University College Presents Faculty Excellence Awards

News Story:

By Daniel Drew
SHU Correspondent

FAIRFIELD, Conn. — The first year in a new job is usually spent conquering a learning curve. Professor Jing’an Tang spent his first year earning a reputation as a professor who can always be counted on.

Professor Jing'an Tang

In his first year as an instructor, Tang, 36, was one of two professors honored with the Faculty Excellence Award given after a nomination by several University College students who were enrolled in his Business Policy course. The award, which has been bestowed since 2004, recognizes faculty who have gone above and beyond the call of duty, according to Mary Lou DeRosa, interim dean of University College.

“This is all in the first year of teaching,” DeRosa said. “He’s been exceptional.”

“Dr. Tang’s class was the best learning experience I have had at SHU,” wrote University College student Lee Dimon in one of Tang’s four nominations. “I enthusiastically recommend him to any student considering enrolling in any section he teaches.”

Fourteen professors were nominated by students at University College, which is geared toward non-traditional adult students pursuing a Bachelors or Associates degree while working full-time. Tang was one of two selected, and both are from the John F. Welch School of Business.

Professor Ralph Lim was also recognized. Lim teaches finance and pursues research interests in financial analysis of the aerospace industry and investment management. He earned his

Professor Ralph Lim

Bachelors in Aerospace Engineering from Princeton University and a Masters of Business Administration from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

“They’re highly qualified professors – both of them,” DeRosa said.

DeRosa ran into one of Tang’s students last week off-campus and that person continuously complemented the professor’s approach, which requires students to think strategically. He told her that “it was a great way to learn.”

“He has created a positive atmosphere and a terrific learning environment,” student Nicole Davis wrote in one of Tang’s nominations. “I believe he deserves all the kudos he can get.”

Tang’s teaching style is to utilize the life and work experiences of his adult students to create an atmosphere of learning in which he is one of many participants.

“They can learn from each other as much as they can learn from me,” he said. “I used this community as a platform for students to share their knowledge and experience.”

Tang was nervous at first because his University College Business Policy course was scheduled for four hours. But he soon found that his classroom was engaged with the material — and each other.

“It’s his style of teaching that the students really enjoy,” DeRosa said. “That makes him distinctive.”

From left: Prof. Lim, Mary Lou DeRosa, Dr. Tom Forget, Prof. Tang

Tang is a native of China and earned his undergraduate degree in economics from “Renmin,” or “The People’s University of China” in Beijing. After graduating, he worked in several industries in Beijing for six years. He then came to the United States on a full fellowship to earn a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Maryland at College Park. He enjoyed the academic world so much that he decided to pursue a doctoral degree in business administration from the University of Western Ontario in Canada.

He earned his Ph.D. in August of 2007 after five years of study. His dissertation was titled “Foreign Peer Networks and Subsidiary Performance.” He examined multi-national corporations that develop networks of peer companies – like a chamber of commerce — with similar characteristics in foreign markets. He found that companies’ subsidiaries perform better when they develop robust networks of other, similar companies in global markets.

His dissertation was one of four nominated worldwide — and one of only two in the United States — for the Barry Richman Dissertation Award through the International Management Division of the Academy of Management. The winner will be awarded at the association’s annual conference in California in August. The other three competitors are from the University of California at Berkeley, the Copenhagen Business School in Denmark, and the IESE Business School of the University of Navarra in Spain.

Tang was also recently nominated for the Haynes Prize for the Most Promising Scholar under 40 through the International Academy of Business for a scholarly paper also about subsidiary networks in foreign markets.

Tang’s first reaction upon being notified of the Faculty Excellence Award was to praise his students.

“I want to congratulate the students because they were working very hard. Most of them have families, children, and a full-time job,” he said. “Somehow I became their learning partner.”