Faculty & Instructors

For the Master of Management in Artificial Intelligence, Smith School of Business has lined up an impressive group of faculty and instructors whose expertise, experience and teaching abilities will ensure an extraordinary student experience.

Faculty are drawn from leading experts and experienced teachers at Smith School of Business plus adjunct faculty from the Vector Institute for Artificial Intelligence, a hub of outstanding global talent focused on research excellence in deep learning and machine learning.

Faculty and instructors subject to change.

Technical Expertise

Dr. Ceren Kolsarici is an Associate Professor, Ian R. Friendly Fellow, Scotiabank Scholar and a member of Scotiabank Center for Customer Analytics at the Smith School of Business.

Dr. Kolsarici specializes in Big Data and analytics applications on domains including advertising, mobile and digital marketing, diffusion of new products, pharmaceuticals and financial sector. Her current projects focus on design and evaluation of integrated marketing communications campaigns, media selection and scheduling, budgeting and development of advertising creative strategies. She develops new models and methods to improve managerial decisions and marketing applications in practice, by helping managers better understand how marketing affects firm performance and designing marketing programs that maximize profitability. Dr. Kolsarici's research has been published in leading journals such as Management Science, Journal of Marketing Research, and International Journal of Research in Marketing. She has been invited to present her work at institutions such as UC Davis, Northwestern University, Erasmus University, Tilburg University, Koc University as well as national and international conferences in Australia, Belgium, US, the Netherlands, Germany, Portugal and Turkey.

Ceren has received several awards and grants for her scholarly contributions including the QSB New Researcher Achievement Award, MSI's Top Young Scholar Nomination, SSHRC, FQRSC and other external funds, American Marketing Association-Sheth Consortium Fellowship, as well as nominations for national (SSHRC) and provincial (ADESAQ) doctoral dissertation awards. She holds a Ph.D. in Marketing (2009) from McGill University a B.Sc. in Industrial Engineering (2002) from Middle East Technical University, and an MBA (2004) from Bilkent University. Dr. Kolsarici teaches Advertising, Social Media and Marketing Analytics in Commerce, MBA, MMA and Ph.D. programs. She also continues to do consulting and executive training for various companies in Canada and internationally.

Dr. Nediak is interested in complex Management Science, Operations Research and data analytic problems with a significant computational component. The techniques employed in his research range from integer and nonlinear optimization to control theory and stochastic simulation. His current research focuses on new models in Revenue Management and Dynamic Pricing.

Dr. Nediak has undergraduate and M.Sc. degrees from the Department of Management and Applied Mathematics, Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, Russia. He has received his PhD in Operations Research at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.

Dr. Shai is one of Canada’s most accomplished data scientists. With extensive knowledge in artificial intelligence, machine learning, deep learning, and data mining, he brings over a decade of academic and industry experience in genomics, information retrieval, recommendation systems, and analytics.

Dr. Shai has designed and implemented predictive algorithms for web-based content aggregation services, optimized collaborative filtering approaches for recommendations engines, and built deep networks for predicting the impact of scientific publications.

He has held leadership positions at Upsight, Meta, and CZI and is currently a director at Deloitte Canada, bringing his AI expertise to a wider market. He holds a PhD in Computer Engineering, with focus on Machine learning and Computational Biology from the University of Toronto.

Dr. Stephen W. Thomas is an adjunct faculty member at the Smith School of Business at Queen’s University in Kingston, ON, Canada. He is also the Director of the Master of Management Analytics programs, and the Executive Director of the Master of Management in Artificial Intelligence program. He was named the Professor of the Year in the MMA program in 2017 and 2018.

Dr. Thomas holds PhD, MSc, and BSc degrees in Computer Science. His main interests are databases, data analytics, and natural language processing. His research has been published in IEEE Transactions on Knowledge and Data Engineering, IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering, Empirical Software Engineering, and others. He is a recipient of the Scotiabank Scholar research grant.

Dr. Thomas previously ran a tech startup in the world of big data. He consults with several large companies in the areas of big data, text analytics, and AI. He previously held an industrial data analytics position at Raytheon in Tucson, AZ.

