Seven in the Walker College of Business are honored for excellence

BOONE, N.C. — Five faculty members and two staff members in Appalachian State University’s Walker College of Business have been recognized with Sywassink Awards for Excellence.

Austin Eggers received the award for excellence in teaching; Dr. Kristl Davison was honored for her research contributions; the award for excellence in service was presented to Dr. Pia Albinsson; and John Lehman was honored as the outstanding non-tenure track faculty member. Jennifer Hayward received the staff excellence award and the Spirit of Walker Awards were presented to Dr. Kevin Eller and Kathy Mann.

The awards were presented at the Sywassink Day of Excellence dinner and awards program on April 28. The event also provided a forum to present the college’s Dean’s Club Research Prize to three faculty members.

“After two years of celebrating our Day of Excellence virtually, I’m thrilled we were able to fellowship this year with friends and colleagues,” said Walker College of Business Dean Sandra Vannoy. “This event is a special opportunity to celebrate the outstanding achievements of our faculty and staff members who have excelled in the areas of teaching, research and service.”

Teaching Award: Austin Eggers


Austin Eggers, an assistant professor in the Department of Finance, Banking and Insurance, received the award for excellence in teaching.

Eggers first joined the faculty at Appalachian in 2015. He teaches business law and brings to the classroom a wealth of experience from his time as legal partner with Eggers, Eggers, Eggers & Eggers PLLC.

Dr. Mary Ann Hofmann chaired the committee that selected Eggers as the recipient and introduced him as winner during the event. “The chair of the department says he receives ‘ridiculously high’ student evaluations, despite holding the students to rigorous academic expectations.” She added that Eggers’ students say he is relatable and praise him for his professionalism, enthusiasm, availability and approachability.

Eggers is a member of the North Carolina Bar Association and maintains a State of North Carolina Law License. He is an App State alumnus, having earned his bachelor’s degree in political science. Eggers also earned a Masters of Divinity from Fuller Theological Seminary and a Juris Doctorate from North Carolina Central University.

Research Award: Kristl Davison


Dr. Kristl Davison, an assistant professor in the Department of Management, was honored for her research contributions.

Her research explores contemporary issues in human resource management like machine learning, counterproductive workplace behaviors, and innovations in training and hiring. Since joining Appalachian’s faculty in 2018, Dr. Davison has published 14 peer-reviewed and editor-reviewed articles.

Altogether, Dr. Davison has more than 50 publications and (as of April 2022) 4,377 Google Scholar citations. 

“Her research record is especially impressive given her commitment to teaching, covering multiple different courses every academic year and investment of significant time mentoring graduate students and developing future generations of researchers,” said Dr. Rachel Shinnar, who chaired the committee that selected Dr. Davison as the award recipient.

Dr. Davison is a member of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology, and both a master’s degree and Ph.D. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Tulane University.

Service Award: Pia Albinsson


Dr. Pia Albinsson, a professor in the college’s Department of Marketing and Supply Chain Management, was recognized for her service contributions.

Dr. Albinsson chairs the Department of Marketing and Supply Chain Management’s promotion and tenure committee, is a member of the Walker College’s scholarship committee and serves on the university’s committees for Conflict of Interest and Commitment and University Forum.

Dr. Albinsson’s nominators pointed to exemplary service not only within the college, but also nationally. She serves on editorial review boards, such as the Journal of Global Scholars in Marketing Science, and has reviewed more than 100 articles for publication in a variety of marketing-related journals. 

Dr. Albinsson regularly serves on boards of directors for research organizations, including the Society for Marketing Advances. She was recently recognized for her efforts when she was named the 2021 Society for Marketing Advances Distinguished Fellow, which recognizes a very limited number of scholars in light of exemplary service to the society and significant scholarly contributions to the advancement of marketing thought over a sustained period of time. 

Related: Marketing professor named 2021 SMA Distinguished Fellow

Dr. Albinsson is a past recipient of the Walker College's Sywassink Award for Excellence in Research and holds the Beroth Professorship at Appalachian. 

Before joining the faculty at Appalachian in 2009, Dr. Albinsson worked in the tourism industry in Greece as well as banking and finance in her native Stockholm, Sweden. 

