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Faculty Focus – Jim Arkell

Jim received his bachelor’s degree from Texas Tech University and his JD from Texas Tech University School of Law. He is an assistant professor of business administration.

What brought you to Alaska?
Very simply put, my son. I grew up in northern Canada and I wanted him to have that same experience. There is something about the northern lifestyle that imparts a certain sense of independence and integrity in people who grow up in the far north. As the musician, Prince said when asked why he lived in Minnesota – “because it’s so cold it keeps the bad people out.” There is a simple truth to that. There are easier places to live, but few better.

What do you enjoy most about Alaska?
The people and the unpretentiousness of it. Let’s just say that I have saved a lot of money on razor blades since moving here.

This is your second year with SOM. What do you tell people in the Lower 48 about it?
I constantly tell my friends and family what a great place SOM is to work. I can truly say that I love teaching here. The administration, faculty, and staff here are fantastic and a pleasure to work with.

You’ve spent time teaching in China. How does that translate into the classroom here?
There is very little difference in the teaching component between China and here. Students in both countries want to learn and they want to be engaged. I try the best I can to strip down the material and make it relatable. What I have found to be most beneficial from my time in China is the plethora of experience I gained from consulting and working with both Chinese and foreign corporations. Many of the textbooks today contain information on doing business in China and, having been directly involved with it, I am hopefully better able to communicate the realities and dispel some of the myths associated with China.

Which research or project are you currently working on?
I am currently working on several projects with other SOM faculty members, but I recently finished an article on the Federal Court injunction that was issued against the new salary level base of $47,476 for overtime exempt employees, which was to go into effect on December 1, 2016.

What advice do you have for current students?
Get out and experience the world. Take your headphones off, put your phone and iPad away, and talk to people. I have met some amazing people who became great friends just by simply saying ‘hello’.


  • What is one thing you think everyone should own no matter the cost?  Nothing – one thing that I learned from traveling around the world is that there isn’t anything, other than the essentials in life (food, clothing and shelter), that people really need.
  • Last music download?  The new Jack Savoretti album, “Sleep No More”
  • In a next life, what would your career be?  Why wait for your “next life” – if there is something you want to do, go do it!
  • If you were granted one wish to change the world, what would it be?  Two things that shouldn’t require a wish because humans have the power to change it: End the suffering of children caused by war and hunger.


SOM Speaks: Hear Us Roar – Sam Alexander


Sam Alexander is an instructor in the Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM) program and the faculty advisor for the Native Alaskan Business Leaders student organization. HSEM is an fast-growing major and SOM instructors like Sam helps bring both academic concepts and real-world experience into the classroom. Sam encourages businesses to hire students, who can offer new perspectives for their organizations.

SOM Speaks: Hear Us Roar – Amy Cooper



cooper-amyAmy Cooper is an acclaimed UAF School of Management accounting instructor who is passionate about accounting and teaching. Amy was named one of the Top 40 under 40 in accounting by CPA Practice Advisor magazine in 2015 and was named the 2015-2016 Faculty Mentor of the Year by the Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC).


In the videos below, Amy discusses the challenges ahead in the future and gives advice on the opportunities ahead and the importance of investing in your future.





Faculty Focus – Dr. Joshua Lupinek


Josh refereeing at a hockey game.

Hailing from East Haddam, Connecticut, Josh’s connection to the sports industry started as a minor league hockey player and turned into sport marketing during graduate school. Josh stays connected to his hockey background as an NCAA referee for the WCHA and Big Ten Conference. You may see him on the ice with the UAF Nanooks. Josh is an assistant professor of business administration.
Educational background:
Ph.D. – University of Minnesota, Sport Management

M.A. – University of Connecticut, Sport Management & Sociology
B.A. – Franklin Pierce University, Business Management & Mathematics

What brought you to Alaska?
The opportunity to work for the School of Management, my colleagues (plus their mutual hockey interests), and a family adventure.

What do you enjoy about Alaska?
I enjoy the family-friendly community and how much opportunity there is for outdoor family activities. Even walking the dog is a fun adventure, with the wildlife and the numerous trails.

This is your first year with SOM. What were your first impressions?
I enjoy the friendly business school culture. While SOM is very professional and respected within the community, you don’t have to wear a suit to work everyday for someone to know you mean business!

Your specialized field is sports marketing. How does that translate into the classroom?
Sports marketing has endless connections to the classroom as athlete endorsements continue to trend upwards. There is no lack of controversial topics when it comes to professional athletes and how their personal life choices affect the sport industry. Connecting with students on these topics and how they choose to consume sports is something I very much enjoy. People tend to carry a lot more passion in how they choose one sports brand/team over another than for general consumer products like shampoo.

What research or project are you currently working on?
I am currently working on a collaborative project where we are researching the gender differences of fantasy football participation and what motivational differences exist for females with respect to starting and continuing to play fantasy football.

What advice do you have for current students?
My advice for students, especially student-athletes, is to take advantage of the network around you. Everyone at SOM takes pride in helping you get to that next level. I can’t think of too many places in the world that provide as much professional development support and personal interest in your career.

What would you like to tell us about your family?
My wife Tracy and I welcomed our first child, Ava, this past December. We are excited to be raising a family in the Fairbanks, AK community and can’t wait till she is old enough to ride her first snowmachine!


Josh and his dog.

