Julia Christensen Hughes | Gordon S. Lang School of Business and Economics

Julia Christensen Hughes

photo of Julia Christensen Hughes
Former Dean, Gordon S. Lang School of Business and Economics and Distinguished Professor Emerita
School of Hospitality, Food and Tourism Management


Dr. Julia Christensen Hughes (BComm, MBA, PhD) has been on faculty at the University of Guelph since 1987, most recently (2009-2019) having served as dean of the newly named Gordon S. Lang School of Business and Economics. In this role, Julia facilitated the largest single gift ($21M) in the University’s history. Generously provided by Kim and Stu Lang, this historic gift is providing financial support for faculty chairs, student scholarships, innovative programming and building enhancements.

A second notable gift ($7M), from the late John Wood, similarly saw the naming of the John F. Wood Centre in Business and Student Enterprise. With funding for two named chairs and programming, this gift is uniquely providing students from across the university with the opportunity to explore and develop their business and entrepreneurial skills, earning academic credit providing consulting services to local organizations, and developing and launching new businesses of their own.

Other fundraising accomplishments under Julia’s leadership include support for a $12M renovation of campus landmark - Macdonald Hall - providing business students, staff and faculty with a welcoming place to call home. Consistent with the School’s vision “to be and develop leaders for a sustainable world” the building features innovative design elements representing sustainability, collaboration and community. Macdonald Hall houses several flexible classrooms and features coffee from Planet Bean, a local cooperative that is committed to fair trade.

Known as a staunch advocate for transformational learning, Julia also championed a number of pedagogical and curricular innovations. Innovations implemented by Lang faculty include: a revamped Introduction to Business course that “on-boards” students through “the great ethical dilemma”; a required course in corporate social responsibility that engages students with the UN’s sustainable development goals (SDG’s); and a field course in which students explore the potential for entrepreneurship to help economically and socially disadvantaged Canadian communities. Several new majors and minors have also recently been launched, including in accounting, entrepreneurship, sustainability, international business, human resources, data analytics and sport and event management. These offerings provide Lang Bachelor of Commerce and other University of Guelph students with unprecedented choice in developing business acumen, and skills in leadership and entrepreneurship.

Julia’s deanship also saw substantial growth at the graduate level in both masters and PhD programs. A particularly proud accomplishment was Lang’s MBA in Sustainable Commerce being ranked in the top ten globally by Corporate Knights (2018). Further reflecting the School’s commitment to “business as a force for good”, in 2015 Julia was invited to address the United Nations General Assembly, on behalf of the 700+ business school signatories to the UN’s Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) initiative.

Julia’s scholarly interests include talent management, employee and student engagement, organizational and academic integrity, aligning organizational systems with purpose, and creating positive organizational change. As well as having taught and mentored undergraduate and graduate students, Julia provides provocative keynote addresses and facilitates executive development workshops on these topics, particularly within the context of higher education as well as within the hospitality and tourism industry, and food and agribusiness organizations.

Julia’s published work (citations 1244, h-index 13, i10-index 15) includes the co-edited books Handbook of Human Resource Management in the Tourism and Hospitality Industries (2018, with Ron Burke), Edward Elgar and Taking Stock: Research on Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (2010, with Joy Mighty) McGill-Queen’s University Press. She has also published in a variety of journals, including on ethics and integrity in the Canadian Journal of Higher Education.

Julia has received a number of awards and recognitions, including a Graduate Teaching Excellence Award, the Gold Educator award from the Ontario Hostelry Institute (OHI); the Sheffield Award for Excellence in Research from the Canadian Society for the Study of Higher Education; the University of Guelph’s John Bell Award, for distinguished educational leadership; and the Woman of Distinction Award from the Guelph YMCA, for outstanding contributions to education and training.

Currently on administrative leave, Julia is pursuing a number of writing projects, including co-editing two books that will provide updates of earlier work on academic integrity and the need to transform higher education.  She is also helping organizational leaders and business owners respond to the disruption of Covid-19, through webinars and participation on boards and task forces, including the Globally Responsible Leadership Initiative, the Telosity Company, and the City of Guelph’s Mayor’s Task-force on Economic Recovery.

York University - Schulich School of Business
Phd, Organizational Behavior Studies, 1990 – 1994

York University - Schulich School of Business
Master of Business Administration (MBA), Organizational Behavior Studies, 1984 – 1986

University of Guelph
Bachelor of Commerce (BCom), Hotel/Motel Administration/Management, 1977 – 1981

  • 2016: Women of Distinction, Honourary Chair, Guelph YMCA
  • 2015: Invited address, United Nations General Assembly, on behalf of PRME signatories
  • 2012: Educator of the Year, Ontario Hostelry Institute 2011 Woman of Distinction, Education & Training, Guelph YMCA
  • 2008: John Bell Award, Outstanding Educational Leadership, University of Guelph
  • 2007: Edward F. Sheffield Award, “Author judged to be most excellent”, Canadian Journal of Higher Education, Canadian Society for Studies in Education (with Don McCabe)
  • 2003: Highly Commended Award, International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management
  • 1995: Excellence in Graduate Teaching Award, College of Family and Consumer Studies, University of Guelph

Leadership Development, Higher Education Leadership



  • Taking Stock: Research on Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (2010).  Christensen Hughes, J. and Mighty, J. (Eds.).  McGill-Queen’s University Press.
  • Curriculum Development Processes & Practices in Higher Education (2007).  Wolf, P. and Christensen Hughes, J. (Eds.), New Directions for Teaching & Learning, Number 122.  CA: Jossey-Bass.

