Nicholas Molnar: This begins the second interview with Dr. Philip Shaak in Brielle, New Jersey on August 23, 2011. Thank you Dr. Shaak for having us here again at your home in Brielle. In the previous interview, we stopped with your time as an instructor at University College and commuting to the Newark campus. Is there anything that really jumps out at you in terms of preparing as a first time professor for your courses? Did you find any of that challenging?
PS: I certainly did. Do you want to pick up from the last interview--some history--what it was like in the 1940s growing up? I've got a list of talking points here I could go through very quickly.
NM: Yes, please.
PS: ... Growing up in Manasquan as a youngster in the late 1930s and 1940s, ... during those years, there were no automatic shift cars, no portable radios, no television, no cell phones, no computers, no electric razors, no remote controls, no frozen foods, no electric type writers, no electric cash registers, no ATMs, no credit cards, no telephone answering machines, no laptops, no jet airplanes, no diesel electric railroad engines, no automatic railroad gates, no warehouse stores like Costco, no powered lawn mowers, and no prepackaged prescription drugs. There's just a panorama of things that we take for granted today that we didn't have then. In terms of life at home and out of school, every house had clothes lines and clothes poles. Women used to take carpet beaters and throw carpets over the line and beat the daylights out of them to get the dust out of them in the spring and in the fall. We had little pot stoves for heating hot water, coal fire furnaces. The groceries used to itemize purchases on a paper bag with the prices totaling with a pencil. Party line telephones--there were three or four parties on the telephone for most people. Not many people had private lines, so when you picked up the phone, you might well listen to your neighbors on a party telephone. There were milkmen. During the war there was a rationing of gasoline. Every car had either an A sticker, B sticker, or C sticker depending upon your employment and how far you really had to travel. ... Most people had A stickers which really limited the amount of gasoline you could buy during the war. ... There were steam locomotives, not diesel electric. All the houses in this area had blackout shades. There was food rationing, food stamps, and a lot of home food canning was going on. Very few showers and in homes, there were bathtubs. The water taxes in Manasquan, in those years were one dollar per month in Manasquan. In Manasquan there was a police force of three people--a police chief and two other policemen--that was it. Because the volunteer fire company was stripped of manpower, the fire company went into the high schools and recruited junior firemen--juniors and seniors. ... For a year or two, I was an illustrious junior fireman. People had ice boxes--not refrigerators--and dishwashers, there was hand washing of dishes. That's just a little background from the previous interview that we had. ...
Shaun Illingworth: The technological advances you just mentioned fueled the American business boom of the late twentieth century. When you were on the faculty at University College particularly, but later on, was that something that you were trying to bring into the classroom? Was there enthusiasm for what you saw as potentially as a huge growth in American business and the American economy?
PS: Yes, I think we just generally sensed we were on the threshold of a tremendous amount of growth in the country, and in our economy, yes. ... At University College, the students were all employed, and they were striving to get ahead. They had very high motivation, and some were achievers already in their companies, and they just realized that they ... enhanced their backgrounds if they got a degree. ... Generally, you think evening classes, people drowsy, sleepy, tired, and all that, but generally I would say, people were highly motivated and ... it was a wonderful group of people to teach. ...
NM: What industries did you find your students coming from? Was it a particular industry or was it across many different companies?
PS: Well, I had classes both in Newark and New Brunswick, so Johnson and Johnson, Merck, Hoffman Roche, Prudential of course. ... Mutual Benefit Life then in Newark was a major employer. So, a lot of large commercial operations as well as many manufacturing operations. ... Back in the '50s, General Motors and Ford had assembly plants on Route 1, and I'm sure we had people from those plants--certainly in the New Brunswick classes, yes. They were, in those days, big employers. ...
NM: In the 1950s, you are obtaining your degrees and are also teaching full time. Did you still have time to follow the events that were happening in the world?
PS: Yes, the answer your question, but not in great detail. Frankly, the first year I was teaching--I started in January of '53--and all of a sudden I'm faced with a full course load. That was twelve credit hours and I spent days, every day, intensely preparing for those classes. ... I also started--it was probably in the fall of 1954--I started the doctoral program at NYU on Wednesday nights. It must have been Wednesday nights because I was teaching Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday nights, so I had that doctoral work going on too. So, it was a very full schedule I must say, yes.
NM: The first semester I find is very hard to prepare for courses.
NM: Were you given a chance to teach some of the courses you had already prepared for in previous semesters?
PS: ... Oh, yes, I did. Therefore, that following term after the initial term was a bit easier, but then I wanted to pick up some additional courses ... because I was starting in the industrial engineering area and that was all right, but I wanted to get into human resources and also business policy and strategy. So, I was able to pick up other courses in subsequent terms and that made more interesting teaching, of course, to kind of broaden out, yes.
SI: Why did your interest shift towards human resources?
PS: I was influenced, I would say heavily, by Professor Cambreleng, and then, with going into strategy and policy, that really followed the Harvard Business School experience. It was just more an administrative point of view at the Harvard Business School, so I kind of moved up in my interest organizationally, to a broader scope. ...
SI: You mentioned in the previous interview that Rutgers was looking to get people into the Harvard Business program or professors who graduated from the Harvard Business program.
PS: It was the business school, Rutgers Business School. George Esterly had a Harvard MBA. ... He and Professor William J. Von Minden and a few others had started a business school in Newark, I believe, in the 1930s. Then the war came along and all of their students evaporated, they went into the military right after the war [began]. Then George Esterly wanted to rebuild the business school and then Rutgers came in, I think, fortunately, into Newark, started the Newark campus, Newark College of Arts and Sciences, and also incorporated ... what became the Rutgers Business School. At that point, George Esterly was anxious to recruit Harvard Business School graduates and he started to build the faculty that way, yes.
NM: You enrolled in the NYU program. Can you tell us why that program was of interest to you?
