This is the first of many faculty spotlights. We would like to introduce you to our fearless leader, Dr. Joanna Phillips Melancon. She has taken on the task of being our mentor throughout this semester as we take control of the the social media of the Marketing Department. If you have any other questions for Dr. Melancon when you’re finished reading her responses to the questions leave a comment.
What is your educational background?
Undergraduate: Berry College–largest continuous campus in the world, located in Rome, GA. Where Remember the Titans was shot. More deer than students.
Graduate: Ole Miss.
What is a cool fact about yourself?
I was known as “The Glitter Queen” in high school and I am secretly sorry that no one calls me that any more.
Did you have a job prior to being a professor? If so, what was it.
My first job was working in a warehouse in Atlanta in the summers during high school and college. I started off loading a tractor trailer with boxes, which I hated–the truck was not air conditioned and neither was the warehouse, and then moved on to other jobs in the warehouse. My favorite warehouse job was the packing line, and I attribute that 100% to the bubble wrap.
My first post-graduate job was working as an Assistant to the Regional Sales Manager at Kawasaki Motors in Atlanta. I did a lot with setting up new Kawasaki dealers and helping our district sales people with whatever tasks they needed.
What did you dream of doing as a kid?
For a long time, I’m pretty sure I wanted to be a My Little Pony. Then a veterinarian. Then a designer of scenery for broadway musicals (I wanted to glitter things). Then an advertising creative. Then a writer. Apparently I lacked focus.
What is your favorite part of being a professor?
My grandmother always told me that I was going to be a teacher and I used to violently reject that notion. I knew I would like researching, because I love to write, but teaching is hands down what I love most about my job, which took me by surprise at first. But, I do love students (except during finals week). I get invested in my students. I am excited when they are excited. I celebrate when they achieve things that are important to them. I love when I hear back from students who have moved on about how they are doing, or what they are doing. It is an honor to me when they choose to keep in touch or include me in their victories later on. I do not know many other jobs that would have this level of personal satisfaction or be this rewarding on a regular basis. The whole job is pretty incredible, but the students are why I love it like I do.
What is your favorite research you have ever done?
It always depends on what I’m most invested in at the moment. In general, I tend to look at consumer misbehavior in my research. My newest project is in the area of social media and how companies should effectively deal with various types of complainers on social media. I do a lot of studying the Facebook walls and Twitter Feeds of companies right now to see what kinds of things gets people angry with companies. It is a little like being a fly on a wall reading these (sometimes pretty entertaining) comments and trying to make some sort of story emerge from them.
What is your favorite class to teach?
My favorite class is also the most challenging to teach: social media marketing. I’ve never had a class like social media, where everything was changing so rapidly that I had to constantly update materials, not just from semester to semester but from week to week within the semester. Things are calming down just a little bit, so there is breathing room now. When I first taught this class in 2010, it was evolving day to day. It’s also interesting that my students are experts in their own right on social media when they come into the class. They bring a lot of great information about the actual sites and technology usage, and I bring the marketing and strategy and business angle to what it is they are already doing personally. It makes for a very interactive and interesting class; this class is never the same two semesters in a row.
What hobbies do you have outside of the class?
I am a serial home remodeler and redecorator. My husband has said that I have painted some rooms enough times to start taking away square footage. I love design and home improvement projects. I love reading. I watch bad reality television and I am only a little ashamed of myself. I love to cook. Most of all, I love spending time with my two little girls; my life is full of princess dresses and cartoons and toys these days and it is the best thing that has ever happened to me.
What is your favorite thing about being a Hilltopper?
If you had asked me if I would ever live in Bowling Green, KY I am not sure I would have listed it as a likely destination for me. Almost nine years later, Bowling Green is home and so is WKU. This is where I got married and where my children were born. It was my first academic position out of Graduate School, and you are never certain how long you’ll stay at that first job. But, I love the friends I have made among my colleagues, students, and neighbors. I love the support that WKU has in the community. People here are always so nice and interested when they find out you are affiliated with WKU. It’s a special place.
Like we said before if you have other questions for Dr. Melancon leave it below in a comment. Also, if you have a request for the next faculty spotlight let us know!