Selected chapters in books

  • Christensen Hughes, J. & Bertram Gallant, T. (2016). Infusing Ethics and Ethical Decision Making into the Curriculum. In Tracey Bretag (Ed.), Handbook of Academic Integrity (pp. 1055-1073). Singapore:  Springer Science + Business Media. 
  • Christensen Hughes, J., and Mighty, J., (2010). Practices of convenience: Teaching and learning in higher education.  In, Taking Stock: Research on Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (pp. 3-14).  Christensen Hughes, J. and Mighty, J. (Eds.).  McGill-Queen’s University Press.
  • Summerlee A.J.S. and Christensen Hughes, J., (2010). Pressures for change and the future of university education.  In, Taking Stock: Research on Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (pp. 243-260).  Christensen Hughes, J. and Mighty, J. (Eds.).  McGill-Queen’s University Press.
  • Christensen Hughes, J., and Mighty, J. (2010).  A call to action: Barriers to pedagogical innovation and how to overcome them.  In, Taking Stock: Research on Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (pp. 261-277).  Christensen Hughes, J. and Mighty, J. (Eds.).  McGill-Queen’s University Press.
  • Christensen Hughes, Julia (2008).  Human resource management in the hospitality industry.  In Brotherton B., and Wood, R.C. (Eds.), Handbook of Hospitality Management, (pp. 273-301). London: Sage.
  • Christensen Hughes, Julia (2007).  Supporting curriculum assessment and development: Implications for the faculty role and institutional support. In Curriculum Evolution Processes & Practices in Higher Education.  Wolf, P. and Christensen Hughes, J. (Eds.), New Directions for Teaching & Learning, (pp. 107-110).  CA: Jossey-Bass.
  • International Encyclopedia of Hospitality Management (2005).  Pizam A., Editor-in-chief (2005), Oxford, UK: Elsevier Butterworth Heinemann  (J. Christensen Hughes listed as “contributor”).
  • Christensen Hughes, Julia (2003).  The philosophy, practice and promise of empowerment in the hospitality industry.  In Kusluvan, S. (Ed.) Managing Employee Attitudes and Behaviours in the Tourism Industry (pp. 672 – 691).  New York: Nova Science Publishers.
  • Christensen Hughes, Julia (2002).  Developing a classroom vision and implementation plan.  In Chism, N., and Bickford, D. (Eds.) The Importance of Physical Space in Creating Supportive Learning Environments, New Directions in Teaching and Learning, no. 92, winter, 63-72.  San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
  • Christensen Hughes, Julia (2002).  Recruitment and selection issues and strategies within international resort communities.  In D’Annunzio-Green, N., Maxwell, G.A., Watson, S., Cannon, D.F. (Eds.), Human Resource Management: International Perspectives in Hospitality and Tourism (pp. 15 – 34).  London: Continuum. 

Selected papers in refereed journals

  • Charlebois, S., Christensen Hughes, J., & Hielm, S. (2015).  Corporate Philanthropy and Channel Impact in Food Security: The case Nourish by Campbell's Canada.   British Food Journal, 117 (2), 861-879. 
  • Christensen Hughes, J., Rog, E. (2008).  Talent Management: A Strategy for Improving Employee Recruitment, Retention and Engagement within Hospitality Organizations, International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management. 20 (7) 743-757.
  • Christensen Hughes, J., McCabe D.L. (2006).  Understanding academic misconduct.  Canadian Journal of Higher Education.  36(1) 49-63.
  • Christensen Hughes, J., McCabe D.L. (2006).  Academic misconduct within Higher Education in Canada.  Canadian Journal of Higher Education.  36(2) 1-21.
  • Nitsch, D., Baetz, M., Christensen Hughes, J. (2005).  Why code of conduct violations go unreported: A conceptual framework to guide intervention and future research.  Journal of Business Ethics, 57, 324--341.
  • Christensen Hughes, Julia (2002).  HRM and universalism: Is there one best way?  International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 14(5) 221 – 228.
  • Christensen Hughes, Julia (1997).  Sociological paradigms and the use of ethnography in hospitality research.  Hospitality Research Journal, 21(1)14-27.
  • Christensen, Julia (1993).  The diversity dynamic: Implications for organizations in 2005.  Hospitality Research Journal, 17(1)69-86.
  • Christensen, J. M. (1992).  Cultural diversity: The lesson of Toronto’s hotels.  Cornell Quarterly, 33(2)78-87.
  • Howard, W., McEwan, K., Brinkman, G., Christensen, J.  (1991). Human resource management on the farm: Attracting, keeping, and motivating labour.  Agribusiness, 7(1)11 - 26.

