James F. Fairbank, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Management, MBA/iMBA/oMBA Programs
Associate Professor of Management, Business and Management
Office Phone: 814-898-6232
Office Location: 294 Burke
Mailing Address:
ERIE, PA 16563

Bottom Fields


Ph.D. in Management and Organization (Penn State); MS in Systems Management (U. of Southern California); BS (U.S. Naval Academy); 12 years on faculty at Penn State Erie, 4 years at West Virginia U., 8 years in industry, 7 years as a naval officer in various leadership positions.

Teaching expertise includes strategic management, corporate innovation, and entrepreneurship. Research interests include the strategic use of information technology, managing innovation for competitive advantage, and exploring organizational issues that impede performance. Dr. Fairbank was an officer in the U.S. Navy and has industry experience as a manager in large and small companies.


  • Golden Key National Honor Society Golden Apple Award for Outstanding Teaching, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV , 2000
  • West Virginia University College of Business and Economics Outstanding Teaching Award, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV, 2000
  • Fred Brand Jr. Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Award, Pennsylvania State University, Smeal College of Business Administration, University Park, PA, 1997
  • Graduate Assistant Award for Outstanding Teaching, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, 1996

Teaching Philosophy

My philosophy is centered on learning rather than teaching. Learning is a process that is best facilitated by interaction and collaboration. As a teacher, I strive to be the catalyst for that process. I do so by encouraging my students to think creatively while simultaneously challenging them to think critically. A key to succeeding as a facilitator is one's enthusiasm; after all, learning should be fun as well as intellectually fulfilling.

Learning is an active process - not a spectator sport. To stimulate active learning, I employ a variety of techniques, including group projects, case discussions, and student presentations. Those techniques, coupled with constructive feedback, are the foundation upon which I believe students develop and refine the analytical, communication, and interpersonal skills that are so important to their success.

I demand a lot from my students. However, by requiring them to work hard, I must work hard myself. That is the expectation that comes with the profession of teaching. Commitment is a two-way street, and by requiring my students to be committed, I sign the same oath.

Courses Taught

  • iMBA 560: Corporate Innovative Strategies
  • iMBA 573: Strategic Planning
  • B ADM 512: Managing Effective Organizations 
  • B ADM 520: Entrepreneurial Ventures
  • B ADM 525: Innovation Management
  • MGMT 301 (formerly MANGT 300): Behavioral Concepts for Management
  • MGMT 471W (formerly MANGT 470W): Strategic Management and Business Policy
  • MANGT 545: Entrepreneurial Ventures



  • Business Development Corporation of the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia, Weirton, WV, 2001.
  • West Virginia 4-H, Jackson's Mills, WV, 2000.
  • Pennsylvania Rural Water Association, 1995.

Service to Public and Private Organizations

  • Provided management training courses, City of Erie PA, June 2007.
  • Speech judge, U.S. Academic Decathlon of Pennsylvania Regional Competition, Erie PA, 2003.
  • Academic Sports League, School District of the City of Erie, Erie PA:
    • Judge, Fall, 2006.
    • Interview judge, January 2003.
    • Speech judge, December 2002.
    • Interview judge, November 2002.

Participation in Seminars and Workshops

  • OMT Teaching Roundtables. Participant. OMT Division New Faculty and Graduate Student Professional Development Seminar, Academy of Management, annual meeting, Montreal QUE, August 2010; Chicago IL, August 2009.
  • Presenter. MBA Orientation, Black School of Business, Penn State Erie, Erie PA:
    • MBA Level Papers and Presentations. January 2009; August 2008; August 2007. 
    • A Review of Faculty Expectations for MBA Students. With P. Thoms, January 2007; August 2006.
  • Management Topics and Principles. Presenter. First-year Seminar, Penn State Erie, Erie PA, 2006.
  • Creativity. Session Chair. Academy of Management Technology and Innovation Management Division, annual meeting, Honolulu HI, August 2005.
  • Obtaining, Integrating, and Responding to Student Feedback of your Teaching. Presenter, College Teaching Workshop, Penn State Erie, Erie PA, October 2004.
  • Teaching Workshop for New Faculty. Presenter, Penn State Erie, Erie PA, August 2005; August 2004.
  • Cognitive Isomorphism in Interorganizational Emulation Networks: An Empirical Examination of Image and Identity in Academia. Invited presentation by G. Labianca (co-authors D. A. Gioia and J. B. Thomas). Conference on Cognitive Approaches to Work Behavior, Penn State University, University Park PA, April 1996.
  • Technology and Innovation Management Division. Session Chair. Academy of Management, annual meeting, Cincinnati OH, August 1996.

Membership in Professional Societies

  • Beta Gamma Sigma Honor Society, 2001-.
  • Academy of Management, 1993-.
  • Business Policy and Strategy, 1993-.
  • Entrepreneurship, 1999-.
  • Technology and Innovation Management, 1993-.

Speaking Engagements

  • Institute of Electrical and Ectronics Engineers, Inc. (IEEE) - Erie Section, Erie PA:
    • Building Effective Teams: The Advantages and Challenges of Diversity, May 2007.
    • Leaders, not Managers, May 2005.
    • Essentials of a Business Plan, May 2003.
  • Business Plan Development. Small Product Realization Seminar, Penn State Erie, Erie PA, November 2003; January 2003.

Service to the University

  • Chair, Penn State Behrend Academic Integrity Committee (ongoing)
  • Director, RFID Center of Excellence, Black School of Business, Penn State Erie, Erie PA, 2009-10.
Research Interests
The strategic use of information and technology for competitive advantage, and aligning organizational structure to maximize efficiency and effectiveness