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WSB’s Evan Polman Receives Distinguished Teaching Award

By Betsy Lundgren

April 11, 2019

Evan Polman in his office at Grainger Hall
Evan Polman is a recipient of one of this year’s Distinguished Teaching Awards. Photo by Jeff Miller

Evan Polman, assistant professor of marketing at the Wisconsin School of Business, is among ten University of Wisconsin–Madison faculty members chosen to receive one of this year’s Distinguished Teaching Awards, an honor given out since 1953 to recognize the university’s finest educators.

At an awards ceremony on April 10, Chancellor Rebecca Blank and Provost Sarah Mangelsdorf presented Polman with the Class of 1955 Teaching Excellence Award.

The campus announcement described Polman’s teaching in this way:

Polman’s students are transformed by his way of getting them to think curiously and creatively about business practices and marketing. He uses real-life applications and research to guide his lectures and engage his students. By making lectures relevant, Polman inspires incredible classroom discussions that encourage participation from every student. He engages students in learning experiences that demonstrate how marketing as a discipline can positively influence behaviors that improve life.

His teaching is grounded in the realities of the business world, where broad societal issues are too complex for any individual or discipline to fully grasp. By guiding students through the process of complex problem-solving, he facilitates students’ understanding of the limitations of their knowledge that motivates their desire to learn more and value the contributions of others. The cornerstone of his pedagogy is fostering curiosity through critical inquiry about substantial issues. Rather than covering content and asking students questions about it, Polman expects the students to create their own questions and develop the inquiry skills necessary to answer them.

“We are proud that Evan has received this well-deserved recognition, and are both lucky and thrilled to have him as a colleague here at the Wisconsin School of Business,” says Jim Johannes, senior associate dean of faculty and research. “Evan is a superb teacher and researcher, always committed to building inspiring learning experiences for our students. We look forward to his continuing contributions to this School.”

Polman was recently promoted to the rank of associate professor with tenure, effective at the beginning of the 2019-2020 academic year. His research has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Huffington Post, Fast Company, and recently in Harvard Business Review.