Advertising analyst joins the journalism department


Photo Courtesy of Guolan Yang

New professor of journalism-advertising Guolan Yang.

In August 2020, the department of Communication, Journalism and Public Relations at Oakland University welcomed its newest faculty member, Guolan Yang.

“It was a dream come true moment for me,” Yang said. “I had always wanted to be a university professor since I was a child, so I was full of passion and excitement when I received the job offer from OU.”

As an OU assistant professor of journalism-advertising, Yang is currently teaching two undergraduate courses: intro to advertising (JRN 2400) and advertising account planning and research (JRN 3410).

According to Yang, JRN 2400 provides students with a basic overview of advertising principles and practices, and JRN 3410 focuses on the role of account planning in ad campaigns, allowing students to conduct primary quantitative research and develop an advertising plans book.

While Yang has always wanted to be a professor, it wasn’t until during her undergraduate years when she discovered her passion in mass media and decided her career in journalism. After undergraduate study, she said she worked as a social media intern in the United States, and managed an organization’s social media accounts and created branded content.

“This professional experience enhanced my knowledge of social media marketing and eventually facilitated me to research internet advertising and digital marketing campaigns,” she said.

After earning her bachelor’s degree in China, she moved to the United States to further study and ultimately obtain a Ph.D. in mass communications at Penn State University. 

For research, she focuses on the effectiveness of social media advertising, the effects of sponsorship disclosure on covert advertising processing and the strategic use of messaging to promote public health.

As a professor, Yang hopes to make meaningful contributions to the field of advertising through both her teaching and research. She hopes that students can learn useful knowledge from her classes and apply them to the real world and further develop their understanding of the field of advertising.

“Nowadays, the advertising landscape is changing rapidly,” Yang said. “There are always exciting new things coming up which are worth researching. I hope that I can help push further our understanding of the field of advertising.”

An unusual time to start a new job, all the new faculty welcome activities and orientations had to be moved online due to COVID-19. Yang said she’s thankful for the virtual conference platforms during these unprecedented times that allow her to teach synchronously and meet her students and colleagues every week. 

“During the pandemic, we are not able to meet face-to-face,” Yang said. “But I would hope students can turn on cameras in Zoom and get more involved in discussions.”

While Yang has adapted to the social distanced experience of this pandemic, she is looking forward to a return to normal so she can meet up and share ideas and experiences with students and other faculty members in person.

Yang is currently putting efforts into the National Student Advertising Competition (NSAC), hoping her students can present their plans books to the client and judges at the NSAC in the near future. With these goals in her mind, she strives to provide her students as much knowledge as possible everyday.