PS: Well, after being on the faculty of University College, ... I realized, "Look, if I'm going to do this as a career I simply have to get a terminal degree," and I considered Columbia and NYU. NYU was quite popular and convenient frankly, geographically, so I started at NYU and they had a very strong faculty, but then as I was in that program a while, it was clear, there were a lot of people in their doctoral program and it was going to take forever to finish that program. I figured, look it's going to be six or seven years before I can ever see the end of this pipeline. ... I think I had mentioned before I had Peter Drucker as a prof for two courses and Herman Kroos, a business historian and economist, for a couple of courses. Really great profs, but I realized I've got to do something other than spend six or seven years part time in a doctoral program. I don't know if I mentioned how I got to Harvard Business School in our previous interview. ... Let me ramble a little bit. Well, my lifelong friend, Art Herbert, I met him in second grade here in Manasquan. Art had gone to Annapolis, he graduated from Annapolis, and was on active duty in the Navy in the ... early 1950s. He was on a tour of duty at Bayonne Navy Supply Depot. ... About 1953 or '54, when I was at NYU, Art and I were talking one day, and his home was down here in Manasquan, and he was down here and he said, "You know Phil, I don't want to spend my life in the Navy, I've decided. I'm married, I have a child, my next tour of duty is going to be two years at sea. I don't want to do that." But he said, "I don't have the foggiest idea what I can do." And I said to him, "Art, the smartest thing you can do is to apply to the Harvard Business School and get your MBA, then you can write your own ticket when you get your MBA." And Art said to me, "Phil, they'll never take me." And I said, "Well, you'll never know until you apply." So, he applied to the Harvard Business School, this was 1953 I guess, and they accepted him. So, he resigned from the Navy, and went to the Harvard Business School, and was up there from 1954 to '56. ... Along this time I was in the NYU program, and Art and I were talking about my career, and I said to Art, "I don't know this NYU program is good, but it'll take me forever." ... Art said to me, "Phil, the smartest thing you can do is to apply to the Harvard Business School doctoral program," and I said, "Art, they'll never take me." ... He said, "Phil, you will never know until you apply." So, I applied. ... Plus, fortuitously, at that same time when I put in my application, the Ford Foundation came through with about twenty-five or thirty doctoral fellowships, and I applied. ... I got a Ford Foundation doctoral fellowship. It's a two year fellowship. They covered all tuition and fees, and paid a stipend for the year, and then that was renewed for a second year. ... We were married in '55. ... [Editor's Note: The Ford Foundation was created by Edsel Ford, Henry Ford's oldest son and President of Ford Motor Company. He established the foundation on January 15, 1936 to promote education and charity. It still exists today and is headquartered in New York City.] ... Barbara and I went up in September '56, and we were up there for two years in residence in the doctoral program. I then came back and I rejoined the University College faculty. Was on that faculty for a year, maybe two years, and finally I got the degree, I was in the ABD [All But Dissertation] stage. It took me two years to write the dissertation, but I got it in 1960, yes, and shortly thereafter, transferred to the Rutgers Business School. George Esterly--again building the faculty--wanted Harvard Business School types, and so I went to the Business School faculty. So, it was an active few years I must say, yes.
NM: Was University College supportive of your efforts to obtain your degree at the Harvard Business School?
PS: Yes, Dean Ernie McMahon, who initially hired me as an instructor at University College, a very fine person and fully supportive, yes. He could see a young guy trying to build a career, and it was an opportunity particularly with the Ford Foundation fellowship. So, he was encouraging all the way, yes.
SI: Tell us a little bit about the two years you spent at Harvard. Tell us about your coursework and any professors that stand out in your memory.
PS: ... There were a group of about fifteen of us I would say that went in to the Harvard Business School that September in the doctoral program, and there were only two or three courses we were asked to take. ... One was the business policy and strategy course. It was the Harvard Business School MBA program, was a two year program, still is, and that was a second year program. It was kind of a capstone course, so we had to take that course and I took a couple of other courses. The policy course stands out in my mind because it was taught by a professor, Robert W. Merry, and he turned out to be my doctoral advisor and ultimately director of the doctoral program over the next few years. So, I was very fortunate that way, but the course itself was very demanding. ... At the top of an organization, a case study was used typically, major case studies, twenty or thirty page case study on a major corporation and describing the situation of the company. Where it is now, and then, the challenge was to develop an action plan, strategy plan for that corporation looking at the next five to ten years or whatever, but to give you an idea of how tough Merry was, he called on one student at the beginning of the class, and typically there was a call list by the way, the classrooms were small amphitheaters, there were sixty or seventy people in the classes. Oh, an aside--no women whatsoever in those years in the Harvard Business School. Now, at least fifty percent are women. In any event, the typical pattern was, Professor Merry would have a call list, most profs did this too, of five or six names of students on that call list for that class session. So, you never knew if your name was going to be on the call list, and when you were on the call list the prof would say, "Mr. So and So, will you open the case discussion." Well, that involved a ten or fifteen minute presentation on the company. Where it stands now, and some recommendations for the organization. So, a student, you know, if he was hit that day, he'd make a presentation. That's pretty demanding. So, Merry called on this one student to make the presentation. The student fumbled around for a few minutes and Merry broke in and said, "Mr. So and So, I have to conclude that you did not spend last year here at the Harvard Business School on the basis of your inadequate presentation." You talk about being shot down. I mean, it was devastating, but there was that kind of pressure. ... It was also, hey, it was a growth opportunity, getting ready for the possibility you may be on the call list. Okay, that was the MBA course that stands out in my mind. There were a number of doctoral seminars as well. I happened to be in those years in the production field, Franklin Folts was chairman of the production department then. Folts ran a number of seminars, organization behavior seminars were run by Paul Lawrence and others. ... They were very pleasant educational experiences, the doctoral seminars. Didn't seem to be a lot of stress, just a collegial environment, we could exchange views and get input from some of the leading people in the field. At one point, Professor Merry invited Barbara and me to his home for dinner, and I remember that evening, Barbara said, "Well, Professor Merry, when do you think Phil will finish?" This had to be in 1958, before we came back from Lexington, Massachusetts. ... Professor Merry said, "Well, Barbara, that is entirely up to Phil. There's no deadline, but we're not going to push him. He's writing the dissertation, when he gets that done, then we'll look at it." Then, I met him a number of times in '58 and '59 and early '60. He did a lot of consulting work, and came to New York frequently, and I had a number of meetings with him about my dissertation in New York City. He'd stay in a hotel in New York and we'd make arrangements to meet. I know one winter was a blizzard and I went out to New York and met him. ... It would be kind of chapter by chapter. He wouldn't approve of the chapter, he would say, "Well, it's time to move on to the next chapter." So, ultimately, keep chipping away, you get there.
NM: I wanted to ask a question about your cohort, your fellow graduate students. Did you have a chance to interact with them? In terms of a social interaction, did you hang out with them? Or was it strictly work towards the degree?
PS: Primarily, it was work toward the degree, but ... Barbara and I established some really close friendships among the MBA students and their wives. ... We lived in Lexington, Massachusetts. Barbara taught in the Lexington school system and it turned out she had the daughter of ... one of our very close friends in the MBA program. So, we had lots of weekend parties, but they're primarily among ... a few MBA families there and then developed some very strong, warm, close, friendships. ...
SI: The MBA program seems largely geared towards placing people in the private sector. Did the doctoral program possess a mixture of people who were going to go into academia and private sector? Or was it more one than the other?
PS: It was distinctly directed to academia. The Ford Foundation was, at that point, there had been two major studies of business schools in America, and both those studies concluded that the business schools in America were woefully inadequate, ... and that's what prompted the Ford Foundation fellowships, to educate leaders of American business schools and upgrade them really. So, I think every single one of my colleagues in the doctoral program, that I can recall, went into some university, yes. I don't know if any of them that went into industry, at least right away. Now a lot of us, of course, in addition to our academic work became consultants in businesses, and I had developed a very strong consulting practice along with the academic work in the 1970s and '80s. ... I thought that enhanced my classroom teaching because I can bring real life experiences into the classroom and take the classroom material into companies. We did a lot of management development work all over the country, and some in Europe too. ...
NM: Was the transition of yourself and your family to Lexington, Massachusetts a difficult transition? Did you visit New Jersey often while you were there?
PS: Well, because both of our sets of parents were here in this area, all holidays we really came back here. Thanksgiving, Christmas, Spring Break, and so on. ...
NM: Transitioning to Massachusetts--was that a challenge?
