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Marketing prof Rob Hooker is the fourth Muma College of Business professor to be named a Fulbright Scholar in two years

By Keith Morelli

Robert Hooker

TAMPA (Nov. 14, 2016) -- Robert Hooker has spent most of his academic life focusing in supply-chain management and now the assistant marketing professor in the University of South Florida's Muma College of Business is taking his expertise to a new level as a Fulbright scholar presenting his research and making connections in Europe.

And, he is in good company, becoming the fourth Muma College of Business professor to be awarded a Fulbright scholarships over the past two years.

James Stock received a Fulbright Distinguished Professor award this year and currently is at the Hanken School of Economics in Helsinki, Finland, lecturing and doing research on supply-chain sustainability and Jerry Koehler, also named a Fulbright scholar earlier this year, will lecture about management in an MBA program for professionals at Belarusian State Economic University in Minsk, Belarus, beginning in February.

Last year, Grandon Gill traveled to the University of Cape Town in Rondebosch, South Africa, to teach faculty from various universities how to write case studies and use cases in their classes.

"I am thrilled that these Muma College of Business professors are being recognized and that they will have a chance to present their research abroad, thereby raising the profile of the University of South Florida around the globe," said Muma College of Business Dean Moez Limayem. "To have four professors from our business school awarded Fulbright scholarships within two years is just incredible.

"We are proud and honored to have these consummate professionals working among us and teaching our students not only what's going on in the business world now, but what to expect in the near – and distant – future."

Hooker is heading to Stockholm, Sweden, to dispense his knowledge of supply-chain management, do some research about how it's done there and open doors of collaboration.

"I feel very fortunate," he said. "There is a certain weight of responsibility to represent your country well, which coincides with the Fulbright Scholar program's intent of expanding U.S. and foreign exchanges abroad. It's a great thing for USF and the Muma College of Business to have Fulbright scholars among its ranks."

Hooker is relatively young to receive such a prestigious award and he is the first Muma College of Business assistant professor to be named a Fulbright scholar.

He decided to apply under his field of expertise after attending an informational meeting with Darlene DeMarie at USF World, where he also met with representatives from the Fulbright Commission.

"I was told that there was a pretty low probability of getting it on my first attempt," he said. "Fulbright Scholar awards are highly competitive, and I was told even more so in the particular country to which I applied."

Last summer, he got a letter notifying him of his selection.

Hooker plans to head to Stockholm next summer for up to six weeks on his initial visit, allowing him flexibility with his USF research and teaching duties. He's hoping to make additional trips in the future.

Details of his project grant are to be finalized by the State Department, but Hooker, who teaches courses in market research, marketing strategy and, of course, supply-chain management, has been accepted to serve on a federal roster that allows him to make multiple trips abroad, paid for by federal government grants, to live and work overseas on specific research projects related to supply-chain management.

"The Fulbright program is well-regarded, and provides a wonderful platform to exchange ideas with global partners," he said, "in addition to being a nice personal achievement."

How does one go about receiving such an honor?

It is a multi-step process.

Hooker said he underwent several rounds of withering peer review by renowned scholars in his discipline that are given authority to do so by the State Department, and was evaluated on academic, scholarly and professional criteria.

After passing the peer review muster, Hooker's application was reviewed by the State Department which approved it.

"It was a fairly in-depth process," Hooker said, "but I understand the need for that."

Hooker is developing a Fulbright project with the Stockholm School of Economics, one of 30 schools from around the world involved in the CEMS Global Alliance in Management Education.

"Having someone from the Muma College of Business being invited with such respected schools is a great thing," he said. "I'll undoubtedly return with some valuable info to share."

He expects to be participating in research, guest presenting doctorate and graduate seminars and, of course, looking for collaboration opportunities. His research with the Center for Supply Chain & Sustainability delves into the use of technology and innovation in supply-chain management, to include omni-channel, and supply-chain resilience and leadership.

His work on sustainability and open innovation in new product development has been published in journals including the Journal of Purchasing and Supply Management and the MIS Quarterly Executive.

Hooker studied and taught at Florida State University in Tallahassee before joining USF in 2011.

Prior to embarking on his academic career, he spent several years in the corporate sector. He holds a PhD in business administration, an MBA in marketing and supply-chain management and a bachelor's degree double-majoring in finance and risk management and insurance, all from Florida State University.

So in June, Hooker will head abroad to research, teach, learn and make new connections, and to drink in the European culture from food to history to the educational institutions to the people of Sweden.

"My Fulbright colleagues have advised me to take in the culture as much as possible during the project trip," he said. "I'm looking forward to doing so, and returning with information, experiences and connections that may help us to further our growth and reach at USF."