Professor Suprateek Sarker Wins 2023 Whit Broome Award

What seems to best characterize Sarker’s commitment to his profession is an incomparable generosity for sharing his wisdom and experiences with students, junior scholars, and colleagues.

Suprateek Sarker is a Rolls-Royce Commonwealth Commerce Professor, specializing in information technology.

Suprateek Sarker is a Rolls-Royce Commonwealth Commerce Professor, specializing in information technology.

For his exceptional dedication and service to others, Professor Suprateek Sarker was recently chosen to receive McIntire’s 2023 Whit Broome Faculty Service Award. A beloved and respected presence at the Commerce School, Sarker, the Rolls-Royce Commonwealth Eminent Professor of Commerce, has long been a helpful and positive figure for students and faculty on Grounds and widely recognized throughout academia for his leadership and many important contributions to the information technology field.

The award, endowed by Commerce Professor Emeritus Whit Broome and first conferred in 2021, acknowledges faculty for exemplary community and professional service. Recipients are selected by the Dean’s Office in coordination with the School’s Area Coordinators. Sarker is the third faculty member to receive the award.

Supremely Impactful in IS

Professor Ryan Wright says that Sarker has garnered a reputation both inside and outside of the McIntire School for providing a particularly high-impact level of service through many commitments to the IT discipline. His responsibilities as President for the Association for Information Systems, serving as Editor-in-Chief to Information Systems Research, one of the area’s top journals, and co-chairing the annual international conference, represent only a fraction of his contributions.

“For many professors, this service would be accomplished over a career; for Supra it is called 2023,” Wright says. “What is most impressive is that he is heavily involved in high-level service at UVA as well. He is truly exceptional.”

Professor Steven L. Johnson also finds the global scope and impact of Sarker’s service to the academic field of information systems (IS)—serving in three of the profession’s highest-profile and most impactful professional service roles—to be truly impressive. “Most people would consider any one of these roles as a major career accomplishment. To fulfill all three at the same time is unprecedented.”

Professor Jingjing Li says that Sarker’s work has profoundly impacted those he serves. “His leadership style features ‘a servant’s heart,’ which is distinguished by uncommon modesty and generosity towards others,” she says, noting his genuine care for members of the IS community regardless of background or the research paradigm they employ.

“As a qualitative researcher, he understands and appreciates other research genres and has even taken the initiative to enhance his understanding of technical research by taking analytics and machine learning courses. This level of commitment has allowed him to bring researchers of all paradigms together under a socio-technical perspective to advance the IS discipline,” Li says.

A Champion of Scholars

Outside of the classroom, Sarker has represented McIntire and UVA in the various universities he has visited, and both in doing so and in his contributions to the field of study, he modestly voices his hope that he has contributed favorably to McIntire’s reputation within the IS discipline and at universities he has visited.

“I also hope that I am able to bring back valuable stories and lessons from different universities about recruitment, research, and curriculum and share them among my colleagues,” he adds. “I must say that many of these lessons do enter the classroom, and I hope this enriches the interactions I have with McIntire students.”

Professor Peter Gray, who recognized Sarker’s extraordinary “selfless dedication” to his area of expertise, also points out its beneficial impacts on McIntire faculty and other Information Systems faculty worldwide: “In everything he does, you can see that his goal is to nurture growth and evolution in our field in ways that honor and respect the diverse perspectives that information technology scholars bring from all over the world. And because he has taken on so many high-profile roles, his actions have real leverage and impact the lives of many of us in very positive ways.”

In another vital act of service, he has served as a mentor to junior faculty in the Information Technology & Innovation area of the School. Sarker says those he’s worked with are “exceptionally competent and collegial,” adding “how proud of them” he is as he explains that, in the moments they have needed advice, he has done his best to assist them in any way he can. “I have also benefited from talking to them about areas that they have specific expertise; in that sense, it has not been a one-sided mentoring process but a truly bi-directional learning process,” Sarker insists.

Reflecting on Rewarding Responsibilities

There is a great deal that resonates with Sarker about his many experiences that has made him very grateful to have the opportunities to serve in these roles.

“As President of the Association for Information Systems (AIS), I have, with other officers, contributed to making our association and its conferences more global and yet more responsive to local needs of members who come from over 100 countries,” he says, detailing how he and his colleagues have initiated many programs, including the Digital Academy, which enables faculty members to use their expertise to train faculty members around the globe. “We have launched efforts to reflect on and to enhance sustainability with Information Systems and in all AIS activities We have also sought to make the AIS conferences, journals, and recognition programs more inclusive, and now have a new Vice President position in DEI,” he says.

Regarding his work as the Editor-in-Chief of what is considered one of the two leading journals of the discipline, he aims to “publish innovative, rigorous, and thought-provoking research, from across the globe and from different research traditions, that has significant implications for research, practice, and policy.” And as a member of the University ARPT Committee, Sarker says that under the leadership of the Provost and Vice Provost, he strives with his colleagues serving on the committee to simultaneously ensure excellence and fairness when assessing a case.

What seems to best characterize Sarker’s commitment to his profession and to those who join him to study and learn it is, according to Li, an incomparable generosity for sharing his wisdom and experiences with students, junior scholars, and colleagues.

“It is not uncommon to see him knock on the doors of colleagues’ offices, check up on them, and share books and references. It is also not surprising to see him interacting with doctoral students at conferences and offering constructive feedback on their presentations,” she recalls, while crediting him for chairing numerous workshops to support doctoral students and junior scholars to advance their careers. Says Li, “Overall, Professor Sarker’s dedication, expertise, and impact in his field make him a highly deserving recipient of the Whit Broome Award.”

Find out about all the exciting things happening in the McIntire community. Visit our news page for the latest updates.

More News