2021 Best Undergraduate Professors: Andrew Bennett, Old Dominion University, Strome College of Business

Andrew Bennett

Old Dominion University, Strome College of Business

“I have been fortunate enough to experience Dr. Bennett’s instruction at both the undergraduate and graduate level at ODU. Without hesitation, I would name both of the classes I have taken with Dr. Bennett the most engaging and thought-provoking yet. It is a rare opportunity to learn from a professor so adept in his craft all while making sure each student feels cared for, validated, and challenged in the best way.” – Jaye Hughes, student

Andrew Bennett, 39, is Assistant Professor of Management at Old Dominion University’s Strome College of Business, where he’s worked since 2016. At the undergraduate level, he teaches Negotiations and Contemporary Organizations and Management (Principles of Management), and he teaches Organizational Behavior at the graduate level.

He has a PhD in Business from Virginia Commonwealth University; an MA in Organizational Leadership from Gonzaga University; and a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Clemson University. 

Professor Bennett has received multiple teaching grants to create open education resources which he uses both with Strome’s undergraduate students but also with multiple non-profit organizations in the area helping at-risk high school students, says Strome Associate Dean Constance Merriman. In his nominations, he was described as a supportive teaching supervisor who helps students publish their research

“Scholarly, Andrew’s scientific research has contributed greatly both in theory and practice,” says Nathapon Siangchokyoo, an Assistant Professor of Management at Old Dominion University. “He consistently publishes high-quality research, several of which have been featured in academic and non-academic outlets.”

Bennett is the winner of the Strome College of Business Outstanding Teacher Award and the New Educator Award from the Management and Organizational Behavior Teaching Society. He also won the 2021 Best Paper Award for a co-authored teaching exercise published in Management Teaching Review.

“He is a champion of business education and continuously works to help all educators improve and develop their teaching,” says Micheal Stratton, Dean of the J. Whitney Bunting College of Business and the President of the Management and Organizational Behavior Teaching Society, says Bennet.


I knew I wanted to be a business school professor when… I worked with several organizations in my 20s and had a few fantastic bosses and a few not-so-great bosses. The great bosses helped me become a better manager, and it was then when I realized that so many management skills could be taught – and that I wanted to teach in a business school to help others learn those skills.

What are you currently researching and what is the most significant discovery you’ve made from it? Much of my research focuses on how people can replenish their energy and be less stressed while at work. I’ve been fascinated by many of our findings. For example, in one study we found that feeling more connected to a group online can reduce videoconference fatigue (Zoom fatigue). Another study we conducted discovered that just a 1-minute break watching a funny video can help you feel less exhausted.

If I weren’t a business school professor, I’d be… Part of the Disney Imagineering team designing rides and guest experiences at theme parks.

What do you think makes you stand out as a professor? I am very enthusiastic and try to make learning as active an experience as possible.

One word that describes my first time teaching: Terrified. I felt like such an imposter when I walked into the classroom. (I still feel that way now, I just know how to handle it better).

Here’s what I wish someone would’ve told me about being a business school professor: How much fun it is!

Professor I most admire and why: There are so, so many people I admire that I can’t pick just one. Lots of people who previously received this award amaze me – they’ve changed the way we think, they are exceptional teachers, and they are wonderful people. My PhD advisors Doug Pugh (VCU) and Allison Gabriel (Arizona) fit that description very well, as do many other colleagues. A few undergrad professors at Clemson (Richard Figliola, Cecil Huey, Todd May) were fantastic educators and scholars that I still try to emulate.


What do you enjoy most about teaching business students? I love how my students continue to challenge themselves and the world they live in and that I get to be part of that journey.

What is most challenging? Helping students focus on the big picture (learning and growing as a person) in addition to grades.

In one word, describe your favorite type of student: Inquisitive

In one word, describe your least favorite type of student: Lazy

When it comes to grading, I think students would describe me as… Fair (at least I hope so!)


What are your hobbies? Running, swimming, travel (I love seeing new places)

How will you spend your summer? Working on research projects and hopefully traveling to a few new countries and states

Favorite place(s) to vacation: Beach (I’m so glad I live near the ocean)

Favorite book(s): The Giver by Lois Lowry

What is currently your favorite movie and/or show and what is it about the film or program that you enjoy so much? There have been a lot of great TV shows to binge-watch the past few years, but I keep coming back to shows on PBS – probably because I always learning something.

What is your favorite type of music or artist(s) and why? I listen to a lot of instrumental and classical music when I work. However, I have a party playlist that spans so many generations and genres of artists. All the songs have great energy that you can sing along with (e.g., Queen, Stevie Wonder, CCR, Lizzo).


If I had my way, the business school of the future would have much more of this… Ways to experience and interact with individuals from different backgrounds, life experiences, and cultures.

In my opinion, companies and organizations today need to do a better job at… Putting people first.

I’m grateful for… The opportunity to do what I love every day.

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