PS: Yes, it was a challenge, the word challenge comes to mind, because we didn't know a soul up there. I mean, we went, and absolutely cold. ... I still have a vision of walking into the doctoral office of the Harvard Business School and, ... "Gee, here's Phil Shaak coming into the Harvard Business School." ... It's funny how things come back. The secretary was Edie Johnson, and she was very open and very friendly, and she said, "Welcome to Harvard Business School, it's good to meet you," and it was just a warm open welcome. ... Then, we had gone up to Lexington, Barbara applied for a teaching job in Lexington in July and August and she had been teaching here in Belmar. [She] was a graduate of Montclair State College, had her Master's degree. Had a strong academic background, and so she got a letter from the superintendent of schools in Lexington, Massachusetts, "Yes, we would be interested in interviewing you." ... It must have been in early August. One day we drove up to Lexington, Barbara sat for the interview and as I recall, she was hired right on the spot. So, when we moved up there, she had a job, and I had the Ford Foundation doctoral fellowship, and the admission to the doctoral program. So, then it was a matter of getting housing up there. There were no dorms at that stage, certainly for married people. So, we went to a realtor in Lexington and he said, "Well, I think I have a possibility for you." Well, a magnificent, old farm house had just been sold in Lexington. White clapboard building, built in the 1700s, beautiful piece of property and there was a little gardener's cottage. Well, the property had just been sold and a Lexington policeman bought the gardener's cottage and for a rental property. Timing was just right for us, so we rented that gardener's cottage. That gardener's cottage pretty much would fit into this living room. It was one room, it was a twelve by twenty-four with an attached little kitchen and bathroom on the side. It easily would have fit into this living room, yes. So, that's where we lived for two years. We had some severe winters up there. No storm windows on the place. We had snow on the inside of the window sill a couple of times, it was like a sieve. There was one gas heater in the center of that room and that was our heat. We called it "respectable poverty." ... We bought a Murphy sofa bed, and so that's where we slept. We pulled out the sofa at night and slept on the sofa bed, yes. ... We look back on it, and we had a lot of fun up there as well as a lot of stress and hard work, yes.
SI: Can you tell us a little more about your dissertation and what your focus was?
PS: Yes, I had a problem focusing on a topic, but ultimately I think I could have done a much better job on it in retrospect. ... With my background in industrial engineering and focusing on manufacturing and motion and time study and work simplification, I said, "There are known techniques that are productive, used in factories, and they're not used in offices." My hypothesis was, in large and medium sized life insurance companies, they're not using proven industrial engineering techniques in their offices. ... That was the thesis, really. ... I focused on initially sixteen--eight large and eight medium sized--life insurance companies. Contacted them, narrowed the sixteen to four large and four medium sized companies, and then, started field work with those. One of my vivid memories of the field work was I went to an insurance company, a medium sized insurance company in central Massachusetts. I was being shown around the company by a vice president, and we went up to one of the top floors, and he showed me a large glass enclosed air conditioned room where there was a very large computer. ... This is almost a quote, he said, "We're not sure if it's going to be able to help us, but we've retained a local math prof from one of the local colleges here, and he's noodling around with it, and he's going to see if it will do us any good. The other companies were buying them, so we thought we ought to buy one too and see if we can use it." You know that computer--probably a computer this size today, can do far more than that computer could imagine doing, but they were still in the paper economy pretty much. ... Things like work measurement, work simplification, systems flow, just wasn't there. So, well, it worked--that's all. The dissertation worked, fortunately.
NM: You come back to University College in 1958. Was this after your coursework was completed at Harvard?
PS: Yes, I had finished all the course work, right.
NM: You were ABD.
PS: Then, I was ABD, right.
NM: It seems that University College was happy to have you come right back on board.
PS: They seemed to be, yes. Just in terms of sheer mechanics, I got stalled a little while. There was a month or two when I wasn't really making much progress on the dissertation. My parents lived in Manasquan, they had a four bedroom house, and so I setup a card table in one of the empty bedrooms, and I went over there once or twice a week and no radio, no distractions, just the chair, and a card table and a lot of paper. That's where--literally--I wrote the dissertation. Then, I had a local lady type my handwritten copy, and those were the copies that I would use when I would see Professor Merry, and he'd review chapter by chapter, yes, but that's really the discipline of going over there and sitting and writing, just had to be done, you know, we had made an investment at that point. Time and money and career and whatever, and then, Barbara resumed teaching, ... she was teaching in those years because we didn't start our family until 1962. So, yes, Barbara taught '58 through '62.
NM: Did you take on any new responsibilities coming back to the University College or did you offer new courses based off your experience at Harvard?
PS: I think it was in those years when Dean Ernie McMahon setup a committee, essentially a strategy committee for University College. Professor Stuart Demarest who was head of the English department was asked to head the committee and Stu Demarest asked me if I would join that committee. There were five of us as I recall and we'd meet periodically, look into the future of University College. I may have been on one or two other committees, but that committee does stand out in my mind. I thought it was a real opportunity, and maybe I can contribute something, yes.
SI: What do you remember the committee working on and accomplishing?
PS: I left before that report really was submitted, so I'm not sure of the outcome.
SI: What were some of the things you were discussing and what were you aiming towards?
PS: You're challenging me. [laughter] I'm really not sure. We certainly must have looked at what are the strengths of University College, what are the gaps, what's needed to improve University College, but now I'm into guesswork.
SI: Were there any significant changes in the way the college was setup when you returned from Harvard?
PS: ... I don't think there were any major changes in the student body at that time. I might mention and this must have been after when I got back from Harvard, General Johnson of Johnson and Johnson, and Dean Mary Bunting, had established a relationship. ... General Johnson thought it might be interesting almost on an experimental basis to have a course in business for young college women at Douglass College. They never thought of that possibility. So, I remember having lunch with Dean Bunting and General Johnson. I was asked if I'd be interested in teaching that course. So, I said, "Yes." I took that on as part of my course load and yes, I taught that kind of experimental course, and like Management 101 to these young coeds and it was, I'm generalizing, but frankly, the student group was very passive. Young ladies would come in, open their notebooks, prepare to take notes, listen to a lecture, no interaction, or very little interaction at all, which is directly counter to the way I wanted to teach and the Harvard Business School experience. I think a student ought to be active in the classroom, not just sit taking notes, but that course went, I guess, okay.
SI: You only taught that for one semester?
PS: Yes, and it may have been after that course that I went to the Business School. I'm not sure.
SI: In your classes at University College, was it unusual to see women in the classroom?
PS: No, not at all unusual. There were a number of women in those classes; predominantly men, but there were ... a fair number of women too as I recall.
SI: Were they more vocal in the classroom?
PS: Yes, those classes were quite interactive, and that's what makes teaching exciting I think. I guess some professors like to go in and give a straight lecture and well, that's it, after fifty minutes, class is over. I don't like to teach that way, and I'm imbued and have been imbued with a case method of instructing a course for years.
NM: Could you tell us about your transition to the Business School faculty?
