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Faculty & Staff Spotlights

Marketing professor combines academics with industry know-how

April 1, 2014

During an accomplished career in the private sector, marketing expert Kim Saxton built a strong reputation for knowledge and skill in her field at major corporations ranging from Walker Information and Eli Lilly and Co., both in Indianapolis, to Xanodyne Pharmaceuticals in Newport, Ky.

Kim Saxton

Kim Saxton

Saxton’s reputation now extends into higher education, where her real-world experience benefits the IU Kelley School of Business students she teaches. That expertise earned Saxton a 2014 President’s Award for Distinguished Teaching.

The Kelley School veteran earned a bachelor's degree in behavioral studies from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sloan School of Business in 1984, as well as an MBA and a Ph.D. in Marketing from Kelley in 1996.

After completing her Ph.D., Saxton was a vice president for Walker Information, a manager for Eli Lilly and an executive director for Xanodyne. Those experiences helped to shape her passion for data-driven decision-making that is paramount to the art and science of marketing. She joined Kelley in 2004 as a visiting clinical assistant professor of marketing, started a tenure track position in 2005, became a clinical assistant professor in 2007 and was promoted to clinical associate professor of marketing in 2012.

According to Philip L. Cochran, Kelley’s executive associate dean of Indianapolis operations and the Thomas W. Binford Chair in Corporate Citizenship, Saxton has expanded horizons for students and fellow faculty while working at Kelley.

Cochran praised Saxton for her leadership role in Kelley, citing her commitment to integrate technology in the classroom and to incorporate service and experiential learning in her courses, which has helped Kelley become a campus leader in IUPUI’s RISE (research, international, service learning and experiential learning) initiative.

On the growing use of technology, Saxton was cited for her development of online courses and her willingness to embrace the growing use of eTextbooks, a trend which promises to help reshape college education. Saxton will be a presenter for a Webinar on “Best Practices in eText Use” for IU.

Kenneth A. Carow, Kelley’s associate dean for Indianapolis research and programs, said Saxton’s approach to teaching is having an impact on her students, her school and her profession.

“Saxton is an amazing teacher who has demonstrated her skills and abilities in a wide variety of venues,” said Carow. He has been impressed with Saxton’s ability to connect service learning to Kelley’s curriculum, which he said “enhances the student experience while promoting civic engagement beyond the university.”

Her students have offered marketing services to a number of local non-profit organizations, including Special Olympics, Riley Children’s Foundation Dance Marathon and Little Red Door Cancer Agency.

Saxton’s students also have been involved with the Central Indiana Homeward Bound project; those ties gave the students an inside look at the impact of homelessness and challenged them to use their skills and knowledge to make a difference. The students responded by developing a comprehensive, strategic marketing plan to raise awareness about and funds for a Homeward Bound walk, which supported local agencies that provide affordable housing, shelter and supportive services to end the cycle of homelessness. The event raised $40,000 in much-needed donations.

Saxton’s view of higher education and learning has changed during her IUPUI career.

“When I first began teaching, I mistakenly thought that as the teacher I was the expert who doled out content the students were obliged to master, demonstrated by passing my tests,” she said.

“Over the past 10 years, I have discovered that my job as a teacher really entails designing activities, exercises, projects and exams that allow students to recognize what they’ve mastered through the process of taking my class,” Saxton said.

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