Diminutive in stature and soft-spoken, Dr. Yu-Mong Hsiao stands tall and is heard loud and clear in her classroom.
Recognized for willingness to experiment with teaching styles and her meticulous tracking of student learning and performance, Hsiao was honored with the D.P. Russ Jr. and Walter S. Jones Sr. Alumni Award for Teaching Excellence in 2014.
Her colleague, Dr. Mark Steckbeck, nominated Hsiao for the award, noting that he’s regularly observed her going out of the way to assist students who may be struggling in her economics or quantitative methods courses.
Now in her 30th year at Campbell, Hsiao said it was a “huge surprise” when she learned of the honor. “I could not believe what I heard until Dr. Steckbeck reassured me it was real,” she said.
She was doubly surprised that she was also the recipient of the Lundy-Fetterman School of Business’ Dean’s Excellence award, presented to her this spring by Dean Keith Faulkner.
“Over the past 30 years, she has risen to the rank of professor, obtained tenure and taught a broad range of courses in accounting, business administration and economics at both the undergraduate and graduate level,” Faulkner said. “Both current students and alumni alike will testify to the demanding nature of Professor Hsiao’s instruction style. She is an advocate for setting high expectations and for providing students with the tools to achieve the standard.”
In her Economics 201 course, Hsiao offers the well-known “prisoners’ dilemma” to her students … a lesson in strategy in social science that helps students understand what governs the balance between cooperation and competition in business, politics or social settings.
The scenario reads: “The police have caught two suspects (A and B) involved in a bank robbery case, but only have enough evidence to imprison each for 1 year. The police question each in separate rooms, offer each the following deal:
If you confess and implicate your partner, you go free.
If you do not confess but your partner implicates you, you get 20 years in prison.
If you both confess, each gets 8 years in prison.
If you were Suspect A, would you confess or not?”
These thought-provoking scenarios often lead to lively discussions. As does Hsiao’s regular use of music and movie clips at the beginning of class to illustrate economic concepts. An example is the Disney-Pixar short, “One Man Band,” which provides a fun lesson in monopolies and duopolies.
Hsiao has embraced technology in her teaching methods as well, regularly using Blackboard to manage her courses and posting all of her lectures and assignments online via Tegrity software.
“Her students consistently score higher than the national average, offering proof that her interactive teaching and learning strategies are highly effective,” Faulkner added.
She has been awarded a Certificate of Achievement for the Teaching Innovation Program from the American Economic Association, and each year, she attends teaching workshops in order to remain current on the best practices in the teaching of economics.
A North Carolina Certified Public Accountant, Hsiao earned her Ph.D. and Master of Economics from North Carolina State University, an MBA from Mississippi State University, and her BA in economics from the National Taiwan University.