  • Next TV/movie binge watch in queue? “Ballers” on HBO, but it is on hold until after the Stanley Cup.
  • Book you are currently reading?Winning the customer: Turn consumers into fans and get them to spend more,” by Lou Imbriano & Elizabeth King.
  • Your last music download? “I Took A Pill In Ibiza” by Mike Posner.
  • If you were granted you one wish to change the world what would it be? Stop global warming, so that future generations can enjoy the world as we do.



Josh’s and his wife Tracy’s daughter, Ava.

Faculty Focus – Kim McGinnis

Kim grew up in Miami, Florida and San Diego, California. Her career started at the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai, where she represented American businesses operating in China. She went on to work in emerging markets asset management at HSBC, then moved to General Electric, where she led GE Capital’s global public affairs function.

  • Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Vanderbilt University
  • Master of International Affairs from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs
  • MBA from the University of California Berkeley’s Haas School of Business

What brought you to Alaska?
While completing my MBA, I went on a spring break cross-country skiing trip in Alaska’s White Mountains. I fell in love with the area and all the great things you can do outdoors. I also fell in love with a very special Alaskan guy, Sam Alexander, who runs his own adventure travel company when not teaching. Sam didn’t have to do much convincing to get me to move.

What do you enjoy about Alaska?
Two things strike me most about Alaska – first, this state offers boundless opportunities for someone with an entrepreneurial mindset. Second, the sky is amazing! The Lower 48 doesn’t get brilliant sunrises and Northern Lights like we get here.

You have a good amount of professional experience in finance, leadership and marketing.
How does that translate into the classroom?

I relate examples from my own work experience. One of the first lectures I gave was on mergers and acquisitions. Having gone through a number of acquisitions and divestures at GE, I can share a practioner’s perspective to complement the academic view. I’m connecting with my former colleagues and professional contacts to come to Fairbanks so students can hear their perspectives, as well.

Which previous research / project are you most proud of?
While at GE, I launched a marketing campaign that was so successful in the U.S., I got to oversee its implementation in six additional countries. The success was nice, of course, but it was also a great opportunity to work with colleagues across the globe.

What advice do you have for current students?
Stay curious and approach your career – and your life – with an open mind. As a corollary to that – if you get the opportunity to travel, do it.

What would you like to tell us about your family?
Sam and I live in a dry cabin. I’m hoping to add a puppy to our family soon. And maybe running water some day!


UPDATE: The puppy has arrived! Still waiting on that running water….


  • Next TV binge watch in queue? Archer and House of Cards are my two guilty pleasures.
  • Book you are currently reading? I am re-reading “The Great Game” by Peter Hopkirk. It is a non-fiction account of the 19th century British-Russian rivalry in the Central Asia. It is just as exciting and full of intrigue as any work of fiction.
  • Your last music download? The latest addition to my Spotify playlist was “Hotline Bling” by Drake.
  • If I granted you one wish to change the world what would it be?  I’d wish for every single person to live in a culture other than his or her own for a while. I think it would go a long way toward breaking down the barriers between us.

Kim-Climbing     Kim-Kilimanjaro

Donor Spotlight – Tom & Raye Ann Robinson


Investing in Excellence

“Having been involved in the SOM accounting program since 1974 and now as a UAF Professor Emeritus, Raye Ann and I are proud to leave a legacy through scholarships.”

Professor E. Thomas “Tom” Robinson was born and raised on a small dairy farm in Green Lake, Wisconsin. Money was tight in the Robinson household, so Tom helped out by getting his first paying job during grade school as a dishwasher at a golf course.

Tom received a scholarship that allowed him to earn a degree from the University of Wisconsin Whitewater. Throughout his college career, he attributes his success to working during college and the scholarship that allowed him to pursue higher education.

Tom is a first-generation college graduate who participated in numerous extracurricular clubs related to his accounting degree, even though club dues were paid out of pocket and were a bit of a struggle for him. After graduation, Tom had intended to join the U. S. Navy officer school with the finance program but was turned down due to medical issues. Consequently, he accepted a position at Touche, Ross, Bailey & Smart (currently Deloitte), one of the “Big Four” accounting companies in the nation. When Tom decided to take his education to new heights and pursue a graduate degree, he took sabbatical leave from the firm. While studying at the University of Wisconsin, he accepted a full-time faculty position. It was during this period that he gained a true appreciation and passion for higher education and mentoring students.

During his tenure on the accounting faculty, Tom met the love of his life, Raye Ann, and they were wed in the spring of 1974. As an extended honeymoon, Tom and Raye Ann ventured to Alaska, where Tom accepted a position with UAF. They both fell in love with Alaska and decided to make it their permanent home.

In addition to teaching, Tom’s accomplishments at UAF include starting the Associated Students of Business and its Business Leader of the Year program, funding research through the Sea Grant program, establishing salmon hatcheries, and serving as a goal judge at UAF hockey games. Additionally, Tom served on many faculty appointments at UAF, ranging from advising to scholarship committees.

“As part of the committee responsible for selecting scholarship recipients, I discovered a pride, awareness, and desire to recognize and reward deserving students.”

Throughout his career in accounting, Tom felt fortunate to work with a number of professionals who were truly leaders in their fields. He feels a program is only as good as the individuals who make up the team. Having been involved in the SOM accounting program since 1974 and now as a UAF Professor Emeritus, he and Raye Ann are proud to leave a legacy through scholarships. Through the Robinson Family Athletic Scholarship and the E. Thomas and Raye Ann Robinson Scholarship for accounting students, they stand behind their belief in UAF and its mission to serve students with the best education available.