Award pays tribute to experiential learning

By Briena Barrett

“Only so much can be taught, the rest must be learned through experience.” – Associate Professor Adam Barsky

Learning through doing is key to successful education says Faculty of Business and Economics Associate Professor Adam Barsky – this year’s Edward Brown Award for Teaching Excellence recipient.

Associate Professor Barsky, who has been teaching in the Department of Management and Marketing for more than 12 years, doesn’t confine the learning experience to the classroom.

“In the subject Conflict and Negotiation I use a series of simulated negotiations to teach the course material. The students put theory into practice by negotiating a deal with other students,” he explains.

Associate Professor Adam Barsky

“In another subject I teach – Social Entrepreneurship – I guide the students through the process of starting their own social enterprise, including pitching to real investors and creating their own crowdfunding campaign.”

The annual award celebrates teaching excellence at the University of Melbourne. Associate Professor Barsky holds a PhD in Industrial and Organisational Psychology and drew on this expertise to motivate students.

“For example, I encourage students to think as individuals. I design my classes so that the students decide how they are going to work on projects and solve problems, and are inspired to experiment with new ideas,” he explains.

“I also encourage collaborative work, where students work together towards a common goal and feel a sense of community within the classroom.”

Head of the Department of Management and Marketing Professor Prakash Singh says the feedback from Associate Professor Barsky’s students speaks volumes.

“We consistently receive positive comments from his students, particularly about his dynamic approaches to teaching.”

“For Associate Professor Barsky, teaching is much more than about academic performance – it’s about students reaching their potential, and developing the real world skills that industry needs.”

Away from teaching, Associate Professor Barsky’s has produced top-tier research. His most recent paper published in the Journal of Consumer Research explores how the production and appreciation of humour influences consumer goals and well-being.