Robert Underwood

Robert Underwood

Professor, Marketing

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Dr. Robert L. Underwood joined Furman University in August 2006 as the Robert E. Hughes Associate Professor of Business (Marketing), coming from the School of Business at the University of Alabama-Birmingham (UAB). Prior to joining UAB in 2001, Dr. Underwood served as an Assistant Professor in the Foster School of Business at Bradley University. Dr. Underwood earned his doctorate in marketing from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech), earned an MBA from the University of Alabama, and earned a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from the University of Alabama. His research has been published in a number of refereed journals including the American Journal of Health Promotion, Annual Advances in Business Cases, Business Horizons, Case Research Journal, Global Economy Journal, Journal for Advancement in Marketing Education, Journal of Marketing Communications, Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice, Journal of Product and Brand Management, and Social Indicators Research. Professor Underwood currently serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice. Professor Underwood?s current research program focuses on issues concerning globalization and international trade, and advertising issues in the financial services industry. Over the past 17 years, he has taught in the areas of Consumer Behavior, Integrated Marketing Communication, International Marketing, Marketing Principles and Strategic Marketing Management.


  • Ph.D.,in Marketing Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech), 1996
    Minor: Social Psychology
  • MBA., University of Alabama, 1985
    Concentration: International Marketing
  • B.S., in Accounting University of Alabama, 1983


Few are the occupations that afford one the opportunity to have as strong an impact on the lives of young people as the job of teaching. While this realization is exciting and hopefully motivating for educators, it also presents a daunting challenge. As teachers, we must challenge, inspire, and involve the student not only in the subject matter at hand, but also in the concept of learning and self-improvement as a life ideal. My teaching philosophy is essentially grounded on five core principles designed to engender these learning goals. These principles influence my objectives and the methodologies chosen for each class. These principles include: the importance of recognizing and seizing the learning opportunity at hand; maintaining and communicating an enthusiastic and encouraging attitude; incorporating a balanced pedagogy; affirming that teaching and research are interdependent; and believing in the need to continually examine the ethical dimensions of business.

Teachers at all levels face a common motivational challenge; how do we best instill in our students a sense of recognition and positive action toward the learning opportunity before them. It is our duty to facilitate this ideal. That is, to effectively communicate the notion that effort made and experiences gained at this juncture have far-reaching implications. Concurrently, we must convey the life maxim that there are no shortcuts to success; that substantial learning and growth typically result from hard work, challenge, involvement, and preparation. Thus, while students are directly responsible for their participation, involvement, and ultimately, their final grade in the class, it is imperative that educators create an atmosphere that significantly impacts student interest and motivation.

I strive to bring about the desired student attitude and enthusiasm with a teaching style best described as energetic and highly interactive. This style is designed to breed a contagious spirit of involvement that facilitates discussion and participation by all students. I attempt to forge a classroom environment that expects, welcomes and rewards a student's reasoned opinion. For this environment to exist, high expectations must be set at the beginning of each course and each class. These expectations are best communicated via evidence of my own thorough preparation of relevant course material and my enthusiasm for the class and topic.

Early in my career I came to the realization that there is no one best teaching style or methodology to emulate. An effective teaching style is analogous to a golf swing; while there is no one perfect way to swing a club, there are fundamentals that must be followed in order to excel. Likewise, there are teaching fundamentals that are pivotal to success in the classroom. These teaching fundamentals include a solid knowledge and preparation of the material, enthusiasm and passion in the delivery process, communication of the relevance of the material, and a demonstrated willingness to help each student. I believe I am most successful motivating students when I am succeeding on these dimensions. The final dimension, a willingness to help students, may be the most critical element of great teaching, especially as technological advancements continue to depersonalize the educational process. I take my role as student advisor and mentor very seriously and, consequently, find it to be the most satisfying aspect of my educational position.

