A. Gary Anderson
Graduate School of Management

‘I Would Take His Class Again in a Heartbeat’

Professor Ye Li receives the Golden Apple Award for Teaching Excellence from business students
By Laurie McLaughlin |

“Experiential learning” is a term bandied about in academia, but how does it work in practice? Associate Professor of Management Ye Li at UCR’s School of Business lays out exactly what it looks like within his graduate courses.

“Experiential learning includes online surveys, in-class polls, simulated decisions, games, and group projects,” says Li. “My lectures provide relatable, recent examples to help clarify and cement concepts that will be remembered past finals week.”

Ye Li, Associate Professor of Management, UCR School of Business
Ye Li, associate professor of management

Li also spends a great deal of time guaranteeing each student completes the quarter with a full understanding of the material: “To ensure that students can learn and improve, I provide substantial feedback, usually five to 10 sentences in length,” he says. “To encourage class discussion, which is sometimes hard for those who are anxious or do not speak English fluently, I try to foster a friendly, inclusive environment.

“I emphasize that getting things wrong in a safe environment is important for learning, and failure leads to success even more than does initial success.”

His graduate students appreciate his approach: They presented Li with the 2021-2022 Golden Apple Award for Teaching Excellence for graduate elective courses, an honor for which he tied in the student voting with Associate Dean for Graduate Programs and Professor of Marketing Rami Zwick.

“Dr. Li has one of the most engaging, exciting, informational, and relevant classes I have ever had the pleasure of taking,” wrote one student voter. “He genuinely cares about his students and goes above and beyond to help students stay on track.

“He even takes the time to analyze the data we provide him, and he tells us what the data means. I would take his class again in a heartbeat.”

Selected by Poets & Quants for their 2020 Best 40 Under 40 Business Professors listing, Li’s research is on decision-making and behavioral economics, and he examines the psychology of how and why people make suboptimal decisions. He is particularly interested in the role of time in decision-making.

In the classroom, he says, “How people make decisions is an important set of skills for students to have. So, it is satisfying to see students start to understand the concepts in my class.

“Even better, is when they get in contact years later and tell me how useful the class concepts were for their careers and life decisions.”