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ASU management professor named a Best 40 Under 40 Professor of 2020

Ned Wellman

Assistant Professor Edward "Ned" Wellman.

May 04, 2020

With thousands of Google Scholar citations and dozens of nominations singing his praises, 37-year-old Assistant Professor of management and entrepreneurship Edward "Ned" Wellman, who has been at the W. P. Carey School of Business since 2013, rose to the top of Poets and Quants Best 40 Under 40 Professors of 2020.

Wellman’s negotiations class, which he teaches to full-time and evening MBA students, has been a particular hit among the MBAs at W. P. Carey. But perhaps more importantly, Wellman is more than a teacher — he's an advocate, according to at least one nominator.

“Professor Wellman is an advocate for his students in every sense,” the nominator said. “In his negotiations course, he runs a class structured around active learning and experience. We navigated many different types of negotiation scenarios to prepare us for as many real situations we may experience as possible. As I was working on starting a small business for my summer internship, the most difficult negotiation I encountered was a virtual mirror of a case we studied in class. Having prior experience in this situation made it possible for me to remain calm, stay focused on my goals and reservation points and, ultimately, complete the negotiation successfully. Professor Wellman was also available throughout the summer to offer advice and support. When I later received a job offer, Professor Wellman took the time to review my offer with me and suggested strategies for negotiating my terms. Professor Wellman is invested in our success and is dedicated to ensuring that we have a meaningful and impactful MBA experience.”

"We have great students here at ASU. I am continually inspired by them," Wellman said. "What I enjoy most about teaching is that I feel like I learn as much from my students as they learn from me. Our students come from a wide variety of backgrounds, and I appreciate it when they share their views and experiences related to the topics we are covering in class.

"At the moment, my biggest challenge is figuring out how to best engage with students virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic," Wellman added. "I'd never taught online, and I had to move two classes online at short notice. I have been pleasantly surprised at how much interaction and action learning is possible teaching remotely, but there was definitely a steep learning curve for me."

Starting in fall 2020, Wellman will be teaching leadership development to the full-time MBA students and taking over as faculty director of the business school’s executive mentoring program for full-time MBAs. 

When Wellman isn't teaching, he's studying leadership. 

"One project of mine that I'm excited about looks at how formal leadership roles are distributed in teams," he said. "The traditional assumption is that it's most effective for teams to use pyramid-shaped formal leadership structures, with one or a few leaders and everyone else having lower levels of authority. My co-authors and I found that these structures are only effective when team members can easily assess one another’s preferences about how to proceed on their tasks — for instance, when the team works on a stable, repetitive task."

His research shows that when work is more varied and ambiguous, a pyramid is actually one of the least effective ways to structure formal leadership, and other approaches — for instance, an inverse-pyramid shaped leadership structure — seem to be more effective.

Wellman conducted this research with some colleagues at ASU and it is currently in press at the Academy of Management Journal.

"I think our work has important implications for how the members of organizations think about assigning people to leadership positions," Wellman said.

“In one of the most collaborative and approachable MBA programs in the U.S., Professor Wellman was one of the easiest to build a connection with," a student wrote in their nomination. "He was just genuine and personable — his course content and teaching style was effective and tangible. I can say his class was one of the most impactful on my career moving forward. He also took his research experience and applied it to classroom discussion, helping us students to better understand new developments in management theory.”

The W. P. Carey School is also celebrating this year’s Teaching Award winners, which includes some new categories for the year.

"This speaks to our focus on innovative approaches to business education while also staying true to the university’s charter to measure ourselves on who we include and how our students succeed," Dean Amy Hillman said.

2019–20 Teaching Award Winners

"Entrepreneurial Approach to Learning" Teaching Innovation Award
Bart Hobijn (economics)
Melissa Samuelson (accountancy)

"Business is Personal" Inclusive Teaching Award
Matt Sopha (information systems)
Kelvin Wong (economics)

"Rethinking Business Education" Outstanding Online Teaching Award
Kate Eaton (marketing)
Jeffrey Englin (agribusiness)

Huizingh Outstanding Undergraduate Teacher Award
John Dietrich (marketing)
Robert Wiedmer (supply chain management)

Huizingh Award for Undergraduate Service to Students
Adegoke Oke (supply chain management)

Outstanding Graduate Teaching Award
Donald Goldman (accountancy)
Donald Lange (management and entrepreneurship)
Margaret Luciano (management and entrepreneurship)

John W. Teets Outstanding Teaching Awards
Undergraduate Teaching — Christopher Neck (management and entrepreneurship)
Undergraduate TA — Jorge Mesias Moreno (economics)
Graduate — Eugene Schneller (supply chain management)

Also check out the new Dean’s List for Teaching Impact, which highlights a larger group of W. P. Carey faculty committed to excellence in the classroom. 

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