When University of Alabama graduate Janet Parish, a marketing professor, came to interview for a job at Texas A&M University, she recalls, “I immediately loved this place. I didn’t want to work here – I wanted to enroll as a student. I still hate that I can’t have an Aggie Ring!” And when asked who she’ll be rooting for in tomorrow’s game against the Crimson Tide, her fondness for the Aggies shows in her reluctant confession.
“I’m a huge college football fan,” she explains. “I tell my students that I love both Alabama and A&M and I love to see them win football games. Hmmm…well, I don’t wear Crimson on this campus – not since we joined the SEC - but at home, well…”
Despite this secret passion for an SEC rival, there’s no doubt Parish is a proud member of the faculty at Texas A&M’s Mays Business School. “I came here because of the phenomenal opportunity to work with some of the best marketing faculty in the country,” she states.
Parish says her time at Alabama, where she earned her Ph.D. in marketing, prepared her well to work in Texas A&M’s Department of Marketing. “I learned a lot about teaching and research there,” she notes. “The faculty and doctoral students have great relationships, and I also made some long-lasting friendships. Both Alabama and Texas A&M are tradition-heavy schools and there’s a certain ‘Southern hospitality’ at both schools that I enjoy.”
Parish teaches Services Marketing and the honors sections of Principles of Marketing and her research interests focus around two broad areas: service employees and relationship marketing. “I am interested in areas such as customer service and satisfaction, the role of frontline employees in service encounters and marketing issues in healthcare,” she explains.
She says she enjoys teaching her Aggie students not just concepts, but real-world applications as well. “My courses involve client projects where students have the opportunity to apply what they learn,” she notes. “Both the students and clients benefit from these projects.”
Most clients are local non-profits, says the professor, so the projects have had positive impacts on the community. “Each semester, my students work with local non-profits to help them identify ways to better serve their customers,” Parish notes. “During the past five years, we’ve worked with such clients as the Aggieland Humane Society, Bryan Animal Shelter, Health For All, The Prenatal Clinic, United Way, MADD, The Downtown Bryan Association, St. Mary’s Catholic Church and many others.” The client list also includes on-campus entities such as Student Health Services, the Rec Center, West Campus Library, the Center for Retailing Studies and the Center for the Management of Information Systems, she adds.
Parish says it gives her a great sense of pride when students say her course helped them land a job. “And one of the best comments I have ever received from a student came last Spring when the student said she was so invested in the project, she didn’t even care about her grade anymore – she just wanted to help the client!”
The professor says she hopes to continue such projects well into the future and plans to focus her own research into healthcare marketing.
Even though she may be saying “Roll Tide” tomorrow, the professor says her Aggie students are “smart, respectful and passionate,” adding, “I have taught at other great universities, but I can honestly say that Aggie students are second to none.”
Media Contact: Lesley Henton, Division of Marketing & Communications at Texas A&M University;