Marketing Professor Kelly Herd Lauded For Innovative Teaching Excellence

Assistant professor of marketing Kelly Herd (Nathan Oldham / UConn School of Business)
Assistant professor of marketing Kelly Herd (Nathan Oldham / UConn School of Business)

The UConn Chapter of the American Association of University Professors has recognized assistant professor of marketing Kelly Herd with a teaching innovation award.

“A key focus of my teaching philosophy is to help all my students, whether marketing majors or not, to understand the role and importance of marketing within the broader business world,” she said.

“Students participate in a semester-long group project in which they choose a product and develop a marketing plan to introduce and market this product to a country where it does not currently exist, for example, American Girl dolls in China,” she said.

The marketing plan is designed to foster creativity by providing students with a clear structure, while also giving them freedom to innovate.

“Each week, students participate in a “deconstruct” exercise in which they apply that week’s concept—be it product design, branding, distribution or pricing—to their specific product and country,” Herd said. “We then discuss challenges faced by one or two of the groups and brainstorm how to best address them. These hands-on activities culminate in a cohesive, 30- to 40-page marketing plan.”

Receiving the innovation award was particularly poignant to Herd.

“Particularly as someone who researches innovation, it is truly an honor to receive this award,” she said. “I am always trying to develop creative content and try new things in the classroom. It means a great deal to me to have these efforts recognized by the university.”

The award also recognizes Herd’s work in redesigning the Honors MKTG3101 course and the reworking of a second course during the pandemic, as well as her leadership with instructors across campus each semester to share best practices, teaching advice, and presentation skills.

Professor Robin Coulter, head of the marketing department, said the award is warranted.

“Kelly continually brings student-focused innovation in teaching and learning strategies to the Marketing Department, and this award is well-deserved for her innovative efforts related to the structure and content of Marketing Honors offerings and the undergraduate core marketing course, Introduction to Marketing Management (MKTG 3101) which is required by all School of Business majors,” Coulter said.

In the development of these courses, Herd exchanged ideas and materials with colleagues within the department in the pursuit of instructional excellence for students’ learning, and is selfless in her willingness to share her expertise and course materials with the faculty, Coulter said.

Herd joined the UConn faculty in 2017. Prior to her academic career, she worked on marketing campaigns for clients including Toshiba, Disney, NBC and Pepsi.

“While capturing students’ attention may be more challenging today than with past generations, I believe students are inherently curious and inquisitive,” she said. “During class, I use a mix of experiential group activities, lectures, videos and timely articles, and business cases to engage them and bring the material to life. It takes more effort, but the students love it and I do, too.”

Herd and management professor Nora Madjar, who is being honored for excellence in teaching, will be honored during a ceremony in April.