Faculty Spotlight

Marketing Pro

WHAT DO MARKETING, golf and underdogs all have in common? The answer: Lee McGinnis. An associate professor of marketing, McGinnis has done extensive research on gender perspectives in the game of golf as well as on underdogs in sports, society and business.

Named the director of the new integrated marketing communications (IMC) master’s program, McGinnis shares what he finds most exciting about the program, why underdogs aren’t considered losers and a quote from his dad that continues to motivate him.

Top teaching moment: Receiving the Student Athletic Association’s Outstanding Faculty Award in 2015.
I remember sitting at the breakfast that morning listening to the students’ descriptions for the winner of the award and having absolutely no expectation of winning it myself. I was completely floored by the honor, especially since it was student generated.

Integrated marketing communications is: Maintaining a clear, consistent and meaningful message across all media platforms. It is a focus on the consumer and making sure the message resonates with consumer needs in a way that is creative and meaningful.

Why this master’s program is exciting: It is aimed at being creative yet practical, combining courses from graphic design, communications and marketing. We offer a course on creativity, which focuses on how to open one’s mind to creative tactics and strategies and helps one work in groups to become more creative through synergy.

I became interested in golf research because: I was in the golf industry for a few years between my master’s degree and Ph.D. and consider myself a golf advocate who is interested in growing the game. It was interesting to me that women had been taking up the game in great numbers but leaving soon after they started. So I began investigating this issue from a gender perspective, understanding how some of the actions of men and the industry affect women at the intrapersonal and institutional levels. A lot of these actions were unintended, so for change to occur, the industry and other golfers needed to be aware of how their marketing and behavior affected women’s participation.

Best lesson from my underdog research:  Being an underdog can actually be a strength. It is not the same thing as the pejorative “loser.” Underdogs realize they might have deficiencies or external disadvantages but can use these as motivation or strengths, or in the case of marketing, as a way to position themselves against the competition. I often say that our IMC program is an underdog because we’re new, but that means we are going to try that much harder for our students to succeed.

Something new that I recently learned: I need not pack as many activities or information in a class session at the graduate level as at the undergraduate level. Graduate students love to talk, and they feed off each other’s points.

I am most curious about: How to make people creative and innovative in their jobs and individually. I have read a lot of books about being creative and am fascinated with the different techniques.

Favorite quote: “You can’t talk it done,” meaning that talk is cheap. My dad used to say this all the time; I’m not even sure if he coined it, but it has motivated me to avoid excuses, to talk and complain less and focus instead on creating solutions and being resourceful. 

Uncovering Maritime Crime

MARITIME PIRACY is not a pervasive threat or a frequent thought for most people living on the East Coast of the United States. For Associate Professor of Criminology Anamika Twyman-Ghoshal, however, piracy on a different east coast—of Africa—forms the foundation of a wide body of research upon which her academic career in maritime crime is built.

A scholar of modern piracy, Twyman-Ghoshal is the creator of the Contemporary Maritime Piracy Database, one of the most comprehensive international piracy databases ever created. By collecting international piracy data over 20 years, from 1991 to 2010, Twyman-Ghoshal identified both a shift in worldwide piracy—from the waters off Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore toward the seas off Somalia—and an increase
in a unique form of piracy crimes in that region.

From there, she homed in on the new piracy hotspot of Somalia to better understand the forces behind the rise of piracy in that region: namely, a civil war and exploitation by the international community of the country’s fish stocks.

So when the international public-interest journalism site ProPublica was looking for a maritime crime expert for an in-depth report on cruise ship safety, Twyman-Ghoshal was a natural fit.

“They were able to tap my knowledge to explain some of the strengths and weaknesses of cruise ship security,” she says. “Combining my criminological research in maritime crime and my background in international law, I could shed light on some of the issues that apply when a ship is in international waters.”

Twyman-Ghoshal, who is quoted in the resulting ProPublica article, sees the act of sharing her research through this and other public venues as a critical, yet often underserved, element of academic life. “Teaching is only one piece, but we also need to be speaking to the wider public to realize the impact we want,” she says. “Helping others understand issues and achieving evidence-based change with those issues—that’s part of our social justice mission.”

To share her knowledge beyond the confines of academia, Twyman-Ghoshal doesn’t stop with the media—she also works with professional organizations and government agencies to educate those who can benefit from her research. In addition to sharing the Contemporary Maritime Piracy Database with the International Chamber of Commerce International Maritime Bureau and the U.S. Department of State, she recently authored a piece for piracy-studies.org, a research portal for maritime security.

That same desire to link academia with the wider world was also behind a Stonehill pilot program created by Twyman-Ghoshal with Associate Professor of Political Science Anna Ohanyan. Called the Learning Inside Out Network (LION), the program linked students with professional organizations internationally, such as the Serbia War Crimes Prosecutor’s Office and the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights. Students in Twyman-Ghoshal’s Global Crime course traveled to Serbia as LION Scholars to intern at related organizations while conducting their own independent research.

“This program is giving students the same contextual knowledge and practical experience they will need to eventually take their own knowledge into the world and effect change,” Twyman-Ghoshal says.

This story, edited for length, originally appeared in Stonehill Faculty Focus 2017.