Dr. Thomas teaches several courses on natural language processing, machine learning, database design, big data, and mathematical analysis in Smith’s Commerce and MMA, and MMAI programs. He serves on the MMA advisory board.

Matthew Thompson's research is in real options theory and applications in energy markets. Matthew’s work has gained significant national and international recognition from the operations research community (winner of the best student paper award of the Canadian Operational Research Society and finalist in the prestigious George B. Dantzig Dissertation Award of INFORMS). His work has appeared in Operations Research and Naval Research Logistics. Matt spent time as a risk management consultant for a power generation firm, and was the Associate Director of Financial Engineering at a major Canadian Investment Bank, where he developed mathematical models for the pricing, hedging and trading of financial derivatives.

Dr. Valenzano is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science at Ryerson University. His research focuses on understanding different sequential decision-making methods, such as those used in reinforcement learning, automated planning, heuristic search, and game-playing systems.

He holds a PhD in Computing Science from the University of Alberta, and was also a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Toronto. He also has experience developing sequential decision-making methods for financial methods, which he did while working as an Applied Research Scientist at Element AI.

Management Expertise

A former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the YMCA of Kingston, Ontario (1995 to 2008), Mr. Bissonette began teaching at Smith in 2000. Possessing both private and public sector experience, Mr. Bissonette has considerable managerial expertise at both the middle management and upper management levels and has been involved in a number of turnaround initiatives. Possessing over 20+ years of teaching experience at both the university and college levels, Mr. Bissonette is also a successful entrepreneur, operating his own employee benefit consulting business. Mr. Bissonette holds an MBA from Clarkson University and a Bachelor of Administration from the State University of New York at Plattsburgh. A published author, Mr. Bissonette’s textbook, Business: Strategy, Development, Application, McGraw-Hill Ryerson Publisher, has been adopted (all or in part) by a number of universities and colleges across Canada. Mr. Bissonette also oversaw the creation of the Smith School of Business’ “Living Case” unit and has personally written and been actively involved in a number of cases associated with this innovative initiative.

Tina Dacin is the Stephen J.R. Smith Chair of Strategy and Organizational Behavior at Smith School of Business, Queen's University, Canada. She is also Director of the Smith School of Business Centre for Social Impact. She was a member of the University Senate at Queen's University and Former Chair of the Principal's Innovation Fund Committee.  Professor Dacin's research interests include cultural heritage and traditions, social innovation/entrepreneurship, and strategic alliances.  Her work has been published in leading management journals including the Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Review, Accounting, Organizations, and Society, Journal of Business Ethics, Journal of Management, Journal of World Business, Organization Science, and the Strategic Management Journal. She has also served as Senior/Consulting Editor for Organization Science, Journal of International Business Studies, Journal of Management Inquiry. She has previously served for multiple terms on the Editorial Review Boards of the Academy of Management Journal, the Academy of Management Review, the Journal of International Business Studies, Strategic Organization and Strategic Management Journal.

Professor Dacin teaches courses in leadership, change, and strategy. Professor Dacin advises and speaks to major corporations in the airline, biotechnology, defense, energy, financial services, healthcare, and telecommunications sectors as well as a number of public sector and non-profit organizations. She currently sits on the boards of the Kingston Community Foundation and GRLI, a global advocacy organization for promoting responsible leadership in business schools and organizations. Professor Dacin has received several awards and recognition for research and teaching. Most recently, she was inducted as a Visiting Fellow into Sidney Sussex College at the University of Cambridge, UK and is a Visiting Fellow of the Judge Business School. She has also been a Visiting Professor for several years at the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University and the Indian School of Business in Hyderabad, India.

Dr. Jenkin worked in the IT and software industry for ten years in project management and consulting roles. Her experience spans a broad range of organizations including Accenture, Dell and new venture Trilogy Software, and a diverse set of industries including telecom, high-tech, financial services, and commodity chemicals.

Her research explores innovation and learning in the areas of environmental sustainability and IT (green IT), project management, project alignment, and data mining. She has published in a variety of top journals. Dr. Jenkin received her PhD in Management Information Systems.

Mr. Kearns has more than 20 years of experience leading successful startup, turnaround and high-growth business units at premier global firms. He has broad experience in data analytics, technology, management and operations. Known for quickly repositioning businesses, driving revenue and profit growth, effective communications, and client focus, his leadership style is famous for being both strategic and operational. His specialties are risk management, global growth and innovation.

