A longtime marketing professor and a junior faculty member in finance have been named winners of the University of Mississippi School of Business Administration’s Outstanding Teacher of the Year award for the 2019-20 academic year.
The honorees are Sam Cousley, instructional associate professor of marketing, and Arup Ganguly, assistant professor of finance.
Each year, department chairs in the business school nominate candidates for the honor. The school’s executive committee reviews all the nominations and makes the final decision. This year, two nominations stood out to a degree that the committee decided to award both of them.
“(Dr. Sam Cousley) is very deserving of the teaching award since he has had such an impact on so many students over his career,” said Ken Cyree, dean of the School of Business Administration. “We are fortunate to have such a wonderful and dedicated person to educate our students, and I know many of them are supportive of honoring Dr. Cousley for his success in the classroom.”
Although Ganguly is at the beginning of his teaching career, he already is making a similar impact on students, Cyree said.
“He is enthusiastic and committed, and the students respond well to his efforts,” Cyree said. “His rigorous and practical teaching will allow our students to be successful in the competitive marketplace as they graduate and enter the workforce.”
Cousley, a Greenville native, moved to Oxford in 1985 after serving as the general manager of San-Dow Broadcasting Inc. in Tupelo and as a business professor at Arkansas State University. He began teaching advertising at Ole Miss in 1999.
He was attracted to Ole Miss because of its reputation and the “great town” of Oxford.
Cousley received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business administration from Mississippi State University. He earned his doctorate in business administration from Louisiana Technical University.
He was originally interested in the advertising industry, but after taking some classes, he knew that marketing was the subject he wanted to study.
He has taught many marketing and statistics classes, but the MBA Statistical Analysis class remains his favorite. He enjoys this course because it focuses on predictive modeling and analytics, which he considers “very relevant topics that use advanced computer technology.”
Cousley is widely admired by both faculty and staff for his overall dedication to students in making sure they all have the opportunity to learn as much as possible.
Barry Babin, chair of the marketing department, referred to Cousley as “rare and a great asset” to himself and the university due to his combination of practical and academic experience.
“Sam’s institutional memory has been a great asset to me as well as I begin to learn about Ole Miss,” said Babin, who joined the business school in 2019. “I cannot count the number of times I would mention an alum or businessperson I had met, and Sam would tell me what class he taught that person in, when, and what kind of student they were.
“He remains engaged and is a key member of the academic marketing team here at Ole Miss business school.”
Cousley lives in Oxford with his wife, Trish. They will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary in August. They have two children: Starling and Margaret, who live in New Canaan, Connecticut, and Houston, Texas, with their spouses and children.
He is also a member of the Rotary Club of Oxford – a service club that brings together business and professional leaders in order to provide humanitarian service and advance goodwill – where he has served as a president and is a board member.
Cousley has previously been awarded the Outstanding Professional Master of Business Administration Professor of the Year four times and the Outstanding Campus MBA Professor of the Year once from the School of Business Administration over the course of his Ole Miss teaching career.
“When candidates for faculty positions interview with us, I always tell them this is the best job in the world,” he said. “I feel very fortunate to have the privilege of serving as a professor at the University of Mississippi School of Business Administration.
“I work hard to give our students the best education possible, and it’s gratifying to be recognized.”
Ganguly arrived at the UM business school in 2018, after finishing his doctorate at the University of Pittsburgh, and quickly has realized he loves three things about the school: the faculty, staff and students.
“My business school colleagues and the staff enable a stimulating environment of research and learning,” he said. “I am deeply grateful to all of them and have gotten to know many of them over the course of nearly two years, and share with them an exhilarating learning experience.”
The work environment provides Ganguly with opportunities to continue in his research while making a difference as a teacher.
“In my opinion, the highest teaching honor is when a student tells me how I was able to have a positive impact on their life,” he said.
The importance of influencing students positively – whether in the classroom or down the road professionally – was imparted to Ganguly at a young age, and he has tried to pay it forward in his role as an educator.
“It has been my good fortune and a great privilege to have learned from exceptional and caring teachers at different points of my life who will continue to be my role models and my beacons of hope and aspiration,” he said.
Ganguly’s mentorship both inside and outside the classroom makes him a perfect candidate for this award, said Jon Taylor, a senior managerial finance and economics major from Wiggins.
“No professor has had as much impact on the trajectory of my academic and personal development as Dr. Ganguly,” Taylor said. “His commitment to his students extends outside the classroom as he co-leads the Financiers Club and advises students for the University of Mississippi TVA Investment Fund.”
Fellow faculty members nominated Ganguly for the award.
“Students frequently comment about Dr. Ganguly’s classes to me,” said Bonnie Van Ness, chair of the Department of Finance. “They say that he is quite knowledgeable about finance and that his classes are interesting, interactive, challenging and that they learn a lot. It is a pleasure to have him as a faculty member.”
By Morgan Gusella and Rabria Moore