PS: I was interested in going back to the Business School certainly and George Esterly, and well Robert Cambreleng was head of the management department there. They were both interested in having me joining the faculty. The Business School was then growing. The student body was growing so there were opportunities there to enlarge that faculty. ... One impression was that my then faculty colleagues were just totally gracious because I had transitioned from their perspective, from an undergraduate student to a graduate student MBA, because I had taken my MBA there. ... Then, I'm a colleague, and there was no sense ever, that I sensed, a put down, or, "I remember you when." ... They accepted me totally as a colleague and in fact, over in that chair there's a very small book, a tan book. ... This book was given to Barbara and to me by Florence and Saul Flink. Now, Salomon Flink was head of the economics department at the Rutgers Business School. They had been to Israel, and the citation, this is January 15, 1968, "Greetings from the Holy Land, Florence and Saul Flink, and its springs of oriental wisdom," and I just have treasured this. ... Saul Flink was a powerful man, and a real intellectual, but I valued his friendship a great deal. In fact, in undergraduate days, when GIs were returning and this business school was just filled with students, the fear was to take a course with Flink, it was "Flunk with Flink." [laughter] He was tough in the economics program, but he was a totally gracious person. ... Other faculty members as well, I can cite one after the other. ... In 1965, I guess George Esterly became ill, I may be off a year or so here. ... Bill Von Minden, who was heading the accounting program, William J. Von Minden, became dean or acting dean for a year. Then, in '66, I believe, Horace J. DePodwin came in as dean of the school. ... After one year, he realized he needed an associate dean, and he asked me if I'd take that role on as associate dean at the school. I saw it as an opportunity to get some real administrative experience right kind of in house. ... I became associate dean of the Business School. So, there's Horace DePodwin, myself, and two secretaries, and Bill Von Minden then, I guess he had retired, he had. So, I was associate dean until 1973, and then wanted to get back into the classroom. [Editor's Note: Horace DePodwin was Dean of the Rutgers Business School from 1966 to 1982.]
SI: When you first joined the faculty in 1959, the big debate was to whether or not drop the undergraduate component in the school.
PS: Oh, yes.
SI: I wanted to ask if you remember that being a hot topic.
PS: ... It was a pretty hot topic. ... Then, the school pretty much went MBA evenings, and then, day. I don't have a lot of clear memories, but I know George ... wanted to upgrade the school and drop the undergraduate part of it, and so that's what happened, yes.
SI: You do not remember being on one side or the other.
PS: I'm sure I favored the MBA program, and dropping the baccalaureate program, yes.
SI: When you first started at the Business School, were you teaching undergraduates and graduate students?
PS: ... I'm sure I was just teaching MBAs then, yes.
NM: How was teaching students in the graduate program? How was that different from teaching undergraduates?
PS: I'd say more challenging, more stimulating, more enjoyable. ... More mature students, a lot of the evening classes were. I never saw--frankly--myself as going to work. I just would go to class, and enjoy teaching.
NM: How big were the classes that you were teaching?
PS: At 18 Washington Place, those classrooms would handle about thirty students max. ... Then, we moved to Engelhard Hall and there was one large [room]. It was the Bove auditorium. That would handle ninety people and I do remember one term, all four organization behavior classes were scheduled together in that one auditorium, but that was kind of unusual. Normally the classes would be around thirty students.
NM: How many courses were you required to teach in a semester?
PS: At the business school? ... I think nine credit hours was the typical load at the business school when I was associate dean, then I was scheduling faculty people, and my recollection is it would be nine credit hours a term, yes. I don't know, and it had dropped certainly from twelve credit hours a term in University College, to nine. That may well have been because it was graduate level work, too. ... There was an expectation of faculty members doing a lot of research. The thrust shifted for faculty members coming in, new faculty members, that the road to the top, the road to tenure, was publication. "Publish or perish" became a reality to the point where we had a few faculty members come in and they would teach their load and that was it. Then, they would either just go off and do their research or do nothing. They could have gotten away with it, but a number of them, I'd say most were doing research in order to move from that Assistant Professor level to Associate Professor with tenure, yes. ... There was a fair amount, for some who were willing to do it, a fair amount of committee work. The curriculum committee for example, course of study committee, and for senior professors, of course, the promotions committee, yes.
SI: How large was the department when you joined?
PS: When I went back to the Business School?
SI: Yes, in 1959, when you joined the management faculty.
PS: I'd say there were only three or four of us on the faculty at that time. ... There was a lot of use of co-adjuncts. People in business who would come in and teach a course, a fair number of co-adjunct folks were used, and with evening classes they could work that out, yes. While I think of it, you folks have not interviewed Professor Lewis German have you?
PS: ... Lou German was on the business school faculty in accounting. Lou has to be in his late eighties now, if not, ninety years of age, had his own accounting firm for years, a loyal Rutgers alumnus, great guy, great sense of humor. He lives in Florida a good bit of the year, and I suspect he'll be going back to Florida in the next month or two. I believe Lou lives in Livingston, but you can certainly track him down through the alumni office. Louis T. German, and he would be a great resource for you to learn about the business school because he had a close relationship with Esterly and with Professor Von Minden, yes. Now that's an aside, but I wanted to be sure to tell you, yes.
SI: We appreciate that.
NM: Would not completing your dissertation have held you back in promotion?
PS: Oh, yes. I've forgotten on that list I gave you, just when I got tenure, but it was, I'm not sure if it was after I got the degree finished.
SI: You had listed that you were appointed associate professor in 1961.
PS: Okay, so I just finished the degree, yes. ... At that point, that jumped me up to associate professor, yes. Then, a few years later full professor, I've lost the year, when I got full professorship.
SI: Was that 1966?
PS: That figures, I thought it was about five years later, yes.
SI: Once you received your doctorate you still had to do research to advance, is that correct?
PS: ... Yes, but my orientation was not frankly in the research arena. I was then very active with companies and consulting activity, so my research was really pretty limited, and my publications were also pretty limited, to be candid about it. My non-teaching activities, let's see, I joined with a University College professor in marketing. Professor Feathers, he got his doctorate at NYU by the way, he stayed in there, and he finished his doctorate, and the two of us formed a consulting firm. ... We did a fair amount of outside activity with St. Regis Paper Company, General Foods Corporation, National Food Brokers Association, American Bankers Association. ... The Stonier Graduate School of Banking [is] where we taught a lot of, a number of industry associations, and organizations, as well as major corporations. ... I probably should have written more than I did. ... Didn't have computers then. Oh, if I had ever had a computer then, wow, what a difference that would have made. It would have made a tremendous difference, yes.
SI: As the computer became more of a fixture in the business world, how did that change what you had to learn about to stay current in your classes? Did that change what you were teaching much?
PS: To some degree, but remember I retired in 1988, and oh yes, there were computers, but it really didn't influence what I was doing a great deal, at that stage. ...
SI: Did technological change affect your teaching?
PS: Not a great deal to be candid with you, yes. Just the movements in the last twenty years have been fabulous, yes.
NM: I wanted to ask a few questions in terms of global events. One of the things that happens while you were advancing in the Business School is that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963. Is that something that you recall?
PS: Oh, yes, vividly, ... and the Newark riots. ... '67 was it? ... In Newark, there was a great deal of tension as you know, and I went into, it was '67 or '68, I remember the Business School was then at 18 Washington Place. Dean's offices were on the second floor, and then, one morning got off the elevator, and there were five or six black students there waiting, and they wanted to talk about some issues, and so we chatted for a couple minutes and I sensed, well, Horace is coming in very shortly, and they certainly ought to meet with Horace DePodwin the dean. So, Horace came in. In a couple of minutes, I explained the situation to Horace. The gentlemen wanted to speak with him. There were some topics that they wanted to cover and Horace had a full calendar, I know, I mean that was just the way Horace operated, but he right away said, "Well, let's go into my office." ... We all went into his office and we sat down for at least an hour, and these students talked about a number of issues of concern to them. Horace and I reviewed them, and by the end of that discussion a number of them had been resolved, or we were going to resolve them, and the tension just seemed to evaporate, and there was never another issue in the Business School that I recall--racial issue--after that discussion. He totally defused it legitimately, authoritatively, authentically, yes. [Editor's Note: The Newark Riots began on July 12, 1967 after the arrest and beating of an African-American cab driver. The New Jersey National Guard was mobilized. The riot ended on July 18, 1967. Twenty-three people were killed and hundreds were injured.]
