UHV grants faculty research leave

Two University of Houston-Victoria faculty members will spend the 2021-2022 academic year pursuing research projects that include looking into the compensation of executives of major companies, and studying student learning anxieties and academic integrity.

Sandy Venneman

Sandy Venneman, a professor of psychology and biology, and Yixi Ning, a professor of finance, were granted faculty development leave for the academic year. Full-time tenured faculty members are eligible for the leave after they have been employed by UHV for a minimum of five consecutive academic years.

“This leave is an exciting opportunity for Dr. Venneman to complete important research on student learning and performance,” said Craig Goodman, interim dean of the School of Arts & Sciences. “Her plans will allow her to explore strategies for relieving student anxiety in certain classes and investigate academic dishonesty among students. This will help improve teaching at UHV and other institutions.”

Yixi Ning

Venneman has been a UHV faculty member since 1999. She teaches mostly physiological psychology courses and behavioral courses in biology, such as animal behavior. She holds a doctorate in experimental psychology.

Venneman said her research has a general theme of helping students overcome academic anxieties. For her leave, she will be focusing on several projects related to teaching statistics and lessening students’ fear of statistics. She also will be working on a research project about student academic integrity with the intention of helping faculty members understand how and why some students make unethical decisions with testing and homework. 

Craig Goodman

Other projects Venneman will be working on include projects with junior faculty members about domestic violence; school nurses’ knowledge of stressors related to children with Type 1 diabetes; and one helping nurses understand psychological issues related to hair loss.

“I am very grateful to receive this leave because I usually have a heavy teaching and service load, and this research requires the time to sit and write, as well,” she said. “This is an opportunity to write up this research and send it to academic journals.”

Ning has been a UHV faculty member for more than 16 years and teaches both undergraduate and graduate finance courses. He also has a doctorate in finance and has taught corporate finance and financial modeling courses.

Ken Colwell

“Dr. Ning has a great proposal for his research that will lead to some significant academic work that will be published in a quality academic journal,” said Ken Colwell, dean of the School of Business Administration. “I look forward to hearing about his research findings.”

Ning plans to spend his leave researching a corporate finance topic, the long-term trend of executive compensation in large corporations. He is interested in learning how CEOs are paid for their work and whether they are overcompensated, and what macroeconomic and firm-specific factors affect CEO compensation. The data for the research includes a 70-year CEO compensation in Dow Jones 30 companies from different industries. He also will be analyzing the asymmetric benchmarking in executive pay from the past 70 years, looking at whether CEOs are rewarded for a bull market but not penalized symmetrically for a bear market.

Ning first became interested in this topic when he wrote his dissertation about executive compensation. He said he is looking forward to conducting more research in this area.

“This faculty leave is a great opportunity, and I am thankful to the dean for his recommendation and the support of the university,” Ning said. “This is a research project that I have thought about for many years, and I am excited to begin this project with my colleagues and be able to produce multiple papers.”

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973 in Victoria, Texas, offers courses leading to more than 80 academic programs in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, Texas, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.

Amber Aldaco