University of Tennessee

Neeraj Bharadwaj Honored With Chancellor’s Excellence in Teaching Award

June 6, 2022

Neeraj Bharadwaj, professor of marketing at the Haslam College of Business, has been honored with the 2021-22 Chancellor’s Excellence in Teaching Award. The award, bestowed by the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Office of the Chancellor and the Teaching Council of the Faculty Senate, honors outstanding work in the classroom.

Bharadwaj has taught at UT since 2013. Prior to that, he served on the faculty at Temple University, Babson College, the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Chicago. He also has served as a consultant and seminar leader for government clients and leading multinational corporations.

His teaching philosophy comes from a maxim an executive shared with him during his years in the corporate world: “Any endeavor that you ever pursue should allow you to learn, apply what you are learning and have some fun along the way.” 

“Those words drive me to design each course to deliver on all three facets and continually update my course content to reflect cutting-edge academic research and contemporary business practices,” Bharadwaj says.

Alex Zablah, head of the marketing department at Haslam, nominated Bharadwaj for the award.

“Neeraj is a master teacher who excels in the delivery of courses at the undergraduate, master’s and doctoral levels,” Zablah says. “His passion for his students is rivaled only by his methodical preparation for every class session. He deserves to be recognized as one of the best instructors on our campus.”

Nominees underwent a rigorous selection process. After reviewing all nominations, the Teaching and Learning Committee of the Faculty Senate selected semi-finalists, who were then required to submit a current CV, a representative syllabus from a current course and a statement explaining their teaching philosophy. The committee then chose finalists and observed them in the classroom to select four winners. Because Bharadwaj is on sabbatical, the committee based their appraisal of his teaching on a recorded session from fall 2021.

Commitment to Teaching and Research

Bharadwaj’s commitment to excellence in the classroom has earned him numerous honors over the course of his career, including being named one of Poets & Quants’ Top 40 Undergraduate Business Professors (2017) and receiving the Allen H. Keally Excellence in Teaching Award from the Haslam College of Business (2017). He says receiving the Chancellor’s Excellence in Teaching Award feels especially significant because it marks the first time he has received university-wide recognition for his teaching efforts. 

“This award does feel particularly special,” he says. “When I shared news of it with John Nevin, my dissertation advisor at the University of Wisconsin, he said, ‘In my mind, there is no more important personal recognition than a university-level teaching award.’”

Bharadwaj is often recognized for his research activity as well. He is currently a Neel Corporate Governance Center Research Fellow and the Charlie and Caroline Newcomer Faculty Research Fellow at Haslam. He is the founding member of the Sustainability Research Network, an interdisciplinary community of scholars at the college and beyond who strive to understand the business implications of firms’ environmental and/or societal initiatives. His current research examines the role marketing and sustainability play in shaping consumer attitudes and behavior.

“Marketing is such a dynamic field, which requires me to keep up with the latest developments regarding customer preferences, data analytics and technology,” he says. “I find it rewarding to guide the next generation of managers and scholars on how to devise strategies that can shape favorable attitudes toward companies and their offerings and drive profitable customer growth.”


Stacy Estep, writer/publicist,