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Hu received her Ph.D. in Mass Communication from Pennsylvania State University, M.Phil. in Communication from Chinese University of Hong Kong, and B.A. in Journalism from Renmin University of China.
Hu’s major research interests focus on the uses and effects of new media and emerging technologies in health communication. Hu has published peer-reviewed articles in Communication Research, Journal of Communication in Healthcare, Atlantic Journal of Communication, Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, Electronic Journal of Communication, Open Communication, among others, and has constantly presented papers at regional, national, and international conferences. Hu is on the Editorial Board of Atlantic Journal of Communication and Western Journal of Communication, and actively reviews manuscripts for nearly 20 journals, many of which are top ones in the field.
Hu regularly teaches Introduction to Communication Theory (COM 103), a gateway course required of all majors. She has contributed significantly to the department’s curriculum with an advanced offering in New Media and Health Communication (COM 345), a course she originated. Already a key component in the interdisciplinary concentration in health communication that attracts students from various disciplines, COM 345 is a key offering in the new public health major and one of the five core courses for the post-baccalaureate, post-master’s Public Health Certificate Program. Hu also developed a new version of Intercultural Communication (COM 411) that drew upon her own international background, a refinement that aligned the existing course even more closely with TCNJ’s signature experience of Global Engagement.
Hu’s innovations in teaching have received attention from the TCNJ community and from colleagues in the communication field. She has been featured twice in the TCNJ Magazine for using digital media applications like Second Life in the classroom (here and here), and she has been asked to present her experiences with teaching using virtual worlds at workshops for other faculty members. In addition, she has published a journal article and a book chapter on the use of social media in the classroom. This article is based on data gathered from her own teaching experiences.
In addition to creative pedagogy, Hu believes in teaching and learning through collaborative activities. She often invites subject-matter experts all over the world to interact with her students online or face-to-face (e.g., Regina Holliday, national patient rights arts advocate). Her class has worked with a local healthcare consulting company on a project called “Reviving Healthcare Terms” where students used innovative communication tools and strategies such as infographics, cartoon videos, and fun trivia quizzes to reach audiences of all ages. Her class has also partnered with TCNJ international students, an experience that helped both groups of students expand their global horizons and enhance their intercultural communication competence.
Hu commits herself deeply to advising through her focused mentoring of students. Hu has heavily involved her students in a scholarly manner. She has co-authored a journal article with one of her mentees, and advised students on their research projects that were published in the TCNJ Journal of Student Scholarship as well as presented at professional conferences. Hu often guide her students in post graduation plans as well.
Hu chaired the School’s Curriculum Committee, shaping the design and content of new courses offered to the students within the School. Hu also helped designed an assessment tool while she was a member of the School’s Assessment Committee. Hu also provided extensive service to the College through her work as a member of the Faculty Senate, Information Technology Council, Healthy Campus Program Council, Career Development Committee, and First Year Seminar Committee. Additionally, Hu’s work on the Public Health Minor Planning Committee and the Public Health Task Force has helped pave the way for the newly designed Public Health Major.