of technology that Shankar is most interested in is Business Analytics, which is being enabled by other emerging technology trends – such as, internet of things, mobile devices and big data technology.

Shankar said that he became interested in teaching because it is an environment that allows him to constantly be exposed to new ideas and learning new things. He said that teaching gives him a broader perspective and leads him to explore things in greater detail than he maybe would have thought to do on his own.

As for advice, Shankar tells MIS students to, “Be curious!” He encourages students to try out new technologies as they become available. He thinks it is important for MIS students to learn about how new technologies work to ultimately think about how these technologies could change how we function as a society.

In regards to the future of the OPIM Department, Shankar said that he is excited, particularly, about bring Big Data Technology to the classroom. He is currently teaching a masters level course in Big Data Technology called “Big Data Analytics using Hadoop.” Hadoop is an open-source software framework for distributed storage and processing of large data sets on computer clusters. His goal is to move these types of courses into the undergraduate level in the near future.