Dr. Albinsson earned her MBA and her Ph.D. in business administration and marketing from New Mexico State University.

Non-tenure Track Award: John Lehman


Non-tenure Track Award recipient John Lehman is a senior lecturer in the Department of Economics.

He teaches large numbers of App State students through required business courses including macroeconomics, microeconomics, international trade and statistics.

“Over the past ten years, John has been a dedicated and engaged instructor,” said a nominator.

Prior to joining the economics faculty in 2012, Lehman served as a research analyst in Appalachian’s Energy Center and completed separate stints as a research associate at both the John Glenn Policy Center at The Ohio State University, and the Texas A&M Agricultural and Food Policy Center.

Lehman completed doctoral course work in public policy and management at The Ohio State University. And he earned his master’s degree in agricultural and applied economics from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

Outstanding Staff Award: Jennifer Hayward


Walker College Development Specialist Jennifer Hayward earned the Outstanding Staff Award, which recognizes those who exhibit dedication in service, innovation and workplace morale.

Her nominators said she is “poised and professional,” “genuinely cares about others” and has “incredible attention to detail.”

“This is the teammate that you truly want on your team,” said another nominator. “Jennifer is the glue that keeps our initiatives together.”

Hayward joined Appalachian’s staff in 2013. Previously, she served as assistant director of alumni programs at Emory University.

Hayward is a member of Appalachian Advocates, serves on the advisory board for App State’s New York Loft, and is a member of the Hayes School of Music’s Appalachian Chorale.

She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida.

Spirit of Walker Awards

The Spirit of Walker Awards were introduced in 2018 to honor those who exhibit the values of the college through their work to fulfill the mission and vision of the college. The college’s values include integrity, quality, meaning, global, diversity, innovation, collegiality, responsiveness and sustainability.

Spirit of Walker Faculty Award: Kevin Eller


Dr. Kevin Eller, an associate professor in the Department of Accounting, received the Spirit of Walker Award for faculty.

“Dr. Eller is always willing to go the extra mile for his fellow faculty, or the department, and for students,” said a nominator. “He is dependable, reliable and always has a smile on his face.”

Dr. Eller joined the faculty at App State in 2008 and teaches principles of accounting, intermediate accounting, and taxation. He also directs the accounting internship program. 

“As internship director, he organizes large recruiting events and helps students network and find career opportunities,” said another nominator. “His hard work pays off, though, as he has recently helped 100 percent of students seeking internships find one in the field.”

Dr. Eller earned the Walker College’s non-tenure Sywassink Award for Excellence in 2011 and is regularly recognized as one of App State’s “Most Helpful” professors. 

Dr. Eller’s research focuses on whistleblowing and fraud reporting, behavioral facets of earnings management, internal auditor objectivity and Corporate Social Responsibility.

He is a member of the American Accounting Association and a two-time Walker College of Business alumnus, having earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accounting from Appalachian. Dr. Eller earned his PhD from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Spirit of Walker Staff Award: Kathy Mann


Kathy Mann, scholarship coordinator for the Walker College of Business, received the Spirit of Waker Award for Staff.

“Mann exemplifies the core values of integrity, quality, honesty and ethics,” said a nominator. “With an ever-positive attitude and an ever-present smile, she represents the college’s values with ease.”

As scholarship coordinator, she assists students, including those with high needs, apply for and find support. 

“Through her work, she builds meaningful relationships,” said another nominator of Mann. “She is not only knowledgeable and helpful, she is a friend to all.”

Mann previously served as office manager for Family and Child Studies and as administrative support supervisor for the Communications Disorders Clinic.

She is a Walker College alumna, having earned her bachelor’s in business administration from App State.

About the Awards

The Sywassink Awards are presented annually. Winners receive a monetary prize and a bronze medallion of the university seal. 

The awards are made possible by a contribution from G.A. Sywassink, chairman of Standard Holding Co. of Charlotte and chair emeritus of the college’s Business Advisory Council. Mr. Sywassink is a past chair of Appalachian’s Board of Trustees and a past member of the University of North Carolina Board of Governors.

From left are: Austin Eggers, Kristl Davison, Pia Albinsson, John Lehman, Jennifer Hayward, Kevin Eller and Kathy Mann
Published: Oct 3, 2022 12:32pm