NM: Do you recall some of the issues that were discussed?
PS: Geez, I can't pinpoint any now, it was a number of years ago, but we took them seriously, and then dealt with them.
NM: You were the associate dean at this point.
PS: Yes, I was, right, ... the first year or two.
NM: Going into more of your time as the associate dean, could you tell us about some of your responsibilities?
PS: Yes, largely the assigning faculty members to courses. Now, the area chairs, we had area chairs rather than department heads then, did some of that, but to a large extent I remember I had a large scheduling board, speaking of not using computers. There was a large magnetic scheduling board, and I spent hours, yes, on that board. ... If students had some issues that couldn't be resolved with a faculty member, they'd come in and see me, and the door was always open. So we dealt with some student issues and some, let's see, faculty issues. Occasionally, there might be a problem with a faculty member not meeting classes or students not feeling the faculty member was doing the job. So, we'd have some discussions that way. Yes, just a lot of day to day detail. Horace DePodwin was an economist. His pattern was to get into the office anytime ... between seven-thirty or eight-thirty in the morning, and then at two-thirty or three 'o clock in the afternoon, he left. He had his own consulting firm, economic consulting firm, research firm, in New York City. So, he would leave mid-afternoon and handle his consulting firm activities. ... We had evening classes so ... I'd often be late getting back here.
SI: Going back to the time of the Newark riots, was the business school shut down during that period? Did you have to go in during those events?
PS: ... I have a vision of, I had been at General Foods Corporation, the riots may have been on a Thursday or on a Friday, but I remember driving down on the Turnpike and seeing smoke coming from mid-Newark. So I had been scheduled out of the office that day and was not in town, but I don't remember the business school ever shutting down. I'm sure next Monday, that Monday, we were open, and classes, yes. I don't know about the Newark College of Arts and Sciences, but I don't remember us shutting down classes, yes.
SI: In 1967, how would you characterize the makeup of the student body? You were met by these African American students. Were there a lot of African American students in the Business School?
PS: No, I'd say no. ... I'm sure that was one of their concerns. ... They wanted more African American students in the student body. I'd also say I'm sure we responded to that in the subsequent terms, yes.
SI: Most of the histories of the Business School focus on the outreach to new populations after the Newark riots.
SI: Did that play any role in your job as associate dean?
PS: To a degree, but in my role the outreach was more to outreach to faculty members to broaden our faculty racial mix, which we did. We made a conscious effort to broaden. ... I'll say we were very fortunate in one case and very unfortunate in another case. We got a couple of some really outstanding professors, and then a couple professors that didn't work out. ... One was essentially bought out of his contract, but a couple of other faculty members, we were extremely fortunate in bringing them in, yes.
SI: Were they out of other universities or were you attracting them directly out of graduate school?
PS: Let's see, one was another university nearby, and another, I'm trying to think where Dick came from. He may have been with a law firm and we got him from a law firm. Or he may have been with Prudential Insurance Company, yes. I guess he was with Prudential and we got him, ... Professor Richard Marshall, yes.
NM: Another thing that is happening during the late 1960s are student protests against the Vietnam War. Did any of that affect the Business School?
PS: I don't recall any of it. Generally, the engineering schools and the business schools were pretty well isolated from that activity. A lot of it was centered in the undergraduate colleges. We were pretty well isolated. By the way, I should mention, maybe it was '68 or '69, I'm not sure, but Horace also invited another faculty member, David Blakeslee who happened to be a Harvard doctorate, to also join our administrative group as associate dean. So, Dave Blakeslee came in, so then there were three of us in the dean's office, yes. Your question is really very interesting. ... Were we influenced by the Vietnam War? ... I'd say, I don't recall a heavy influence in the business school.
SI: The way Newark is set up, each school is subject to a provost. Is that correct?
PS: Each school, when I was there, had a dean and there was a provost for the Newark campus.
SI: In a structure like that, schools are always competing for resources. Do you remember any of that kind of competition?
PS: ... I was not involved in it, but I'm sure there was. I know there was tension among the various deans and tension between Newark and New Brunswick to get resources, more resources for Newark. ... There was always a struggle to get budget lines, for example, and funds for other projects and so on. I think there was some tension between the law school and the business school for resources, I'm quite sure there was.
SI: Your dean would fight that battle. You would not really be involved.
PS: That's right. Fortunately, no, I was not involved.
SI: Were you involved in determining going after more resources, such as faculty lines?
PS: Yes, I'd make recommendations, but then Horace would take up the battle up the line.
SI: You mentioned you had your own consulting firm during this period.
PS: Yes, during and after.
SI: Were you involved in the business school's relationship with the business community in Newark and New Jersey?
PS: I'm trying to pinpoint the years, but the Business School, we had a strong contact with the Sales Executive Club of New Jersey. ... We ran the annual business conference in New Brunswick. It was a one day conference in early June. Attracted thousands, I think our top was like twelve hundred people. It was a meeting in the gymnasium in the morning with major speakers, and then a luncheon over in the Commons. ... Typically, the governor would come in, open the meeting, or speak at the luncheon, and we'd get senators, top national business leaders, and that was co-sponsored by the Sales Executives Club and the Business School. I'm trying to pinpoint the years, but I'd say mid-1960s, in that era. Somehow, I don't know, it just dissipated which was too bad, I think. I mean the business school really had a major voice in the New Jersey business community for a few years, but lost it, yes.
SI: I know around that time when you were first in the dean's office, the relationship with Prudential blossomed.
PS: Yes, Orville Beal was a graduate of our school and was president of Prudential. So, yes, that was a very strong connection. By the way, I'd like to mention another role that I had in addition to associate dean. AT&T, Long Lines Department came ... to the Rutgers Extension Division and they wanted to run a two week management development program in New Brunswick for their third, fourth, and fifth level managers--a total of six hundred managers over a two year period. Thirty people every month for ten months, participants would come in. The program was initially started by the Extension Division. Dean McMahon was head of University College and the Extension Division. ... A number of universities apparently put in proposals for this program to AT&T. AT&T selected the Rutgers program, Extension Division, okay. We got the contract, and then, in New Brunswick the Extension Division had a man who led the program initially. He left Rutgers shortly after the program started. ... Someone from the Extension Division came up to George Esterly and said, "We need some help." So, I was asked to head this program in addition to being associate dean, which I did. So, for a couple of weeks in every month I spent a lot of time in New Brunswick at this residential program. The university had just purchased this building, it's on the Douglass campus, it may be the Rutgers Transportation Office now, I'm not sure. It's on the Douglass campus, a nice little facility, but they turned it into a continuing education center. So, every month, for two weeks, starting on Sunday night, we'd get these thirty folks in from AT&T Long Lines Department, ... put together that program in management development and also some non-management courses too, a broadening experience, educational experience for them. We had a philosopher for example, from Monmouth University come in, handle a little half day session. A psychologist from the medical school would come in. Yes, so I was involved in that, pretty much half time. I must say, there were periods ... when Horace DePodwin felt he wasn't getting enough of my time, and the folks in New Brunswick felt they weren't getting enough of my time. I was kind of split this way, but we ran through ultimately ... six hundred managers. ... At the end of that two years, then I worked with the extension people, and we thought well, maybe we can't do a two week program, but let's do a one week program. ... That evolved into what was called the Rutgers Advanced Management program, and once a month for a week we attracted managers from a variety of New Jersey businesses. ... That ran for a number of years too, yes.
