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UHV names retired business faculty member as professor emeritus

Just, fair and friendly are three words Joseph Ben-Ur, a retired University of Houston-Victoria professor, focuses on when he thinks of outstanding universities; their faculty, staff and students; and the communities they serve.

Joseph Ben-Ur

That attitude is one of many reasons Ben-Ur was awarded the title of professor emeritus this spring by the UH System Board of Regents. He worked at UHV for 23 years before retiring Aug. 31, 2019. During that time, he taught marketing classes, conducted research in several influential areas and served in key roles at the university.

“Dr. Ben-Ur has been a trusted advisor during my time at UHV, and this honor is well deserved,” UHV President Bob Glenn said. “His work for the university has been above and beyond, and I appreciate everything he has done for our faculty, staff, students and the university as a whole. His work has made a lasting impact on our university.”

Ben-Ur is the fourth professor emeritus at UHV. The three others are Diane Prince, William O. Nesbitt and Robert F. Zawadzki. The UH System also recognized Don Smith as provost emeritus. The emeritus title is given to a faculty member by his colleagues to honor service to the university and profession. To earn the title of professor emeritus, a faculty member must have worked at least 10 years at the university and achieved the rank of associate or full professor. The special title is awarded through a process that requires a recommendation from the university, votes from the university’s faculty and Faculty Senate, and approval from the UH System Board of Regents.

Ben-Ur joined the UHV School of Business Administration in 1996 as an assistant professor. He was promoted to associate professor in 2001 and then professor in 2010. He taught marketing classes and was committed to being involved in the university and helping students become competent, quality marketing professionals.

“Dr. Ben-Ur has contributed so much to UHV and the business school, it’s no wonder that the faculty voted unanimously to give him this honor,” said Jifu Wang, associate dean of the school. “Throughout his career, he has held a significant role in supporting and improving the school and the university, including early efforts to offer online classes and the process of earning accreditation from AACSB International – The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.”

One way Ben-Ur contributed to UHV was through service. During his 23 years at the university, he served as president of the Faculty Senate twice, was on each of the Faculty Senate’s committees and was involved in several important efforts and committees, including the presidential search committee that hired Glenn. He also received the 2009-2010 UHV Distinguished Faculty Service Award. 

“It’s important for the university’s faculty members to serve in areas that advance the university and help in making decisions,” Ben-Ur said. “Through the years, I have been able to have a positive working relationship with the university’s administrators. They have a difficult job, so I offered them advice to help them decide what was best for UHV and helped them keep a positive relationship with the faculty.”

Outside of UHV, he served as a senior editor of the Journal of Political Marketing and a chair of sessions in international conferences in Europe, where he also taught and assisted doctoral students. He also was one of the initiators of the technology special interest group of the American Marketing Association. In the Crossroads, he gave marketing lectures and provided marketing advice to the Bay City business community. He also lectured and advised 10th graders in Victoria about career choices.

As a professor, he integrated real-world learning into the classroom. One way he did this was to partner with local businesses, such as Texas Glass in Victoria, and have his students come up with marketing plans. The students were able to visit the company’s location, and the company’s top officials were invited to visit the classroom.

He also encouraged students to consider their own experience as customers of products and services when considering marketing strategies. Whether buying daily groceries and clothes or making a big purchase like a vehicle or home, every person has to choose to trust a company’s product, he said.

“In successful marketing, companies want their products to be likeable and trustworthy,” Ben-Ur said. “If marketing professionals can remember and understand what went into their own decisions, they can use that perspective to create a successful strategy. Whether it was firsthand experience, a friend’s testimony or good advertising, something made the customer choose that product.”

In his research, Ben-Ur showed the importance of trust in buyer and seller relations, effective ways to market political campaigns to specific groups of voters and the effects of social media on different countries.

Now that he has retired, Ben-Ur plans to enjoy some time traveling to different countries. In the future, he is open to returning to UHV as a guest speaker or even to teach a course or two. He also plans to continue his research.

“UHV’s mission has been the focus of my work all these years,” Ben-Ur said. “The quality of my research, teaching and service was meant to advance the university and help it to reach its goals. This title is a major gift from my colleagues and the university. It is beyond any of my expectations, and I am honored to receive it and to have been a part of UHV.”

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973, offers courses leading to more than 80 academic programs in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.