Professor Spotlight: Dr. Shefali Patil (MAN 336H)

For both online and in-person classes, Dr. Shefali Patil takes the Canfield Business Honors management curriculum to the next level. Dr. Patil teaches Organizational Behavior (MAN 336H) where she employs her research on decision making and operating in high-risk environments. Her passion for research stemmed from her own honors program at NYU Stern, where she pursued research in her senior year.

After graduating from Stern, Dr. Patil earned her PhD at Wharton at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Patil said she wanted to continue her work at a research-driven university. 

“I wanted to start off my junior faculty years at a very strong research-based institution,” she said. “UT was definitely on my list and, luckily for me, they offered me a job.”

Throughout her six years at UT, Dr. Patil has examined various behavioral questions by working with over 15 U.S. law enforcement agencies, the U.S. Army, and emergency medical rescue/healthcare organizations. For the past three years, she has been a professor for Canfield BHP. While introductory management courses are often critiqued for being overly theory-driven, Dr. Patil goes above and beyond in her curriculum development.

“I’ve designed my entire course mostly on cognition and thinking skills and I challenge them to see always the opposite viewpoint– to see both angles and complexify the problem,” she said. (The class) is very much geared towards practicality, whereas I think a lot of research-based professors stick more to research in theory. For me, I just feel that undergrads are going onto different career paths, not necessarily research, so (pure research) is not what they need right now.” 

Dr. Patil said that she often implements significant group work and in-class activities to accomplish this application-based learning. As such, one would imagine that the recent pandemic would complicate things for her. Not one to be discouraged, Dr. Patil has actually used the pandemic to enhance her class. 

“I was actually pleasantly surprised because Zoom has amazing capabilities, especially it’s breakout groups. I have centralized my sheets and activities for students to download and then I’ve pre-assigned their breakout groups for (Zoom) classes,” she said. “Despite (everything) that’s going on with coronavirus, the exciting part is that students are relating everything that I’ve taught them in class to what’s going on in the real world.”

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