Dipra Jha - Excellence in Teaching


Frequent flyer dedicated to preparing students for hospitality leadership

Thailand. Oman. United Arab Emirates. China. India.

Visiting these international destinations would be a lifetime of travel for most. For Dipra Jha, it was his 2017 itinerary.

To ensure he’s providing his students with the latest business trends in the hospitality industry, Jha traveled 108,000 miles for academic and professional work last year.

“I try to engage myself as much as I can in the industry and then bring that knowledge right back into the classroom,” said Jha, associate professor of practice in the Hospitality, Restaurant and Tourism Management program, part of the Department of Nutrition and Health Sciences.

That (industry engagement) is very important because we do not want our students to be blind-sided going into the world of practice, not knowing some of these very key things that they are going to encounter.
Dipra Jha with students examining hotel

Jha’s travels have included several engagements as a professor or scholar in residence at top hotels and hospitality learning centers. They include the Venetian-Palazzo resort in Las Vegas—the largest Five Diamond hotel in the world, the Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management in Dubai, UAE, and the Oberoi Center of Learning and Development in India, part of the luxury hospitality brand Oberoi Hotels and Resorts. The insights gained from these academic opportunities are mutually beneficial, and as Jha incorporates the learning into his classrooms, his students gain an advantage as they compete with others for leadership roles in hospitality.

Our students need to understand the interplay between people, process and innovation and how inputs, like technology, are part of that,” said Jha. “An example is how the hospitality industry has moved away from the service paradigm to an experience paradigm.
Dipra Jha in classroom with students

Jha’s experience abroad helps bring this understanding back to his students, but he also takes his students with him to get first-hand exposure. He has led several studies abroad where students gain new perspectives on the hospitality industry that can only happen by seeing it first-hand.

“They need to know how to do the work to be an effective leader,” says Jha. “If they do not know the basics of how the job is done, it becomes a credibility issue. But at the same time, we are preparing them for leadership positions in the industry. Education abroad helps them understand how the new world of hospitality works.”

That new world includes exponential change, paradigm shifts and new technologies that are radically changing the way business is done. Disrupters such as Airbnb and Uber have almost overnight created new dynamics that students need to understand. Jha’s mission as professor is to make sure his students are ready and able to lead—a process he loves to guide through degree completion and beyond.

It’s both a pleasure and honor to affect young lives and play a role in helping students be successful. That’s probably the most joy I have; to see students going from freshmen to graduation and then into the industry where they become my colleagues. I get back much more than I give to them. That is the ultimate reward of being a faculty member and instructor.


Cynthia Cress portrait

Special Education and Communication Disorders,

Jennifer Jorgensen portrait

Textiles, Merchandising & Fashion Design,

Eric Buhs portrait

Educational Psychology,

Mary Beth Lehmanowsky portrait
Mary Beth

Educational Administration,

Sheree Moser portrait

Child, Youth and Family Studies,

John Raible portrait

Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education,