NM: As you are in the dean's office in the administration, you are still actively teaching.
PS: Yes, I continued. I'm sure I was teaching at least one course.
NM: I asked because I know some professors that go into administration cease teaching.
PS: I'm quite sure I continued to teach at least one course.
SI: The Business School is going through some physical changes. Can you talk about the changes?
PS: Oh, yes. Orville Beal was a good friend of Charlie Engelhard, of Engelhard Industries. ... Orville Beal went to an architect, this was when the Business School was still at 18 Washington Place. ... I would guess this was in the early 1970s. ... Orville Beal had this architect draw a picture of a building for the Rutgers Business School, and he had lettered over the front door, Engelhard Hall. Well, they set up a luncheon meeting with the dean, and Orville Beal, and Charles Engelhard, and Beal took this painting to the luncheon and said, "Charlie, here's your new building." Well, as I get the story at least. ... That sparked, I think it was a two-and-a-half million dollar gift from Charles Engelhard to build a new business school building in Newark on Park Place. ... When I stepped out of the dean's office in '73, we packed up the family for five weeks, rented a motor home, and drove to the West Coast. When I got back as I recall it, the business school building was open, and they were moving into the new Engelhard Hall, which is really something. [Editor's Note: Orville E. Beal was a graduate of Rutgers earning his BA in 1937 and his MBA in 1954. He had worked at Prudential Insurance Company since 1926 and became President of the company in 1962.]
SI: In your capacity as associate dean, did you have any input into how the building was utilized?
PS: That's an excellent question. No, is the answer--another faculty member in the management department, Dr. Hal Eastman--Hal Pond Eastman--also a Harvard doctoral recipient, Horace tapped Hal Eastman and Hal was, he was the real liaison with the contractors and that whole building project. Hal Eastman handled that. It was an enormous task, but, yes, he handled it.
SI: Was the decision to offer day courses made before you entered the dean's office or was that while you were there?
PS: I think we were trying to get the day program, we were trying to get the day program while I was going, while I was there, yes. I remember it was small, but growing.
SI: I have also read that student recruitment at that point was difficult. Do you have any recollection of this?
PS: I do remember we had some difficult years, recruiting full time students, yes, to get that day MBA program up and running. Classes were not that large, but we managed, but it was good we had the evening program going, and that was going pretty strong, yes.
SI: You said you had to schedule most of your faculty for the night division. Was there reticence to join the faculty on the day program side? Did it interfere with their other activities?
PS: No, I don't remember any great resistance or problems. ...
SI: Tell us about your return back to classes full time and what interested you then. Did you continue with the same courses?
PS: Probably continued on the same, I'm not sure of that. I may have gotten, I got more involved in the policy area and we had a faculty member, Dr. George Walters, who came in to us from industry, and he had been a senior executive at some company, and we were very fortunate to get George on board the faculty, and he started what became the Interfunctional Management program. ... In this program we had, it was a course that--two courses actually--a two credit hour course followed by a three credit hour course, it was like a senior course in the MBA program. ... In that program, George lined up companies to participate in the program, and the students in that program would be put into teams, and they would be assigned a company to work with. It was a good deal for the companies actually. For a team to go into the companies, review the company, meet company people, and develop a program of action for the company and the company representatives, it was part of the program, the senior people in the company met with our students. They would come to the business school and there were what were called "plans boards." So, you'd have three or four company representatives, and maybe five or six students, and the students initially would meet with company representatives essentially three times. Initially, ... after the students had studied the company, put together an initial description of the company, where they saw the company at present, and then, they would develop contingency plans for the company, and the student teams would meet with the company representatives in the second term at least twice, and maybe more frequently. ... There would be ultimately a final plans board presentation, where the students would have to present their recommendations to the company. ... That was the interfunctional management team, I got heavily involved in that with George, and several of us on the faculty were involved in that, would work with the students as they developed their plans for the companies. It was a good program, yes.
SI: Was this formal course work or were you just advising them?
PS: No, it was formal course work. It was a two credit hour course and a three credit hour course.
SI: You were teaching one of those courses.
PS: Yes. ... It was a required course for all MBA students. You didn't get your MBA without going through the Interfunctional Management Program, yes.
NM: When you returned to full time teaching, had new courses been developed at the Business School?
PS: I'm sure there were. I can't enumerate them, but I'm sure the various departments or areas developed or were developing new courses, yes.
NM: Did you yourself offer new courses?
PS: The straight answer is no, I was involved in this new Interfunctional Management course and so I was heavily involved in that, but I don't recall ... innovating one whole new course, for example, on my own, yes.
SI: As the 1970s progressed, the Newark campus became more integrated with the other Newark schools, NJIT particularly. Did that have an impact on your teaching?
PS: One thing that did occur while I was associate dean was we developed a program at the initiation of the law students. Some law students came over to see me, and talked about, "What about a law MBA program?" ... Three or four students, and it seemed to make an awful lot of sense, so ultimately, ... a year or so period of time, I guess, ... a joint program was worked out with the law school. ... There were not a lot of law students that took advantage of it, but it was a great concept, and I think there is still a joint program with the law school and the business school. ... Other schools have clearly gotten involved with the business school, yes.
SI: I know they have joint programs with the pharmacy school.
PS: That's what I thought, yes.
SI: When you were there though, it was just law.
PS: It was just law, right, yes.
SI: Did the new relationship with NJIT affect your work at all?
PS: Not in the least that I can recall. ...
SI: The Business School also moved towards instituting a doctoral program which began in the late 1970s. Were you involved in that at all?
PS: ... Not a great deal, no. Dick Hoffman and George Farris, other faculty members, were heavily involved in the doctoral program development. I was not involved in that. What I was involved in, from the outset, was the executive MBA program, and about four, five of us sat down twenty some years ago now, and we had heard about executive MBA programs in a few other schools, and thought, "This is something we really ought to take a look at." ... That initiated the executive MBA program. Alternate Fridays and Saturdays, middle managers typically sent by their companies to the program, and the program ... turned out to be a very successful program. The best job I had at Rutgers was director of the executive MBA program. I did that for a of couple years before I retired. Average age is, I'd say, early thirties. They're middle managers. They had just never gone on for their MBA, and they were in a position in their companies where they or their bosses thought, "You ought to get an MBA." Just an extremely exciting, motivating, classroom situation. So, I was, yes, director of the executive MBA program in, '86, '87, and retired in '88. I had my first heart attack in '86, twenty-five years ago, yes.
NM: I wanted to ask a more general Rutgers question, because we were just trying to get at the relationships that had developed with the business school. There was a change in the administration from President Mason Gross to President Ed Bloustein. Did the change in administration affect the Business School?
PS: I think we always saw Ed Bloustein as a friend of the Business School, but probably not the strongest supporter of the Business School, but our relations with him were good, but we were in Newark, and the New Brunswick hierarchy was more than forty miles away in more than one way, you know.
