June 9, 1994
Vol. 13, No. 20

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    Sanjay Dhar wins GSB's Emory Williams Award

    Sanjay Dhar, Assistant Professor in the Graduate School of Business, has been awarded the GSB's 1994 Emory Williams Award for Excellence in Teaching. Dhar was chosen by a student committee that solicited nominations from classmates in the GSB's campus, executive, evening, and weekend programs. The award is made based on accessibility, enthusiasm, clarity and innovation in teaching.

    "It's the recognition from students that is most rewarding," Dhar said. "It reinforces that the job I'm doing in the classroom is satisfying the 'customers.' "

    Inherent in Dhar's teaching style is empathy with students. "I think back to when I was a student, about what I liked about certain teachers, and what I liked about the way my father taught me things," he said. "Every class has a different personality, so I try to come up with the best way to tailor my style to each class."

    Overall, Dhar pointed out, Chicago students have in common many characteristics. "The students are great," he said. "They come prepared, they're energetic, and they are sincere about wanting to get as much as possible out of class. As a result of this, the teacher puts in more and pushes the class, which in turn gets students to respond -- a cascading effect that leads to a higher quality of classroom experience."

    Dhar received a degree in mechanical engineering in 1983 from the Indian Institute of Technology and took a position at the Unilever Corporation. He received his M.B.A. from the Indian Institute of Management in 1987 and his Ph.D. from UCLA in 1992, the same year he joined the faculty at Chicago.

    Faculty colleagues made him feel very welcome, Dhar recalled.

    "I'd been a teaching assistant before, but my first full teaching assignment was at Chicago," he said. "My colleagues were terrific. They encouraged me to sit in on their classes and gave me tips about teaching here, since every institution is different."

    One difference is the weather. "At UCLA, everybody talked about the beach -- even in winter," Dhar said, chuckling. "In winter here, everyone studies. There's nothing else to do."

    Dhar's research interests include the effect of consumer sales promotions, the introduction and performance of private-label products, and new-product development.

    The Emory Williams Teaching Award was created in 1984 by Emory Williams, former chief executive officer of Sears Bank & Trust Company and of the Chicago Milwaukee Corporation. The award will be presented officially at the Dean's Award Luncheon in the fall.

    -- William S. Bike