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The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

WSU hospitality and tourism professor receives international recognition

Dipra Jha will appear in the December edition of the International Hospitality Magazine
Courtesy of DIPRA JHA
Jha works with Sumy State University in Ukraine and implemented the Collaborative Online International Learning program in 2019

Close collaboration within the global hospitality and tourism industry is how a WSU professor found himself on the International Hospitality Institute’s list of the top 100 most influential people in the U.S. for hospitality and travel. 

Dipra Jha, Carson College of Business associate professor, also serves as the associate dean for equity and inclusion within the college. His international recognition will be featured in the December edition of the Global Hospitality Magazine

Maintaining a close relationship within the industry through serving on the State of Washington Tourism Board of Directors and collaborating with other institutions inside and outside of the classroom is how Jha accredits his recent recognition, he said. 

“One of the things that I have tried to do all along in my career is work very closely and collaboratively with the industry because hospitality is an extremely practice-based discipline,” Jha said. “So it is very important to be current and relevant and know what’s going on in the real world and back in the classroom.”

Jha said he works closely with Sumy State University in Ukraine, and implemented the Collaborative Online International Learning program in 2019, in which students at Sumy use video conferencing technologies to join in and collaborate in one virtual classroom that Jha teaches in Pullman.

“It can only happen if we have the relationships because, like with the Ukrainian students that we are doing right now, my class that meets at 9:10 a.m.,” Jha said. “Here, it is already 7:10 p.m. in Ukraine.” 

As COIL improved and progressed, Jha was able to bring more foreign partners into class and his teachings, along with developing expertise in delivering online classes and creating a cohort of many people around the world who have collaborated with him over the years, he said.

Sumy recognized Jha’s work and dedication to COIL with an honorary doctorate in early November.

The class felt like a typical college class but the projects and discussions with the Ukrainian students were interactive, said Anne Egan, junior wine and beverage business management major.

With these recognitions, it opens up more avenues and opportunities for connections with people and networking, Jha said. A couple of the other honorees from the list of 100 most influential people have reached out to Jha and these connections could possibly benefit students in the future through potential scholarships or internships.

“I mean it’s not what you know, it’s who you know,” he said. “You know, leveraging that network to benefit our programs here, most especially our students.”

When good work gets recognized and has an impact on people, it then further brings in more good work, creating its own ripple effect, Jha said.

Jha was in Tanzania doing some work for the Nelson Mandela African Institute for Science and Technology when he found out that he was on the list of the most influential people, he said. He found out through their LinkedIn post, there was no prior communication or requests for his professional work or CV.  

“That feeling was ‘I was deeply humbled and honored,’” he said. “Like I actually read the post a couple of times just to make sure I had it right.” 

That night during the group dinner, Jha’s colleagues presented him with a professional plaque of his accomplishment, detailed with his photo and title as one of the top 100 most influential people. He traveled home with the plaque and it is now presented proudly in his WSU office. 

Teaching and mentoring students, seeing them transform from freshmen to capable people to enter the real world and do great things is the best part of his job, Jha said. 

“The very first class I had with him, you could just tell that he cares about his students and wants to make an impact on them,” Egan said. “He loves his life.”

Jha will begin a Fulbright Specialist Position next year in Vietnam. This prestigious program will not only bring prestige to himself, but the institution he is representing as well, he said. At Hue University in Vietnam, Jha will be teaching seminars, going over curriculum and meeting with tourism stakeholders, according to WSU Insider

“In the long run I just love doing what I do, and I will continue doing it,” Jha said. 

Even if that means living in the Orbital Reef and teaching classes through Zoom, Jha aims to stay ahead of the curve and expand his teaching and connections throughout the hospitality and tourism industry, he said. 

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