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Rong Wang

Assistant Professor, Department of Human and Organizational Development

Rong Wang is an assistant professor of community development and organizational studies in HOD. Dr. Wang was originally trained as a journalist to capture rapid developments in China. She soon learned that journalism did not permit her to tackle systemic challenges. She returned to school and was trained in the field of network analysis and organizational studies to better understand how to leverage multilevel collaboration to solve complex social issues ranging from education inequality and health disparities to human rights violations and climate change.

 Research Area

As a scholar studying multilevel organizational phenomena, Dr. Wang investigates how coordination and collaboration at each level works, and how to evaluate effectiveness in solving social issues. Her work focuses on how to leverage the power of networks and collective intelligence to build a better world. Her work has been published in top-tier communication and organizational journals such as Communication Monographs, Management Communication Quarterly, Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, and Journal of Community Psychology.  Her research has been generously supported by the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, International Development Research Centre (IDRC), the Army Research Office, University of Kentucky, DePaul University, and Northwestern University.


At Vanderbilt, Dr. Wang is teaching Understanding Organizations this fall. Before HOD, she was an assistant professor of communication at the University of Kentucky, teaching undergraduate and graduate classes in organizational communication, crisis and risk communication, negotiation and conflict resolution, and diversity in the workplace. Dr. Wang also taught executive training courses at World Bank-Annenberg Summer institute on reform communication.


Dr. Wang received her Ph.D. and M.A. in communication from the University of Southern California in 2016 and 2014, respectively. She also holds an M.A. in communication and new media from the National University of Singapore and a B.A. in journalism and communication from Nanjing University.


Dr. Wang is an associate editor of Journal of Contemporary Eastern Asia and a guest editor of a special topic “Advances and Impact of Network Methods and Perspectives in the Study of Individual, Group, and Organizational Behaviors” in Frontiers in Human Dynamics.

Community Engagement

Dr. Wang has worked with local nonprofits and social enterprises to help identify effective solutions for complex social issues. In the rise of hate crimes targeting the Asian and Asian American community, Dr. Wang co-organized a rally to raise awareness of racism and micro-aggression. Dr. Wang was the recipient of 2021-2022 College of Communication and Information (University of Kentucky) DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) award. She is excited to form new partnerships with community-based organizations in Nashville to continue her work to understand what drives successful collaboration.