During the National Business Education Association Annual Convention, Dr. Tamra Connor was named the 2021 Awardee for the John Robert Gregg Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Advancement of Business Education.

The purpose of this award is to stimulate, encourage, and reward outstanding contributions to the advancement of business education.  The recipient of the award is a person who, in the judgment of the Board of Selection, has made an outstanding, meritorious contribution to the development and advancement of business education with one or more specific contributions having had a beneficial effect upon the profession in areas such as teaching, research, service, and administration related to the field.  As stated by Peter Meggison, chair of the Board of Selection, “The John Robert Gregg Award is the most highly coveted award in business education.  It is given to an awardee who has demonstrated a lifetime of achievement in the field.”

This year the committee is proud to recognize the accomplishments of Dr. Tamra Davis Connor, associate dean for Accreditation and Operations, College of Business, and associate professor of Business Education at Illinois State University.

Connor received a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from Oklahoma State University, Stillwater. She continued her education at the same institution where she obtained a Master of Science degree in business education and the Doctor of Philosophy degree in education.

Over her professional career, Connor has delivered over 20 refereed or invited professional presentations. Her long career in higher education is exemplified through presentations and publications in such areas as international business, pedagogy, and business teacher education.

She is extensively published, with over 40 articles and book chapters and three textbooks. Her work has appeared in such publications as Journal for Global Business Education, International Journal for Business Education, Business Teacher Education Journal, and Journal of Research in Business Education, and the NBEA Yearbook.

The purpose of this award is to stimulate, encourage, and reward outstanding contributions to the advancement of business education. 

Her expertise as an educator, researcher, and professional is evidenced in the various awards she has received, including the NBEA Collegiate Teacher of the Year Award, Illinois Business Education Association Writer’s Hall of Fame, Department Chairperson Faculty Scholar, Manahan Family Award for Teaching, the Business Education Research Conference Empirical Research Award, Illinois Business Education Association Collegiate Teacher Outstanding Service Award, Bill Anderson Outstanding Service Award for the International Society for Business Education, and Outstanding Service awards in both the Mountain-Plains and the North Central regions.

Connor has served the business education profession in several leadership roles in both the International Society for Business Education (ISBE) and the Société International pour l’Ensignement Commercial (SIEC) including president. She has the distinction of being one of only three people from the United States to hold that international leadership position during the more than a century history of the association. Connor served as the U.S. vice president to SIEC and as the ISBE director on the NBEA Executive Board among other roles. As editor for the Journal for Global Business Education and the International Journal for Business Education, she advanced the international business education literature. She revitalized the former The Review publication, now the International Journal for Business Education, which became refereed and listed in Cabell’s and indexed in ERIC during her tenure as editor. At the regional level she held various leadership positions for both NCBEA and MPBEA. At the state level she has held a variety of other leadership positions including president for the Oklahoma Business Education Association.

With more than 30 years of teaching experience, Connor has taught at the elementary, secondary, technical college, community college, and university levels. She is a National edTPA Scorer for Business. In her role as co-coordinator of the Business Education program at Illinois State University, she developed a Master of Science Degree in Business Education, three new business education courses, and a general education personal finance online course. She has taught a wide variety of courses including a general management course in English in Poland. Other contributions include supervising and mentoring all student teachers in the Business Education program, advising M.S. in Business Education students, and serving on chesis Committees.

A former student wrote, “Without a doubt, Connor is one of the most dedicated professionals working in the field of business education.”  Another former student shared, “However, what may be most telling of her lifelong contributions to the field, are the many former students of her that walk the halls of K-12 schools today, now as educators engaging their own students in 21st century business and technology.  The authenticity she brought to our classroom discussions was refreshing and helped me further develop an inquiry-based mindset that I use for fostering curiosity, creative, and innovation in my own business classroom.  I am confident that she made me into the teacher I am today.”

In her spare time, Connor is executive officer and owner of a consulting firm, and many have seen her work as a photographer.

In recognition of her many years of distinguished service to business education, the profession proudly honors Connor as the recipient of the 2021 John Robert Gregg Award in Business Education.