Pedagogically, I follow a balanced approach, with experience in a number of methodologies including traditional lecture, case method, group learning, and debate formats, among others. This multiple approach tends to limit the opportunity for the classroom environment to become stale. Additionally, I view my research program as integral to my teaching efforts. My research endeavors help keep me on the cutting edge of the discipline and are often featured prominently in my course offerings.

Lastly, I believe strongly in the need to present and actively discuss the ethical dimensions of the business topics of study. This focus affords students the occasion to reflect on and question their established beliefs, thus providing opportunities for attitude development and/or change. In my role as teacher and mentor, I make every effort to assert the importance of personal integrity and character, and communicate the importance of these qualities in students' personal lives and careers.


  • Cook, Nathaniel and Robert L. Underwood (2012), "Attitudes toward Economic Globalization: Does Knowledge Matter?" in: Global Economy Journal, Vol. 12 (December), No. 4, 1-18.
  • Underwood, Robert L. (2012), "Automotive Foreign Direct Investment in the U.S.: Economic and Market Consequences of Globalization," in Business Horizons, Vol. 55 (September/October), No. 5, 463-474.
  • Reed, Julian A., Alicia Powers, Melissa Greenwood, Whitney Smith and Robert L. Underwood (2011), "Using Point of Decision Messages to Intervene on College Students' Eating Behaviors," in American Journal of Health Promotions, Vol. 25 (May/June), No. 5, 298-300.
  • Karwan, Kirk R., Robert L. Underwood and Thomas I. Smythe (2009), "Undergraduate Management Education for Sustainability: A Perspective from the Liberal Arts," in Management Education for Global Sustainability, Vol. 8 in the Research in Management Education and Development Series, Charles Wankel and James A.F. Stoner, editors. IAP Publishers, Charlotte, NC, 265-281.
  • Ayers, Douglas J. and Robert L. Underwood (2007), "Integrating Concepts across Marketing Courses via Experiential Learning," in the Journal for Advancement of Marketing Education, 11 (Winter), 63-68.
  • Underwood, Robert L. and Douglas J. Ayers (2004), "The Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail: Golf's Greatest Road Trip," in Case Research Journal, 24 (2), 71-87.
  • Underwood, Robert L. (2003), "The Communicative Power of Product Packaging: Creating Brand Identity via Lived and Mediated Experience," in the Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice, 11 (1), 62-76.
  • Underwood, Robert L. and Noreen Klein (2002), "Packaging as Brand Communication: Effects of Product Pictures on Consumer Responses to the Package and Brand," in the Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice, 10 (4), 58-68.
  • Underwood, Robert L., Noreen Klein, and Ray Burke (2001), "Packaging Communication: Attentional Effects of Product Imagery," in the Journal of Product and Brand Management, 10 (7), 403-422.
  • Underwood, Robert L. and William Engelbrecht (2001), "Going for Broke in the Burger Business: Gardenburger, Inc.," in Annual Advances in Business Cases, 161-175.
  • Underwood, Robert L., Robert Baer, and Edward Bond (2001), "Building Service Brands Via Social Identity: Lessons from the Sports Marketplace," in Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice, 9 (1), 1-13.
  • Sirgy, M. Joseph, Muris Cicic, Don Rahtz and Robert L. Underwood (2000), "A Method for Assessing Residents' Satisfaction with Community-Based Services: A Quality-of-Life Perspective," Social Indicators Research, 49 (3), 279-316.
  • Underwood, Robert L. and Julie Ozanne (1998), "Is Your Package an Effective Communicator? A Normative Framework for Increasing the Communicative Competence of Packaging," in Journal of Marketing Communications, 4 (4), 207-220.
  • Underwood, Robert L., Thomas I. Smythe, Beth Pontari, and Sean Hastings (2015), "Advertising Appeals across Varying Economic and Regulatory Conditions: A Longitudinal Content Analysis in the Mutual Fund Industry," in Journal of Financial Services Marketing, Vol. 20 (September), 162-175.