NM: Most of the interaction with the Rutgers University administration would be working through the Rutgers Newark administration then.
PS: I would say, yes. That's my impression, yes.
SI: In the early 1980s, Horace DePodwin retired and was replaced by David Blake.
PS: ... I had retired, but yes, David Blake came in. ... When I had my heart attack, David Blake was very close, and kept in close touch with Barbara, I know. ... He was not dean when I was there apparently.
SI: Did he come in 1982?
PS: That's probably right, wait a minute, I retired in '86. So, he was there when ... I was still on the faculty, sure, yes. By the way, he had a stand up desk. He chose not to have the conventional desk, he had a standup desk in his office, yes. ... Do you have the dates of other deans, when other deans came in? ... George Benson, ... when was he a dean at the Business School? ... I think I was on the faculty when George Benson was dean, yes.
SI: He had been one of your colleagues before?
PS: No, he had not been on the faculty. He had come in ... as a dean of the school, yes. He's done a great job at Charleston. I recommend, several students have gone there. In fact, my niece's daughter is just starting right now, college at Charleston. ... I had urged her to look at Charleston some months ago and she liked it, yes.
SI: Did you see your teaching style change much over the thirty years that you were at the Business School or did you always retain that same style?
PS: ... I started on a lecture mode, but then shifted fairly quickly over to case teaching, yes, but initially, yes, I started as a more conventional lecture mode. I just found the case method ... a lot more interactive and I thought students would get a lot more out of it. For example, in the case method, let's say you have a case, organizational behavior case, where the three major, three individuals in the case coming from different points of view. I'd often divide the class, and say "Okay, your Joe Smith, your Sam Brown, your Don Roberts, now from your point of view, how do you see this case? What is going on here? What actions are you going to take to resolve this issue?" So, we tried to work the group together to come to some, one common understanding of different points of view. ... Then, two, to work out some solution, and that would often be a typical organization behavior type case, and you'd weave in some theory. ... I have Mcintyre's book here, and use a lot of material from that book, different learning styles we have, abstract conceptualization, active experimentation, reflective observation types, and so on. One thing I still remember from Drucker's class, Peter Drucker said, "As you meet people, people tend to be talker-listeners or reader-writers, and as you work with them, you've got to discern what their dominant style. It's not either-or, it's what's the dominant style, and if you're going to get through to that person, you better think of a change in your own behavior to reach that other individual. So, if you're dealing with a reader-writer, and you're a talker-listener, you're going to miss." I thought it was a neat piece of advice.
SI: What are the major issues in the field in the theory of management that you tried to integrate into your teaching?
PS: I would say a major issue is so much focus on the here and now, today's issues. A very short horizon, rather than thinking through, well again, some of this is from Drucker. What is the nature of our business? What business are we are really in? ... A lot of people, I believe, still don't understand the real nature of their business. For example, I take my car down to a shop down here in Manasquan to be repaired. Is he just in the repair business? Or is he getting cars in safe condition for the owner? That makes a world of difference in just following that model. In fact, I took my car down there a couple months ago and just for a routine oil change, and so on. The owner of the shop said, "I want you to bring the car back in a week or so. ... The brake pedal just doesn't feel quite right to me." So, I took it back, they took all four wheels off, examined the brakes, put them back on, and said, "No, okay you're doing fine." But he's in the business of providing safe transportation for his customers. Boy, I really appreciate that. ... In fact, that ties back to a story, ... because back in the fifties there was a tour group going through the Ford Motor Company plant. This is when there was manual labor, tightening bolts on the wheels down the assembly line. ... It was a student group going through, and one of the students stopped and asked the worker how he felt about his job, and the worker said, "I'm doing more than just tightening bolts, I'm making sure they're on safely." Again, the safety issue. You know beauty shops, are they in the business of cutting hair or making their customers attractive when they walk out of the shop? I run that case all the time, I think, they don't really understand the nature of their business.
SI: Was this largely gleaned from your consulting work or other work?
PS: Well, gee, it reaches back to NYU, to Harvard, and the consulting business, yes.
SI: How long did you have the consulting business?
PS: ... Well, I had been doing a lot of teaching at the American Management Association in New York. Then, of course, they had managers come in from all over the country for their AMA courses. ... Out of those contacts, a businessman might see me in one of those classes and say, "Gee, I want to get in touch with Shaak, and I think we can use some help doing some management development work." So, a lot of it came out of the American Management Association. There was an opportunity I missed, we had a couple of staff members who were at the American Management Association, and they kept urging Dick Feathers to write a book. Well, we never quite got to it. We could have gotten a book published years ago under the American Association auspices. Well, too busy doing other things, and I guess I'm a talker-listener and not a reader-writer. [laughter]
SI: Were there other ways you were involved with the AMA or other professional associations?
PS: Let's see, the banks, they ran the Stonier Graduate School of Banking, and we taught there. Then, the National Association of Bank Women was a big organization, national organization. I ran a half day program for them in Cobo Hall in Detroit, many years ago. We had about twelve hundred women in the Cobo Hall, and ran a case study there, ... and the subgroups ran a case study there. It was kind of fun. ... The Paper Shipping Sack Manufacturer's Association of America--PSSMA--national convention, Dick and I did a program there. For the St. Regis Paper Company, they had put together this bag packaging division and they had manufacturing plants all over the US, and they were forming a management team of about, I guess, a hundred managers overall--plant managers, assistant plant managers, sales managers, marketing directors. ... They divided that group into three groups of about twenty-five or thirty each. ... We ran a series of programs for that company over several years time. ... Tried to weld that group into a management team and that led to the international division of St. Regis and we went over to France and did a program over there, management by objectives program over there. So, it was an enriching experience. ...
SI: Tell us a little more about your last job at Rutgers.
PS: Director of the Executive MBA program.
SI: What was involved in your day to day operations as the director?
PS: A lot of recruiting in that the program was fairly new. What we were shooting for was to get a group together of maybe twenty-five or thirty people. This time of the year [summer] in let's say, 1986, kind of "panicsville," were we going to get twenty-five or thirty executive MBAs together? So, a fair amount of recruiting and interviewing candidates and so on. Some of them didn't take, they just didn't have the experience base that we thought was important. So, I spent a lot of time interviewing folks, and then, put together the program in--this was an interesting development--in '86, early, the spring of '86, yes. Winter or spring, I'd been named director of this program in I guess the winter, and I was trying to build the program. It was only the first or second year then, ... I guess it was June of '86, have a heart attack. I just hired an assistant, Kathleen Connolly. She's still with the program thank God. ... We had interviewed a number of people as assistant to the director. ... None of them seemed to fit, and then, Kathleen Connolly was recommended to us by one of our faculty members. She was with a community college I think in Union County. So, she came in for an interview and ... in the first five minutes I knew this is the person we were looking for. ... So, after chatting with her for a while, Charles Upton was then associate dean and I called him, I said, "I have someone I want you to meet as a candidate." So, we walked across the street, and again in the first five minutes, Charlie and I made eye contact, said, "Yes, this is it." So, we hired Kathleen on the spot. ... She had been planning to take a little vacation, well, we needed her right then, and then after we hired her I proceeded to have a heart attack. So, I'm out of action, she is brand new in this job, and she did just a fabulous job of it. ... Got the class together, but then I was able to get back I think in six weeks or so, maybe less. ... Then, it was a matter of getting that class going and the faculty members assigned and so on and then building for the next year. This year I talked to Kathleen, I guess in June, and we're filled up. She has a waiting list for the executive MBA program, and the program and the alums from the program have received all sorts of accolades, yes. It's a very strong program. I did teach in that program and again, it was the most fun teaching I did, yes. Again, you're dealing with people, we had doctors, ... lawyers, all sorts of backgrounds--strong backgrounds of people in the program, yes.
