From school settings to hometowns, a sense of community is important. In today’s world of social media and smartphones, it’s only natural for that same ideal to have made its way online.
|Jun Yang |
Jun Yang, assistant professor of marketing in the University of Houston-Victoria School of Business Administration, has spent years delving into how the Internet has shaped people’s everyday lives. That includes the way they market their businesses, share experiences and find that just-right buy.
For one current study, Yang is gathering data about mobile shopping. More than half the people nationwide use smartphones, she said, and “e-tailing” and “m-retailing” are the ways of the future.
The online aspect comes with benefits.
“When you go to make a purchase, you are able to see other people’s personal experiences with the product,” she said. “With these consumer reveals, there’s an online word of mouth that has developed, and that is very powerful. I find it all intriguing.”
Yang earned her bachelor’s degree in marketing from Shanghai’s Fudan University and a master’s degree in economics from Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. She went on to obtain a master’s degree in applied statistics and a doctorate in marketing from Syracuse University in New York.
Joining the UHV faculty in 2009 proved a good fit. The diverse faculty brings a lot to the table, and the students are outstanding, she said.
Yang gave an example from a graduate marketing research class she is teaching with Jeff Blodgett, associate dean of the School of Business Administration. Students developed their own study from the ground up. They spoke with clients, conducted focus groups and created a questionnaire, which is now available online, to aid Sugar Land’s First Colony Community Association.
With more than 300 responses already – an impressive feat for any such survey – Yang said the results are astounding.
“I was shocked, but it’s really great,” she said. “We’re linking higher education with the local community, but we’re also getting our students involved in activities. They aren’t just reading out of textbooks.”
Students aren’t the only ones learning, however. Yang, who received the spring 2012 Bloomberg BusinessWeek teaching award, said she’s also picked up lessons during her time at UHV.
Translating face-to-face lesson plans into a format for online courses proved a challenge at first, but brought unexpected gains.
“I realized that this was its own online community,” said Yang, explaining it helped shape her research endeavors. “Now, with my studies here, I’m trying to link online learning with the online community. This is a new area for me, but it’s exciting. I enjoy it.”
In her free time, the lifelong animal lover enjoys spending time with her two pugs and volunteering with Houston-area animal shelters. She and her husband also enjoy seeing the world, traveling when they get the chance.
Looking ahead, Yang said she is excited to continue down her current path. Educating her students is rewarding and working on her own studies means she never stops learning.
“I’m glad to be at a school that allows me to do the research that I’m interested in,” she said. “There is such strong support here, and I love my colleagues. I’m very proud to be a part of UHV.”
The Faculty Feature is an online feature highlighting faculty members from each of the University of Houston-Victoria’s four schools. To nominate a faculty member, contact Paula Cobler, UHV interim director of marketing and communications, or call 361-570-4350.