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Meet Your Faculty – Dr. Robert E. Boostrom, Jr.

Department: Marketing

What was your favorite subject in school?

Although I like a lot of different topics in marketing, my favorite would have to be consumer behavior. People are interesting and understanding how we view the world and make everyday decisions is fascinating to me. Consumer behavior is the area of marketing study where sociological and psychological theories are essential. As someone with an MA in sociology and a PhD in marketing, it presents the best research opportunities for me.

What was your least favorite subject in school?

My least favorite would have to be accounting. I appreciate what they do, and I’m glad they are around to do it. That means I don’t have to do it. (Three cheers for the division of labor!)

What were you doing before you came to Whitewater?

I was in a PhD program at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Prior to that I spent over a decade in industry. I started in customer service with Sprint, then did database marketing with them in both their local and mobile divisions. I then moved on to Crate & Barrel to do database marketing there and work with their consumer data processes.

What made you want to teach?

I started in academia because I kind of fell in love with some of the research I read about consumer behavior while I was working on my MA in sociology. I started that degree to get a different perspective on segmentation, but I ended up getting a different perspective on everything related to consumers, like why we buy things and how culture relates to consumer activity.

What research are you currently working on?

I’ve got some work that I’ve done with consumer communities in the replica watch market that I’m pretty excited about. We look at community involvement from a consumer information processing perspective and combine the consumer community literature with the heuristics literature. We’re hoping that will publish soon.

Additionally, I’ve got some data from my dissertation related to online retail and measuring consumer attitudes toward websites that I am hoping will come out in the next year or so.

There’s a bunch of other stuff that’s at various stages. For instance, I’m also in the early stages of developing some research ideas with Dr. Akiko Yoshida in the Sociology department. We’re looking at a few research ideas related to consumer socialization. Her specialization is family studies and consumer socialization is all about how kids learn to become adult consumers, so we think there may be some very interesting possibilities.

What do you like to do outside of the College of Business & Economics?

I like to rock! I’m in a band with several members of the UW-Whitewater Sociology department called Titan Fun Key. I play guitar. We do a lot of ‘70’s oriented blues-rock stuff and a few original songs. We actually won the UW-Whitewater Battle of the Bands in March, 2012. It was a heck of a lot of fun.

What is something that students would be surprised to learn about you?

I think some students are still surprised by the band thing, but word is starting to get out about that. I guess the other thing that might surprise them is that my wife and I have a pet rabbit and her name is Vito. Yes, her.

What is something about teaching that was unexpected when you first began?

You learn a lot by teaching. I had long thought that professors just knew all of the stuff about their topics and teaching the class was a matter of presenting the knowledge. There’s more to it. Teaching is really a lifelong commitment to learning. You learn about your topic in ways you might not have expected, and you learn about people. It’s a pretty amazing career.

About Jolene Check

Marketing Specialist for the College of Business and Economics.
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