UConn marketing professor Kelly Herd, who specializes in consumer psychology and creativity, and is known as a passionate advocate for her students, has been named to Poets & Quants’ list of 50 Best Undergraduate Business Professors.
Herd joined the UConn faculty in 2017. Prior to her academic career, she helped develop marketing campaigns for clients including Toshiba, Disney, NBC and Pepsi.
Teaching introductory marketing courses provides Herd the chance to turn undecided business majors into aspiring marketers.
“I love that moment when it ‘clicks’ for a student and they realize the value of marketing and psychology in business,” she said in an interview for Poets & Quants, a highly regarded, business-focused media outlet.
Occasionally students come in with pre-conceived notions about marketing and she tries to broaden their understanding of the field and its central role in business.
“The skills that we seek to develop, including strategic planning, problem solving and communication, will help them be thought leaders in whatever careers they pursue,” Herd said.
Senior Anna Mecca was one of the students who nominated Herd for the award. She described her professor as passionate about teaching, selfless, and devoted to her students. Her enthusiasm is reflected in her lectures, assignments, and course structure, Mecca said.
“Professor Herd has set a prime example of how professors across the world should care for their students,” she wrote in the nomination. “She genuinely wants the best for everyone and will do whatever it takes to set her students up for the most success.”
Mecca said her professor’s support and guidance was instrumental in helping her secure an internship with Whirlpool Corp. last summer.
Herd also excelled during the pandemic, ensuring that students were receiving a top education, despite the challenges of remote learning, Mecca said.
The majority of Herd’s research focuses on creativity and consumer psychology. In a recent project, she and her colleagues studied the role of sensory inputs on creativity. They found that actively touching a relevant object when brainstorming increases creativity of the ideas generated.
This is not the first recognition for Herd, who was honored by the UConn Chapter of the American Association of University Professors with a teaching innovation award last year.
Students in her courses participate in a semester-long group project in which they choose a product and develop a marketing plan to introduce it in a country where it doesn’t exist, for example, American Girl Dolls in China.
Each week students address an aspect of the project, from product design to branding, distribution to pricing. They discuss challenges, and brainstorm solutions. In the end, they complete the course with a comprehensive, 30-page marketing plan.
When asked what makes her unique as a professor, Herd said she works hard to create a dynamic and engaging environment and tries to draw out students in a friendly way.
“Participation is easy for extroverts like me,” she said. “But I think it’s our job to create an environment that engages all students.”