SI: We talked earlier about the move to recruit more minority students and faculty members. Was there also a conscious effort to recruit more women faculty and more women students?
PS: Yes, absolutely. Good question, yes, and one year we brought in four young women. I think they all came in as assistant professors. ... One or two ultimately made associate professor rank, others didn't. One I think was a real loss, but it was the publish or perish thing and she didn't publish enough, yes, but definitely, we made a strong effort to broaden the faculty that way and add women.
SI: Do you remember approximately when this occurred? Was that when you were still in the dean's office?
NM: From the time that you began teaching at the business school and from the time that you left teaching in the school, had the ratio of women admitted into the program, who were active in the program, changed?
PS: It had increased--the number of women had increased quite substantially. It occurred to me essentially on Thursday, in a couple days, I'm having lunch with one of these woman whom I met a long while ago. She had applied to the program, initially I guess didn't pass the GMAT test, and I urged her to take the test again. She did, and she was also on the Extension Division staff in New Brunswick. Ultimately she was admitted to the MBA program and I kind served as a mentor for her, a number of years with her. She ultimately got her MBA, ultimately got her PhD, went into industries, had an enormously successful career. I haven't seen her in about twenty years. We're going to have lunch on Thursday.
SI: Oh, great.
PS: I'm really anxious to see her. We kept in touch from time to time, and said some day we ought to have lunch. Well, someday is Thursday. ... [laughter]
SI: Have you been able to maintain ties with some of your students?
PS: Occasionally, not a lot, but occasionally, I'll be in touch with them or they'll be in touch with me, yes.
SI: When you retired in 1988, was that a true retirement or did you continue to teach?
PS: ... It was a true retirement. The university offered a buyout program in '88. ... I've lost the details of it, but I do remember going over across to Charlie Upton's office, and reviewed the buyout program. ... He said, "Phil, you're crazy if you don't take this buyout program. You're going to be teaching for nothing essentially," and it was a good offer. ... With my health condition at that point, I thought, "Well, it probably would be wise to take advantage of this," which I did. However, I did continue some consulting work--limited--so I didn't, it wasn't as if I fell off a cliff. I did continue to do some consulting work. I'm still one of the board of directors [for] a company in North Jersey.
SI: Would you like to tell us a little bit about your family? You have three children.
PS: Yes, I'd be delighted. We have three children. Our oldest son, John, is forty-nine. Tim who was just here is forty-seven and his sister is forty-five. Our oldest son lives in Newton, Georgia. He's married, three children. He is a pilot with Delta Airlines, flying internationally, can't believe it. I remember this little kid, now he's flying a 767 all over the world. [laughter] I don't know whether if he's in London, Frankfurt, Buenos Aires, literally I never know where he is. ... His daughter--march of time--his daughter just turned twenty-one. She's a junior at Georgia Tech. She is in an internship program with the Colonial Pipeline Company. There office base is in Atlanta. In the internship program, now that she is in her junior year, is one term in class, one in the company. So, this summer term, she was in the field. Well, she elected as her field assignment to take South Jersey. They have a tank farm in Deptford, New Jersey, so she figured, well I'll be in South Jersey, I can come up here to my grandparents and go to the beach in the summer. So, weekends this summer, we've seen a lot of our granddaughter, and that worked out, really very well. ... Her sister is a senior in high school, and her brother is about twelve years of age, grammar school. Okay, so that's John and Lisa's family. Tim is in real estate here in Brielle. Lives in Brielle, he is a Brielle councilman, he's been on the Brielle council here for eight years at least, president of the local first aid squad here. Was fire chief for eight years or so he's still on the fire company, very active in Brielle affairs. ... His wife teaches in the Brielle elementary school, they have one child. He was here with us last night for a few hours, ... he is in fifth grade now. ... Tim and Cheryl have a daughter who is in Marymount College, she's a sophomore in Marymount College near Washington. ... Then our daughter Anne and her husband Mark Heinrichs also live in Brielle and their son is in Brielle elementary school. Anne is a family counselor. She's working, putting in hours now, she has to have forty-five clinical hours to become a licensed professional counselor. ... It's a sixty credit hour Master's degree. ... She'll have her hours in probably in December. Mark is a design engineer, civilian, with the Navy. ... He has several patents on what is called the JMIC if I can remember this. Joint Modular Intermodal Container, well he designed it for the Navy, and when the Navy ships munitions they have to be in, you know, cases--big boxes. Well, the problem is, when they've fired the munitions off the ship, then they have these big empty boxes around. They can't just dump them over the side, so he designed about five years ago, this container JMIC container that collapses, and the Marines have gone for this in a big way. There are six thousand of these in the field right now. The Marines are using them, and ... his designs have been written up a number of times, and he's gotten a number of citations, very bright guy, yes. His office was in Earle Naval Weapons Station here, and it was just moved to Picatinny Arsenal in North Jersey. So, that's an issue, he's working at home right now most of the time, but he has to go up to Picatinny one or two days a week, but yes, fortunately, three kids, all happily married, all with children. We're totally blessed, yes.
NM: When you relocated back to New Jersey, you mentioned that your wife stopped teaching. Did she ever go back into the field?
PS: Yes, she did. When our children were small, Barbara was home, but then when John, our oldest son graduated from high school, Barbara went back teaching and she taught a number of years in Freehold township schools. Three different schools in Freehold Township, and I'm not sure when Barbara retired, but she's been retired a number of years now. ... She had taught in Belmar school system and then in Lexington and in Freehold. She had some nice teaching experiences. ...
NM: It sounds like you are in fairly regular contact with your former colleagues at the Business School.
PS: Not as much now in the last couple of years, but I was in fairly good contact, yes.
NM: I was wondering if you followed closely the affairs of the Business School after you left.
PS: I really haven't in recent years, no. George Farris was a colleague of mine and he was acting dean or dean for a while. He just retired, but I haven't been back in the Business School. Frankly, driving to Newark isn't as entertaining as it used to be. [laughter] ... For years, the Business School was just seen as a classroom situation without much contact with the business community. I mean I kept thinking come on--other business schools have close contact with the business community, they run management programs, and it's a huge money maker for the schools, but New Brunswick never seemed to catch on to that idea until apparently recent years. Now, on the science campus they're building a huge center I guess. ... That really looks exciting. I missed it by about forty years. [laughter]
SI: These relationships that we talked about with Prudential and so forth, they were not regular sustained things.
PS: They were ad-hoc pretty much.
SI: Is there anything you would like to add for the record?
PS: I'm trying to think. ...I probably have missed some big items. ...
SI: You can always put things into the transcript later.
SI: We really appreciate all your time during our two sessions together.
PS: You've been great. I appreciate this very much.
SI: Oh, well thank you. You are doing us the favor.
PS: Good, and Lou German is a person you really must contact.
SI: We will try to get in touch with him. Thank you very much.
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Reviewed by Nicholas Molnar 8/9/2012
Reviewed by Philip Shaak 9/24/2012