CORVALLIS, Ore. - Oregon State University faculty member John Becker-Blease, an expert on gender equality and social justice in the workplace, has been named the 2011 Aspen Institute Faculty Pioneer in the Rising Star category.

Becker-Blease, an assistant professor of finance in the College of Business at OSU, will be honored at an event in New York City on Oct. 21. He is the first professor in Oregon to be honored with this award.

Named "the Oscars of the business school world" by the Financial Times, the Aspen Institute's Faculty Pioneer Awards celebrate educators who have demonstrated leadership and risk-taking in integrating social and environmental issues into academic research, educational programs and business practice.

"I am fortunate to be a part of OSU's College of Business, where pioneering research into sustainable business practices and the economic importance of corporate social behavior are so highly valued and thoroughly integrated into our MBA curriculum," Becker-Blease said.

Nominations are open to all faculty members at any institution worldwide offering a graduate management degree. Becker-Blease was picked out of a field of 84 nominees from around the world.

Becker-Blease's research has examined gender differences in executive dismissals at large public corporations and the media coverage surrounding these dismissals. He has also co-authored award-winning research into women entrepreneurs' access to early-stage capital and the role gender diversity plays in investment decisions of venture capital groups.

Becker-Blease has also developed an influential curriculum that infuses social responsibility into a traditional MBA corporate finance course.

"The research is pretty clear that being a good corporate citizen is not just good for stakeholders, but is typically good for the company's bottom line as well," Becker-Blease said. "We take this a step further and show students where and how to find these valuable opportunities."

Becker-Blease holds a Ph.D. in finance from the University of Oregon and degrees in history from the University of New Hampshire and in finance and insurance from the University of Florida.

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Jenn Casey, 541-737-0695