Chip Miller, professor of marketing, was a double award-winner at the 2011 College of Business and Public Administration Awards Ceremony in April. We stopped into Miller’s office to learn more about the recipient of the David B. Lawrence Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award and the Harry I. Wolk Research Award.
Q: What led you to become a professor of marketing?
Miller: I earned a bachelor’s in biology, an MBA and a master’s in Chinese studies from the University of Kansas. When I considered what to pursue for my PhD, I thought about a number of fields of study including Chinese and biology. I have even applied to study toxicology because of my interest in the medical field. In the end, I chose to earn my PhD in marketing with a minor in international business because it interested me and schools were actively recruiting for the position.
I really can’t imagine myself doing anything else. When I took a career test years ago, my results were dead on and predicted that I would be either a marketing manager, army officer, or professor. I worked in marketing for some time, but my job required me to move east and I would rather not live on the East Coast.
Being a professor is a perfect fit. I enjoy everyone I work with and I have students for whom I would do anything. I really like Des Moines, too. It’s a great city. There is not too much traffic, but it’s big enough that we have things like the Des Moines Symphony and great restaurants downtown.
Also honored at the 2011 College of Business and Public Administration Awards Ceremony:
Brad Meyer, associate professor of quantitative methods, who received the Graduate Teacher of the Year Award.
Rahul Parsa, professor of actuarial science, and Ginger Wheeler, administrative assistant in the College of Business and Public Administration, who were awarded of the Roger Brooks Faculty and Staff Excellence Awards.
Drake graduate Martha Willits, president and CEO of the Greater Des Moines Partnership, who recieved the Community Leadership Award for her impact on the University and Des Moines business community at the event. Read more about Willits’ award.
Q: What have you found to be the most interesting challenge facing the marketing industry today?
Miller: Social media. With people my age, sometimes it’s hard to make the connection between businesses having social media like Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn and seeing how it is relevant to the consumer or beneficial to the organization.
The rise of social media is advantageous for college students, though. Students live on social networks. From what I’ve seen, they are social media experts.
Q: I hear that you are particularly interested in East Asian countries. Why do those regions catch your interest?
Miller: My interest in the culture is nothing new. I used to be a martial arts practitioner, I have achieved a Master Level in Gung Fu, and I pursued a minor in international business when I was working towards my PhD because I wanted to have the flexibility to address global issues that I knew would be crucial in the future. I knew that with the education behind me, I would be able to serve as the regional expert on Asian culture. Also, my wife is Filipino, so the culture is part of my family, too.
Q: What has been the most rewarding aspect of your role as an educator at Drake University? What are you looking forward to?
Miller: My favorite part about teaching at Drake is hearing from my students who say “I got a job and you helped”, or “I’m so glad you taught me this or that because I’m using it on the job now.” It makes me feel better about pushing my students so hard in my classes.
Q: What does it mean to you to be the recipient of these two awards?
Miller: It was a complete shock to win the undergraduate award. I have coveted it since I walked in the door, so this is a huge accomplishment for me. I like teaching, listening to students’ concerns and making sure that they leave my classroom having learned something useful.
The research award was less of a surprise because of all that I have been working on. I am lucky in that I have a very prolific co-author, James Reardon, from the University of Colorado.
As for the future, I am looking forward to being associate dean of academic affairs next year. It will be an exciting change for me.
Q: How do you stay informed about what is going on in marketing around the world? Do you rely on any news sources in particular?
Miller: I read academic journals to stay up to date with the most current research, I am on several marketing email lists, and I keep up with the Wall Street Journal and USA Today. It’s important to stay current with changes in the marketing field, especially with all the technology we have today.