Indiana, PA - Indiana County

Ex-prof to receive honorary degree

by HEATHER ROTH hroth@indianagazette.net on June 26, 2013 10:40 AM

An Indiana-area business professor is receiving an honorary doctoral degree from a university in Sweden, in recognition of his research efforts with Swedish faculty and students.

Dr. Timothy Wilson will be traveling to Sweden to receive the title of Doctor Honoris Causa from Ume¥ University on October.

“It’s about as good as it’s gonna get for me,” Wilson said. “I didn’t seek it. It’s kind of a recognition of the work that I did with the university, that I continue to do. It’s certainly a surprise.”

Wilson taught for 24 years at Clarion University, and has lived in Indiana for 30 years with his wife, Carol.

He has a doctorate in business administration from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland and in technology from Carnegie Mellon University.

And ever since the 1990s, he’s been returning to Sweden for a semester or shorter, two-week-long stints as a visiting professor or to collaborate on research articles.

“I have a lot of frequent flier miles,” he said.

Wilson said he was looking into opportunities to teach or research at foreign universities in the early 1990s, but that going to Sweden was “an accident.”

Clarion had a relationship with an Australian university, where he intended to go, when he received a call from Sweden.

Turned out a colleague, whom he barely knew, had given his contact information to Ume¥ University as a possible visiting professor.

“There is a need around the world for American business professors, because they like to teach courses in English, international courses by an English-speaking person,” he explained.

He went first in 1992, for a year, then kept going back. He taught a seminar on academic writing for about 10 years. Since 2000, when he retired from Clarion, he’s been returning four or five times a year for a week or two at a time to collaborate on research.

“It’s been about eight years since I’ve been in the classroom. I write,” he said. “And I write with people on the staff at Ume¥ University, and that is what the (honorary) degree recognizes.”

An announcement on the Ume¥ School of Business and Economics website calls Wilson “a very important source of inspiration in the development” of the school

“Wilson has been and remains a strong catalyst for stimulating article writing, even beyond the articles he co-authors. His solid training, long career in both industry and academia, interest in interdisciplinary research, and his personality has laid a foundation for many successful research collaborations, resulting in a large number of scholarly works,” it reads.

“In collaboration with research colleagues, from concept to completion, his humble approach and ability to achieve significant results in a relatively short time are highly valued qualities.”

Wilson said he has a number of areas that he’s written about a lot, including video games, project management and Swedish industries.

“I’ve written a lot about Swedish industry with people, because that’s what they study. And then we turn it into a form that is acceptable for academic journals,” he said.

The university’s announcement states that Wilson has “produced nearly 300 scientific papers in several sub-disciplines of business administration research, often with an interdisciplinary connection.”

When Wilson first went to Sweden in 1992, he thought it was a one-time deal.

“It turned out it was a 20-year part of my career,” he said.

And he’s looking forward to the ceremony in October, which is complete with a banquet. “Swedes have very, very nice banquets,” he said.

“I think I’m very fortunate. I’ve had a lot of people that have helped me, going back to when I was in school. I’ve had a lot of nice jobs, a lot of nice experiences both in industry and academia. It’s just a very, very good life.”

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