Focus on Faculty
Maric Boudreau, associate professor and head of the management information systems department in the Terry College of Business, wants her students to understand how data can transform businesses and help promote sustainability.
Where did you earn degrees and what are your current responsibilities at UGA?
I earned my undergraduate and MBA degrees at Laval University in Québec, a DESS (the equivalent of a master’s degree) at l’École Supérieure des Affaires de Grenoble in France and Ph.D. in computer information systems at Georgia State University. I am associate professor and head of the management information systems department in the Terry College of Business.
When did you come to UGA and what brought you here?
I came here in January 2001, upon graduating from Georgia State University. I knew that the MIS department at UGA was one of the best, so I was very interested in a position within it. In addition, it was a great fit because Athens is a wonderful place to live, and it suited my husband’s wish to stay in the Southeast.
What are your favorite courses and why?
There are two classes that I very much enjoy teaching, for different reasons. The first one is Data Management, which is one of the first core classes that MIS students (and many non-MIS) get to take. Students from this class are typically very foreign to the idea of leveraging data to create business value, and this course is an eye-opener on that respect. It has a nice balance between technology and business, and while challenging, it gets students to develop skills that will serve them well in the long run. My other favorite class is called Energy Informatics. It is a fairly new one—my colleague Rick Watson and I created it a few years ago. It is about the use of information systems to support greater efficiency of energy systems. It caters well to those aspiring to address issues related to climate change and sustainability from a business perspective.
What interests you about your field?
Information systems and technologies can be such a game changer. The number of innovative applications that have pushed the limit of what is possible has skyrocketed over the past years. MIS is a very dynamic field, at the core of all businesses, and transformative in nature. I see it as providing a world of exciting opportunities.
What are some highlights of your career at UGA?
I am proud of my research and teaching records, and to have earned the trust of my colleagues to head the MIS department. It always has been important to me to live a balanced life and to be invested in my family, health and community while pursuing my career at UGA; this in itself has been an accomplishment, in my view. I am also proud to have co-founded the new research field of energy informatics with my colleague Rick Watson. In fact, the constant opportunity to work with truly amazing people, both colleagues and students, has been the best part about working at UGA.
How does your research or scholarship inspire your teaching, and vice versa?
Energy informatics is probably the area where there is a closer relationship between teaching and scholarship. Much of the material introduced in this class came from earlier research efforts. It is nice to have students’ feedback on that material and to further consider this as we move along in this research area.
What do you hope students gain from their classroom experience with you?
I hope that they fall in love … with the major, that is. In the data management class, as I said earlier, many of the students are not yet in the major (or do not yet understand what MIS is really about), so I get great satisfaction from hearing of students who decide to enter the major, having found their niche, after “trying” this class. In the Energy Informatics class, I hope that students taking the class feel empowered to use their skills toward more sustainable business practices.
Describe your ideal student.
My ideal student is one that is engaged and hungry for knowledge, and who has a strong work ethic. Every semester, I have had the pleasure to have some of these ideal students in my class, and I typically stay connected with them well after graduation.
Favorite place to be/thing to do on campus is…
… most definitely the Botanical Garden. I enjoy running the white trail and feel so inspired and re-energized when I allow myself such a treat!
Beyond the UGA campus, I like to…
… mainly spend time with my family, but I’m also an avid runner. Running allows for “me time,” to think about my day, to brainstorm ideas, to refocus, to unload stress. I used to enjoy long-distance training (I did a couple of marathons), but as a full-time faculty member and mother of two, I now focus on shorter training and races.
Community/civic involvement includes….
I have been looking for a type of community activity where I can involve my kids and have found a perfect fit in the local animal shelters. We regularly visit the shelters to give those dogs and cats the attention and playtime they crave.
I am more inclined toward nonfiction, anything that challenges my thoughts or makes me see the world differently. I love the writings of Assan Harsi Ali, Peter Singer, Sam Harris, Mary Roach, Bill Bryson and Michael Pollan, among others. As for movies, I enjoy dramas and French comedies, in general. A recent movie that I loved was “Les Intouchables,” a French comedy-drama.