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Stephanie M. Noble, Proffitt’s Professor of Marketing and William B. Stokely Faculty Research Fellow in the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Haslam College of Business, has been named to Poets&Quants For Undergrads’ list of 50 Best Undergrad Professors for 2021. She was selected from a group of more than a thousand business professors who received nominations from students and faculty across the country.

Noble joined the college in 2011 and currently teaches marketing research at the undergraduate level as well as a consumer behavior seminar for PhD students. She said she was “beyond thrilled” to learn she had been selected.

Customer Insights and Applied Research

With a background in psychology, Noble became interested in pursuing a career as a business professor while she was working in marketing research, where she used her psychology training to explore customer insights.

“I loved the applied nature of working with clients,” she said. “My favorite research projects as a business professor are the ones where my co-authors and I partner with clients.”

Noble’s primary research interests involve customer experience management in retail and service settings. Much of her current research explores how technology in those settings can impact customer spending and store sales. A paper she co-authored, “The Sales Impact of Using Handheld Scanners: Evidence from the Field,” which appeared in the Journal of Marketing Research in 2020, found that using in-store handheld scanners gave consumers a sense of control and made them enjoy shopping more, leading them to make more unplanned and healthier purchases than shoppers who did not use the devices.

Making an Impact on Students

Noble’s subject expertise was a major factor in motivating students to nominate her for the award. Multiple nominators also cited her teaching ability and her compassion, a trait that has led some students to refer to her as their “academic mom.”

Chloe Pigue (’21), originally from Nashville, Tennessee, calls Noble an incredibly experienced and knowledgeable professor. “She exudes humility and kindness,” Pigue said. “She is the coolest and most down-to-earth professor that I’ve ever had the pleasure of learning from.”

Allison Herring (’19) from Skillman, New Jersey, recalls Noble’s availability for helping students during her culminating market research project. “While this project was daunting at first, she made understanding the statistical material easy,” Herring said. “She used her own research as examples to help ingrain concepts and involve the class in group discussions.”

For Noble, knowing that her students made a special effort to recommend her for the Poets&Quants honor makes it particularly meaningful.

“I have taught students for more than 20 years and being there to support them, not just in the classroom but in life, is a privilege,” Noble said. “Learning I was selected as one of the recipients of the award was truly humbling, since it reflects my students’ voices and what they value.”


Stacy Estep (, 865-974-7881)

Brooks Clark (, 865-974-5471)