By Jeff Murphy, April 5, 2019
WARRENSBURG, MO – A University of Central Missouri educator who consistently demonstrates his commitment and dedication to excellence in teaching, research and service, is receiving the highest honor presented to a faculty member. A 26-year faculty member in the Harmon College of Business and Professional Studies, Charles Schwepker, Jr., Ph.D., will receive the Byler Distinguished Faculty Award during a reception from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Thursday, April 18, in Elliott Union Room 236.
The Office of the Provost-Chief Learning Officer is hosting the award ceremony. As recipient of the Byler Distinguished Faculty Award, Schwepker also will be honored during annual spring commencement exercises Friday and Saturday, May 10-11 in the Multipurpose Building. Both the Byler Distinguished Faculty Award reception and spring commencement are open to the public.
The Byler Distinguished Faculty Award is presented each spring in honor of its namesake, William H. Byler, an inventor, author and teacher who graduated from UCM in 1927 with a major in chemistry and physics. He established an endowment fund to provide annual recognition for distinguished faculty performance, evidenced by teaching, scholarly or creative activity and professional-related service.
“I am humbled and honored to receive such a prestigious award. This would not have been possible without the many great mentors and colleagues who’ve helped shape my career over the years,” Schwepker said. “I owe a debt of gratitude to my former department chair, Dr. Larry Haase, who believed in me enough to hire me, put me in a position to succeed, and provided guidance to me throughout my career. I’m truly blessed and thankful to have so many caring individuals in my life.”
In considering individuals for the Byler Award, the award selection committee received a number of letters of support for various candidates. Individuals who nominated Schwepker consistently cited him as a faculty member who personifies the characteristics required to receive the award. He is described as a consummate professional who has unwavering dedication to students and faculty, compassionate, respectful and genuine in his dealings with others.
“I’ve had the unique opportunity to work with Charlie as his student, competitor, and now as a fellow faculty member,” wrote Tyer Hirlinger, assistant professor of marketing. “As his student and sales competitor, Charlie put forth an unprecedented level of passion and dedication in the classroom while advising student organizations and coaching competitions. As his current colleague, he not only continues to inspire students in the classroom, but continually acts with integrity and positivity in all that he does.”
Hirlinger noted that during the summer 2018, Schwepker offered him his first opportunity to co-author a publication. He said it was a gesture of selflessness that proved his colleague’s “quality of character and true dedication to developing and encouraging those around him.”
Schwepker joined the UCM business faculty in 1992. Throughout his tenure, he has taught advanced professional sales, sales management, international marketing, integrated marketing communication, and principles of marketing. He has an open door policy to students and takes an interactive, enthusiastic, and holistic approach to the learning process, often going above and beyond his work in the classroom to help develop each student as a person and prepare them to become responsible, lifelong learners. Student presentations, debates, book reviews, role play simulations, various experiential learning projects, service learning projects and other techniques are employed by Schwepker to help students bridge the gap between theoretical concepts and managerial applications.
The longtime educator takes advantage of opportunities to interact with and advise students. This includes sponsoring several MBA special projects and honor student projects over the years. He also served for 20 years as campus coordinator of an international business study tour program sponsored by Southeast Missouri State University in cooperation with UCM and several other universities. Additionally, Schwepker has been instrumental in co-coaching UCM’s professional sales students for 12 years, helping them prepare for competition against some of the nation’s top college teams. He accompanies students to the American Marketing Association Conference annually, where students have won regional “Outstanding AMA Chapter Awards” on several occasions. Under his tutelage, UCM has been honored a number of times for having the “most outstanding marketing student.”
In 2007, Schwepker became the first person to be selected for the Mike and Patti Davidson Distinguished Marketing Professorship, the first endowed professorship at UCM. This award is now known as the Rand and Kelly Harbert Distinguished Marketing Professorship, a title he holds today. This professorship is connected to UCM alumni who have had close ties to State Farm Insurance Company. Contributing to this strong relationship, Schwepker was a founder and has served for 10 years as director of the prestigious State Farm Marketing and Sales Competition, which annually brings students from schools across the United States to UCM.
A prolific researcher, Schwepker has authored or co-authored more than 45 journal articles and numerous national and regional proceedings. His research has led to the publication of several textbooks, including serving as co-author of “Sales Management: Analysis and Decision Making,” which is in its 10th edition, and the book, “SELL,” now in its sixth edition.
Among Schwepker’s many personal honors, he received the Hormel Teaching Excellence Award and the UCM Alumni Foundation Harmon College of Business Administration Distinguished Professor Award, just to name a few.