Elspeth Murray has served as the Associate Dean - MBA and Masters Programs since 2012, and has been a professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship at Smith School of Business since 1996. She also holds the CIBC Fellowship in Entrepreneurship, and founded Queen's Centre for Business Venturing. Prior to joining Queen's, she worked in industry for 7 years for several firms including IBM, and Canadian Tire. As an integral part of her work in the strategy and new venture fields, Dr. Murray specializes in the management of change. In 2002, she co-authored a best-selling book, Fast Forward: Organizational Change in 100 Days, Oxford University Press, with Dr. Peter Richardson. She has recently co-developed (with Dr. David Saunders) the Analytics Climate Assessment Tool (ACAT), which is used to assess organizations technological capacity, skill sets, and analytics culture. Current research is focused on best practices in leading and managing change to create an analytics culture.

Dr. Murray teaches on many Smith MBA and Executive Education programs, and consults widely with a diversity of firms including BMW, Detour Gold, Wawanesa Insurance, Versacold Logistics and the Auditor General for Canada. She serves as a Director for several firms and is an advisor to several start-ups and CEO's. Dr. Murray received an undergraduate degree in computer science and mathematics, and an MBA, both from Queen's University. Her doctorate in Strategy and Management Information Systems was completed at the Richard Ivey School of Business.

Dr. Shawna O’Grady is an Associate Professor of Management at Smith School of Business in Kingston. She is an authority on the strategic and cross-cultural issues involved in doing business in the United States and Mexico. Dr. O’Grady has been widely quoted in the media on the issues of cross-border retailing, and has addressed a number of industry and academic audiences around the world. She co-authored a best selling book called Border Crossings: Doing Business in the U.S. which was a finalist for the National Business Book Award, sponsored by Coopers & Lybrand and The Financial Times. This book has received outstanding reviews in the media for five years. She has written numerous articles on cross-border retailing, which have appeared in top-level national and international journals such as the Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, the Journal of International Business, and Business Quarterly. She is also an experienced team facilitator, and serves as Director of Team Facilitation with the Queen’s Executive MBA program. Dr. O’Grady consults to a wide variety of clients in the private and public sectors in the areas of team building, human resource management, leading change, thinking and problem solving styles, and international business. She earned her B. Comm. and Master of Industrial Relations (MIR) at Queen’s University and her Ph.D. in Business at the University of Western Ontario.

David Saunders has served as Dean of Smith School of Business since July 2003. Under his strategic leadership the School has experienced dramatic growth, including the addition of new and innovative MBA, professional Masters and executive education programs. To keep pace with this growth, he oversaw significant expansions of the school’s Toronto and Kingston campuses, and the naming of the Smith School of Business after a $50 million gift from Stephen J.R. Smith.

In support of Smith's mission to develop outstanding leaders with a global perspective, Dr. Saunders has internationalized the School, adding 80 strategic partnerships around the globe. Under his leadership Smith School of Business forged exclusive relationships with IBM to create The Cube, Canada’s first demonstration centre for IBM Watson and Bluemix technologies, and with the Canadian Olympic Committee, to provide business education to Canadian Olympic athletes and national sports federations.

Dr. Saunders (with Dr. Elspeth Murray) has developed the Analytics Climate Assessment Tool (ACAT), which is used to assess organizations technological capacity, skill sets, and analytics culture to compete effectively with business analytics in the era of Big Data. ACAT guides the creation of tailored executive education programs to enhance organizations analytics culture, strategy, and leadership.

In addition to teaching numerous executive education programs, he has consulted to many diverse organizations throughout his career, including Bantrel; Oerlikon Aerospace Hydro-Québec; Teleglobe Canada; Lantic Sugar; Computer Imaging and Graphics; International Aviation Management Training Institute (IAMTI); Institute of Canadian Bankers (ICB); and Royal Victoria Hospital.

Dr. Saunders has a rich background as a researcher, and is co-author of the world's three largest selling negotiation textbooks, among numerous other books and papers. He earned a PhD in social psychology from Western University in Canada.

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