Upon the recommendation of the Faculty Awards Committee, I am pleased to announce that Professor Rajnandini ‘Raj' Pillai of the College of Business Administration is the recipient of the 2010-2011 Harry E. Brakebill Distinguished Professor Award. The Faculty Awards Committee concluded, and I concur, that Dr. Pillai's exemplary teaching, research, and service record honor this award. We are privileged to have excellent faculty at Cal State San Marcos and Dr. Pillai is one of our very best who exemplifies CSUSM excellence.
Dr. Pillai's passion for teaching is evident. She has taught in both the upper division and the MBA programs, teaching subjects such as international business, organizational behavior, business ethics and other management courses as well as leadership. In all of the courses she teaches, Dr. Pillai has received outstanding course evaluations from her students. Additionally, Dr. Pillai has been a faculty advisor to over 25 Senior Experience teams.
A former student wrote of Dr. Pillai, "Raj encourages her students to go beyond the traditional classroom requirements of research, reading, writing, and discussion and encourages them to fully enthrall themselves into the curriculum and the theories being discussed. Raj exudes passion for her area of expertise and it is made evident in her teaching style, expression and attention to individual student differences and needs."
Dr. Pillai is a founder and serves as the executive director of the Center for Leadership Innovation and Mentorship Building (CLIMB) at CSUSM. She also co-created the Executive Mentoring Program, where students are paired with senior executives, and she is heavily involved with the CoBA Speaker Series and Leadership Workshops. As co-teacher of "In the Executive's Chair," one of the most popular classes offered by CoBA, Dr. Pillai brings at least ten high-level executives to campus each semester to speak to students about their careers, their companies, and the critical business decisions they commonly face.
Dr. Pillai's record of scholarship is exemplary. She has authored and co-authored three books, four book chapters, twenty refereed journal publications, four non-refereed publications such as study guides, and twelve refereed proceeding publications. She has made over forty presentations at academic conferences around the world and is a frequent speaker/facilitator on leadership for business groups, chambers of commerce, and other non-profit organizations, bringing respected visibility to the University and CoBA.
In 2008, Dr. Pillai was presented with the President's Award for Scholarship and Creative Activity in recognition of her outstanding scholarship and creative activity among CSUSM faculty. Over the years, Dr. Pillai has served on a variety of committees and task forces at CSUSM-too many to list here. As part of her service to her profession, she regularly reviews submissions for regional and national Academy of Management conferences. She serves on the Academy of Management Teaching Themes Committee, which is tasked with the responsibility of coordinating teaching workshops at the national conference. This conference is usually attended by 10,000 management scholars and practitioners from around the world.
One of Dr. Pillai's colleagues in the College of Business wrote, "Raj is a rare faculty member who not only meets but far exceeds the standards in the areas of teaching, research, and service. She does not limit herself to one or two areas. Any organization with which she is associated is extremely fortunate."
I wholeheartedly agree. Dr. Pillai is an extremely effective and innovative teacher as well as a caring and dedicated mentor and advisor. Her carefully planned class sessions coupled with the learning opportunities she facilitates beyond the classroom have enhanced the educational experience of thousands of CSUSM students and alumni. She demonstrates what we value most at our university - high-quality teaching, learning and service.
Therefore, it is with great pleasure that I announce Dr. Pillai as my selection for this prestigious award. Please join me in congratulating her.