*This is a select list of presentations.

  • Christensen Hughes, J. (2016). The Changing Context of Teaching and Learning & the Implications for University Leadership, Keynote Address. Niagara College Spotlight on Teaching, Niagara, Ontario.
  • Christensen Hughes, J. (2015). The Role of Business Schools in Contributing to the Achievement of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s). Invited speaker, United Nations General Assembly, NYC:  Other speakers included:  Mr. Paul Polman, CEO, Unilever; Mr. Fu Chengyu, Chairman, Global Compact Local Network China; Ms. Erika Karp, Founder and CEO, Cornerstone Capital Inc. Others in attendance:  H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General, United Nations and H.E. Mr. Sam K. Kutesa, President UN General Assembly. Link to address, presentation starts at 1:31.
  • Christensen Hughes, J. (2014).  The Power of Entrepreneurship, Sustainable Tourism and Education to Transform Lives. Keynote Address. Tourism Education Futures Initiative (TEFI) annual conference, University of Guelph.
  • Christensen Hughes, J. (2012). Integrity in the Academy: Imperatives, Incentives and Innovations.   Keynote Address.  Fall Perspectives on Teaching Conference.  University of Western Ontario.
  • Christensen Hughes, J. (2012).  Education at the Cross-Roads: An Imperative to Change.  Symposium on Teaching and learning: Leading change @SFU.  Keynote address.  Annual Symposium, Simon Fraser University.
  • Christensen Hughes, J. (2011).  Diversifying Blended Learning: Diverse learners, needs and approaches in a cost-effective environment.  COHERE annual conference.  Cambridge Ontario. 
  • Christensen Hughes, J. (2011).  Taking Stock: The implications for faculty teaching & research.  Innovations in Learning: Scholarship of Teaching and |Learning.  7th annual UBC (Okanagan) Learning Conference.  Keynote address.
  • Christensen Hughes, J. (2011).  The changing context of teaching and learning and the implications for university leadership.  Opportunities and new directions: A research conference on teaching and learning.  University of Waterloo.  Workshop for senior administration.
  • Christensen Hughes, J. (2011).  The SoTL imperative: Towards greater dissemination and evidence-based practice.  Opportunities and new directions: A research conference on teaching and learning.  University of Waterloo.  Keynote address.
  • Christensen Hughes, J. (2011).  Taking Stock: Research on Teaching and Learning & the Implications for Management Education.  Visualizing the Future of Accounting Education.  Kwantlen Polytechnic University. Keynote address.
  • Christensen Hughes, J. (2011).  Fostering Deep Learning: How Research Can Help Make it Happen.  A Celebration of Teaching Showcase.  University of Toronto, Scarborough Campus.  Keynote address.
  • 2015-2016:  Globe and Mail.  "Why sustainable business begins in the classroom." OpEd.  

  • 2014-2015:  CTV News, Kitchener, Canada-Ontario.  Interviewed by CTV News – Kitchener,  "Cheating via Group Work".

  • 2013-2014:  Globe and Mail – “Cheating said to be on rise in North American B-schools”, Toronto, Canada-Ontario; Metro-Morning (CBC-Toronto).  Interviewed on 'campus cheating';  CBC News (National).  Interviewed on 'campus cheating

  • 2012-2013:  CBC's The Current with Anna Maria Tremonti - Prevalence of Cheating in Canadian Universities, Toronto, Canada; TVO, Toronto, Canada-Ontario.  The Future of Higher Education: How are universities and colleges evolving to meet the needs of future students?  Looking towards the future of higher learning in the latest installment of The Agenda's Learning 2030 series. Globe and Mail. "Learning is More than a lecture." OpEd. 

  • 2008-2009:  CBC Radio, Calgary, Canada-Alberta (National).  CBC Radio syndication – separate interviews in Moncton, Corner Brook, Whitehorse, Calgary on Ryerson cheating scandal.

  • 2007-2008:  Quoted numerous times in University Affairs, the Globe & Mail, and the National Post following my research being featured as a cover story on the MacLean’s Feb 12, 2007 issue;  TVO, Toronto, Canada.  Cheating in the public school system; CBC, Canada.  Filmed for CBC documentary on “Liars and Lying.”

  • 2006-2007:  CTV Radio, Canada.  Interview on CTV’s Canada AM; CBC Radio, Canada.  Interview with Michael Enright, CBC Radio’s “Sunday Edition.”

  • 2005-2006:  University of Guelph News Release - Academic Misconduct Major Problem in Canada, Study Finds, Guelph, Canada-Ontario.