Public relations professor hails from Taiwan, looks at immigration crisis

Taiwan native, Chiaoning Su, began teaching journalism and public relations at Oakland University in 2016. With a background in politics and a 5/5 RateMyProfessor rating, Su has quickly become what many consider an asset to the OU community.

Su moved from Taiwan to the United States to continue her education. She attended Emerson College where she received her masters and doctorate degrees. Su also has a PhD in media and communications from Temple University.

“I think I have a pretty good grasp on American culture,” Su said. “Living in Philly really immersed me into the east coast and how people do things there.”

Before moving to the United States, Su was involved in three different political campaigns. Her father serves as the Premier of Taiwan and her sister is a legislator. Despite her political background, Su still feels hesitant when discussing politics in her classes.

“I try to be very careful. Whether it’s the topics I cover or the wording I use, I try to remain as neutral as I can,” Su said. “There was a time where I felt that I was being completely unbiased and one of my students still expressed his beliefs in a defensive manner.”

When teaching her students about important topics like the immigration crisis, Su likes to use personal examples.

“It’s hard to get students to understand the gravity of the immigration crisis if they don’t know someone who has been affected,” Su said. “It helps if they can think ‘What if this happened to my professor, to someone I know?’”

While students at Oakland may not be directly impacted by the immigration crisis, Su has heard the horror stories of students who have been.

“I have a friend who teaches in Texas, and sometimes she’ll have students who just stop showing up to class,” Su said. “At first, she just assumed they dropped the class, but then she received an email that the student has been deported.”

Su is the advisor for the Public Relations and Advertising Club. This student organization hosts panels and networking events to help students learn more about the field.

“We recently hosted a panel about diversity in the world of public relations,” Su said. “We had four PR professionals who discussed the importance of having all different cultures, sexualities, races etc. present. We discussed how minorities in these fields can make themselves heard and not simply be used as a token.”

Controversial marketing campaigns like Kendall Jenner’s Pepsi commercial and H&M’s “Coolest Monkey in the Jungle” sparked Su’s curiosity in who is in the room when companies decide to run these advertisements.

From my perspective, as a PR professional, things like that just blow my mind,” Su said. “Ads like that have to go through so many levels of decision making and no one spoke up.”

Students with an interest in OU’s Public Relations program can visit the Public Relations major website.