Meet Yaou Hu:

Exemplifying Excellence in Doctoral Student Research, Classroom Instruction

By Eric Hollenbeck

Committed. Driven. Engaged. One of the best. That’s how Carson College of Business faculty describe hospitality business management graduate Yaou Hu, PhD (’18), recipient of the 2018 Outstanding Graduate Teaching Award.

During her doctoral studies program at WSU, Hu honed her skills as a researcher and hospitality management instructor, crediting Carson College faculty for helping develop her talents.

“What stands out most to me is the training, both in research and teaching. The course work and faculty mentoring helped me learn how to conduct research and present my findings in a systematic and mindful manner,” she says. “Being able to teach multiple courses as a doctoral student helped me gain valuable experience in managing and meeting the expectations that come with teaching a diverse student body.”

Creating an immersive student experience

Hu’s teaching philosophy centers on three basic principles:

  • Create an interactive and collaborative learning environment.
  • Identify and accommodate students’ learning expectations and needs.
  • Prepare students for the field and profession in which they will be devoted.

“My primary goal as a business educator is to facilitate students’ overall development and prepare them to become qualified industry professionals,” she says.

Her classroom strategies included allocating time for her students to participate in lively discussion and incorporating case studies to foster friendly and constructive interactions among groups.

Hu says she strives to create a supportive and encouraging environment, taking special care to always acknowledge the different backgrounds and life experiences of her students. For example, some classes had a mix of students with varying degrees of industry experience ranging from little to no experience to hotel managers or restaurant owners with several years of experience.

“I always keep such differences in mind and make sure each student receives customized learning experiences,” she says.

Gaining recognition for her research

In addition to being recognized as one of the top graduate student instructors in the Carson College, Hu received accolades for her doctoral research on customers’ attitudes toward relationship marketing, placing first in the college’s Three Minute Thesis competition and going on to compete in the University-wide 3MT®competition.

She has coauthored research papers forthcoming in the Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Education and the International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management.

Moving forward in the career

In spring 2018, Hu accepted an assistant professor position from Jinan University in Guangzhou, China, where she will continue to grow her promising academic and research career in hospitality business management.

“Moving forward, I intend to focus my research efforts on studying consumers’ power perceptions and status-seeking behaviors in service contexts,” Hu says.