When meeting Dipra Jha, the new assistant director designate of Washington State University’s School of Hospitality Business Management (SHBM), his friendly expression and articulate way of speaking are immediately engaging. But it’s his whimsical bow ties—whether a display of dinosaurs, penguins, stripes, polka dots, or just a solid flash of color—that make people smile and want to learn more about him.
Jha’s bow ties, whether constructed from a hand-made pattern from the Ukraine or a chance find at a fabric market in Beijing, are a tiny clue to the breadth of his status as a global scholar, innovative educator and expert in luxury hospitality and tourism strategy.
During his career, Jha has traveled the world, working with some of the biggest hotel brands in the business. He frequently collaborates with U.S. communities, government entities and private sector organizations. By staying active and building partnerships with international institutions and industry, he will bring the latest information and trends to the classroom as an associate professor in the Department of Hospitality Business Management, showing students what they can expect as future hospitality professionals.
New role will help SHBM reach new heights
As the SHBM’s assistant director, Jha will be the main point of contact when students, parents, and industry leaders visit the Pullman campus, and he’ll have an active role in the SHBM’s social media presence. He will also teach courses in hospitality business management and international business. A passionate advocate for experiential learning and international education, Jha aims to develop and lead study abroad programs to destinations in Asia and the Middle East/North Africa region.
“Dipra brings a great background in social media and inter-campus class delivery,” said Bob Harrington, director of the hospitality school. “This skillset, along with his international luxury hotel connections, provide additional resources for raising the bar in the School of Hospitality Business Management.”
“I am very passionate about global education and study abroad that tie into developing global competence among students,” said Jha. “Essentially, global leadership is based on an understanding of situational awareness and emotional intelligence—that’s what will allow our graduates to succeed in a global world and workplace.”
Contributions to international education
Before coming to WSU, Jha was an associate professor of practice and the director of Global Engagement for the Hospitality, Restaurant and Tourism Management program at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. He has been an invited professor in residence at the Venetian mega resort in Las Vegas, with the Jumeirah Group in Dubai, and with Oberoi Hotels and Resorts in India. During his tenure at Nebraska, he conceptualized and helped build a 154-room, Four Diamond teaching and research hotel on the Nebraska Innovation Campus.
Jha is a recipient of the prestigious John Wiley & Sons Innovation in Teaching Award from the International Council on Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Education. His other accolades include a University Distinguished Teaching Award as well as a College of Education and Human Sciences Outstanding Teaching Award from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. In 2019, he was conferred a rare and distinguished Doctor Honoris Causa by the Kyiv Cooperative Institute of Business and Law in Ukraine for his outstanding contributions to international education through virtual exchange.
Jha said he chose to join WSU because of the outstanding reputation of the School of Hospitality Business Management and the faculty.
“I love the ability to shape and influence young minds and play a small part in their professional journey in a hospitality program that consistently ranks among the top 15 programs in the world,” he said. “I’m excited to be part of a world-class business school in a future-focused, land-grant university.”