By Kasy Long
May 22, 2023
Human Resource Development for Higher Education
and Industry Professor at Indiana State University
When Szufang Chuang, PhD, moved to the United States from Taiwan in 1999, she was immediately introduced to American customs. She wondered how she could blend her traditional Taiwanese cultures and educational philosophy with her new surroundings.
“I spent half of my current life in Taiwan while the other half in the U.S. The Taiwanese and American heritages and cultures together made me who I am today – a multicultural and open-minded person,” says Chuang, associate professor of Human Resource Development [HRD] for Higher Education and Industry at Indiana State.
In the classroom, Chuang introduces her students to different cultures, a practice inspired and informed by her own blended influences.
“Being exposed to different cultures allows me to develop a cross-cultural competence and growth mindset that are important for faculty and Human Resources professionals these days,” she explains.
Chuang promotes diversity at Indiana State as chair of the Asian & Pacific Islander Council. She is also a member of the President’s Council on Inclusive Excellence. In May, Chuang was invited to speak at the 2023 Asian/Pacific Islander/Native American [APINA] Affirmative Employment Program in Terre Haute, which focused on advancing leaders through opportunity. Her presentation discussed pluralistic multiculturalism and the promotion of community awareness of Asian and Pacific Islander issues and cultures.
“I value equity, justice, and social responsibility as crucial factors in my life, purpose, and career goals. I commit myself to promoting and practicing these values through my research, teaching, and service activities,” she says.
With her students, Chuang organizes class sessions to value and respect the diverse thoughts, ideas, and opinions her students bring into the class.
“I always do my best to create a comfortable, respectful, and fair learning environment to stimulate discussion and encourage students to explore and think critically,” she says. “I prefer to use various teaching strategies to employ creativity and freedom of thought and to discover knowledge for the student’s growth.”
Indiana State’s HRD for Higher Education and Industry program prepares students with the necessary skills and competencies to become a Human Resources professional. The curriculum includes courses on international and cross-cultural training, continuous performance improvement, ethics and technological advancement, critical thinking, labor relations, work-life integration, leadership, industrial and organizational psychology, and related areas.
The program is enhanced with a required internship that helps students put their knowledge into practice while exploring career opportunities.
“The HRD program allows students to learn the process of improving learning and performance in individual, group, and organizational contexts through domains of expertise, such as employee training and development, career development, and organizational development,” says Chuang.
The professor’s teaching philosophy involves respecting individual uniqueness and differences while demonstrating equal and responsible teaching behaviors.
“In my class, ideas and personal opinions are highly encouraged. I teach for inspiration, and I learn when I teach,” Chuang comments. Based on her 15 years of teaching experience, she has developed a simple approach to teaching: offering two-way communication, listening to her students, and providing clear instructions and constructive feedback.
In addition, Chuang favors classroom dynamics that inspire dialogue and foster student input. Human Resource Development students prepare to become leaders in higher education, industry fields, business, government, and other agencies. Chuang encourages her students to be self-driven, independent learners while also asking questions.
“Students are given the knowledge and skills in a variety of roles for HRD for business, education, and industry. An important feature of the program is the blending of theoretical and practical learning experiences,” says Chuang. These experiences include the required internship, field trips to business and industry locations, and sponsored guest speakers.
Chuang, along with her peers, supports her students every step of the way during their academic journey as Sycamores.
“Faculty members and staff are available and committed to students’ academic and career success,” Chuang states. “Indiana State cares about its students.”
Effective leaders positively influence workplace environments, and this training begins with professors like Chuang at Indiana State. Because real leaders wear BLUE!