System honors marketing professor

Ask marketing professor Rama Yelkur’s students and colleagues what they think of her, and they’ll say things like “busy,” “dedicated” and “driven.” They will also talk about her high number of contributions to the field of business and her enthusiasm in internationalizing the college of business, not to mention her personable teaching style and likeable personality.

These qualities are just a few of the reasons the UW System recently chose Yelkur for its annual Outstanding Woman of Color Award. She is one of 16 women the UW System recognizes annually for their contributions to their campus and communities.

Chancellors at each campus seek nominations of any students, faculty, staff or community members they feel contribute to diversity, women’s studies or activism and have improved conditions for women – especially women of color.

Tim Vaughan, chair of the marketing department, said Yelkur is a leading member of the college of business and has made many contributions to the university and city.

“She’s a very driven individual,” Vaughan said. “(She’s a) very hard worker (and) very dedicated to her field.”

Yelkur recently secured a federal grant to globalize the business college’s curriculum, Vaughan said, and has established the program – titled “Partnerships in International Education” – to benefit the entire university. Faculty members can go abroad through this program, he said, and international professors are also hosted at Eau Claire.

University students can also go abroad through the PIE program and there are also funds left for student-faculty research.

Senior Diana Hang is one student who is working with Yelkur on a research project through this grant. She said Yelkur deserves this UW System recognition for her high level of commitment and quality in every aspect of her work.

“It’s amazing to see how much she’s been able to do,” Hang said. “She’s so busy.”

Besides directing the PIE project, overseeing all international programs in the college of business and serving on several boards and committees on campus, Yelkur is also involved in the Eau Claire community, serving on various marketing committees and organizations.

Hang said there are many benefits to internationalizing the business school, since it makes its students more marketable. Many students are able to secure internships because of Eau Claire’s international programs, she added.

An international perspective for business students is crucial, Vaughan agreed, because of the changing face of business.

“International content is important because you hear about the global economy and even for a university like Eau Claire, our students will be operating in a global business economy,” Vaughan said.

Besides being an inspiration for her high involvement in the field, Hang said Yelkur is also an outstanding professor. Hang said when she took an online course with Yelkur, she kept the students very involved and made the experience much more personal than most online courses.

“She’s great (as a professor); I’d recommend her to anyone,” Hang said. “Everyone who meets her just loves her. She brings a fun atmosphere wherever she goes.”