Andrew Nelson headshot

Distinguished Award for Nelson

Andrew Nelson may have one of the longest titles in Lundquist College of Business history. In December, he earned one more: Stewart Distinguished Professor.

Announced at the Lundquist College of Business holiday party with the Stewart family in attendance, the annual award recognizes stellar faculty for accomplishments that lead to distinction at a world-class level and further the strategic objectives of the college.

Nelson is an associate professor of management; the university's associate vice president for entrepreneurship and innovation; and academic director of Lundquist Center for Entrepreneurship. Somehow he manages to balance those demands while making time for students.

As Edward Maletis Dean Sarah E. Nutter said in her announcement to the college, Nelson is endlessly working to strengthen cross-campus collaboration at the University of Oregon, citing his work with the Phil and Penny Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact and the UO Innovation Summit as recent examples.

Management department head Anne Parmigiani echoed the dean's sentiment in her nomination letter, adding Nelson's research is “a fabulous example of cross-disciplinary research that is difficult to conduct but is highly impactful. He also has several projects in his pipeline at the intersection of technology change and entrepreneurship."

In just one example of that technical intersection, Nelson's most recent publication, “If Chemists don't Do It, Who's Going To?: Peer-Driven Occupational Change and the Emergence of Green Chemistry" examines the emergence of green (sustainable) chemistry, how we define it, and how students and chemists in the field use it.

The article appeared in the top management journal Administrative Science Quarterly and collaborators include former Lundquist faculty member Jennifer Howard-Grenville, now of Cambridge University, UO Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry assistant department head Julie Haack, former Lundquist PhD student Andrew Earle, now of University of New Hampshire, and Doug Young of Lane Community College.

In January 2018, the work won the inaugural Presidential Award for Responsible Research in Management, cosponsored by the Community for Responsible Research in Business and Management and the International Association for Chinese Management Research, which honors high-quality research that addresses critical issues in business and society.

And it's not just scholars looking to work with Nelson.

Students lucky enough to experience Nelson as a professor give him consistently high evaluations—he has won nearly every teaching award available.

“He personifies the world-class standard that this award represents," said Doug Wilson, Powell Distinguished Senior Instructor II of Marketing, in his letter nominating Nelson for the Stewart professorship. “In addition to multiple areas of service, Andrew is consistently viewed as one of the most engaging and influential teachers in the Lundquist College of Business for undergraduate and graduate courses."

Nelson said he was honored and humbled by the recognition, adding, “My five-year-old got to be there for the presentation. To have her look at me and tell me she was proud was the best part."

Looking ahead, Nelson counts several research projects in the works, as well as supporting the Knight Campus, which he sees as one of UO's most promising initiatives to date.

“The Knight Campus is an inherently interdisciplinary—it's baked into its very DNA," Nelson said.

The goal of the campus is to accelerate scientific discovery to positively impact research, new product development, and, by extension, our lives. But science alone is not going to accomplish that mission, Nelson said.

“The business school is very intimately engaged in contributing to how we will actually commercialize research insights and form the relationships necessary to accomplish that mission."

Knowing one's mission is no doubt a factor in Nelson's success with students, faculty, research, and service. After all, the heart of entrepreneurship and innovation isn't the sale—though that is important too—it's the chance to problem solve.

“I see entrepreneurship, fundamentally, as a process of identifying problems and executing on creative solutions to those problems," Nelson said. “You can create a lot of value by designing solutions to challenges in business. But you can also apply that same perspective to enabling access to clean water, addressing homelessness, or figuring out how to make government function more efficiently and transparently. There are endless ways that entrepreneurship and the work we do at Lundquist can and do make the world a better place."