The “agency theory of the firm,” a way of looking at social interactions in business, says that managers are agents of shareholders. As such, managers must generally make decisions that maximize shareholder profits. Since the Citizens United case in 2010, those decisions have included the right to make unlimited independent political expenditures, under the right to freedom of expression.
So what are the ethical implications of companies making contributions for or against a political candidate? Daniel Isaacs, assistant professor of Legal Studies and academic director in the Fox School, weighs on this question in his article, “When Government Contractors May or May Not Spend Money on Political Speech,” which has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Business Ethics.
“There are some situations where it will be in the economic interests of businesses to forgo making independent political expenditures,” says Isaacs. By aligning profit motives with ethical conduct, Isaacs aims to remove barriers to ethical behavior.
Sometimes, however, profits and ethics do not align. In these cases, Isaacs argues that managers may not use the agency theory of the firm as a means to escape their ethical obligations.
For example, says Isaacs, imagine a private prison that is experiencing a reduced number of prisoners due to declining crime rate in the state. The prison has the right to make independent political expenditures on behalf of a candidate that favors laws that would require courts to impose longer prison sentences for all crimes. The outcome of these expenditures and the succeeding election would increase profits for the private prison by ensuring a steady stream of prisoners who will spend more time in jail.
But what happens if maximizing profits for shareholders by making these independent political expenditures leads to profit and unethical outcomes, like longer prison sentences? Does the agency theory allow managers to ignore the ethical situation and simply make money? No, says Isaacs, “because the agency theory relies on the concept that principals must do that which agents dictate.” If that is the case, though, managers cannot act beyond the authority of their principals.
“This relationship between the managers and the shareholders does not dilute the managers’ moral obligation,” Isaacs says. “The agency theory does not grant them an ethical free pass.”
Isaacs says that the shareholders lack the power to authorize managers to make profits in a way that they wouldn’t do themselves. “And managers cannot escape their ethical obligations by claiming that they were just following orders,” he says.
Companies should consider whether it is in their best interests to make independent political expenditures, as forgoing in some cases might make them more appealing. For example, if a company voluntarily waives its right to make independent political expenditures, Isaacs argues that it can use that to its competitive advantage. “One of the risks that at least one private prison identified in its disclosure statement was that the public may change its perception of private prisons,” says Isaacs. “If the public becomes hostile to the concept of private prisons, governments may stop entering into contracts with the corporations—something that a reasonable investor would want to know.”
With the boundaries of profitability, law and ethical obligations blurring in the real world of business, Isaacs’ research works to identify ways in which the market can support ethical decision making. He finds an unexpected friend in agency theory, arguing that the way people justify profit maximization, also serves to demonstrate the limits of shareholder power to engage in or authorize others to undertake such behavior.
“Shareholders and managers, as human beings, have a moral obligation, and desiring profits does not justify all actions of achieving them,” he concludes.
Learn more about Fox School Research.
Nobody likes a tattletale.
Since our days on elementary school playgrounds, we have been conditioned to avoid tattling. The possibility of being declared the class snitch has kept many school children’s lips tightly sealed—and, sadly, that attitude continues in the professional world today.
Dr. Leora Eisenstadt, assistant professor in the Department of Legal Studies at the Fox School of Business, once asked her undergraduate students in a business law and ethics class a simple question: Would they be willing to oust the firm they worked for, knowing there was fraudulent activity occurring?
Out of 22 students, only one said yes.
For the students who decided to stay quiet, their choice was not ddue to a lack of morality, but rather a fear of not recovering from the act of whistleblowing.
“Whistleblowing involves speaking out against an organization that you see doing something illegal, corrupt, or harmful to the general public,” says Eisenstadt. “Whistleblowers are often the subject of retaliation—once you come forward, you are likely to face termination or some other adverse employment action.”
Eisenstadt and co-author Dr. Jennifer Pacella of Baruch College confront the laws regarding whistleblowers in their paper, “Whistleblowers Need Not Apply,” which has been accepted for publication by the American Business Law Journal. Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, retaliation against someone who complains of discrimination is prohibited. In contrast, the “swiss cheese” laws covering whistleblowing often provide little to no protection for the tipsters, who are likely to be ostracized and blacklisted from their company or even industry after the story breaks.
After reviewing the Whistleblowers Protection Act, Dodd–Frank Act, Sarbanes–Oxley Act, and the False Claims Act, Eisenstadt and her co-author uncovered many of the loopholes that would inherently exclude whistleblowers from potential support. Although the laws prohibit retaliation to some extent, three out of four statutes do not protect whistleblowers from future employers’ prejudices.
While whistleblowers may be lauded by the public as a righteous and ethical individual who brought down a corrupt company, new employers are likely to see them as disloyal troublemakers.
“Beyond losing your job, the main reason people won’t come forward as whistleblowers is that they know they could be blackballed in the industry and face an extraordinarily difficult time finding future employment,” says Eisenstadt. “Sometimes, that is even more traumatizing than losing your present job.”
While anti-discrimination law clearly prohibits retaliation against job applicants, whistleblowers are typically left out in the rain. Eisenstadt and Pacella, in the first article to examine the lack of legal protections for whistleblowers who are applying for new jobs, propose a way to change that.
“We are arguing that Congress needs to step in and amend each of these federal statutes to provide protection for whistleblower applicants,” says Eisenstadt. “Our reform proposal is remarkably simple: take the language that’s in Title VII (and the decades of court interpretations that come with it) and add it to the whistleblower statutes.”
By adding the phrase “and job applicants,” Eisenstadt argues that this would end the problem of courts’ varying and unclear interpretations and create stronger protections for a vulnerable group. With clear statutory language detailing protections available to whistleblowers, courts can more fairly apply the law to the many types of whistleblowing cases that occur in both private and public settings.
“This is a problem that requires legislative action and not something the courts can do on their own,” says Eisenstadt.
With their hopes set to send their research to legislatures once published, the future of whistleblowers may become more positive—and maybe those 21 students who stayed quiet will eventually speak up.
Learn more about Fox School Research.
The popularity of true crime entertainment—from books to movies and television shows—has increased significantly in recent years. And when readers and viewers obsess about the type of work detectives, FBI agents, and criminal profilers do, they’re obsessing about the work of people like James R. Fitzgerald.
Fitzgerald, who will speak about his distinguished career at the Fox School Wednesday, April 18 (3 p.m., Alter Hall, MBA Commons 7th floor), studied law enforcement and corrections at Penn State before becoming a police officer in Bensalem Township, Pennsylvania. He climbed the ranks, from patrol officer to detective to sergeant, and was then recruited by the FBI in 1987. His first assignment was to the FBI/NYPD Joint Bank Robbery Task Force. Then he was promoted to a supervisory special agent as a profiler and later a forensic linguist, a job that put to work his two master’s degrees in organizational psychology (Villanova University) and linguistics (Georgetown University).
His first case as a profiler? The Unabomber investigation, one of the longest (17 years) and most expensive criminal investigations of the 20th Century.
His work with the FBI helped put Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber, behind bars. He has since written three books about his life and career, the most recent being A Journey to the Center of the Mind, Book III, which focuses on his first decade working with the FBI. He has also worked as an advisor and producer for several television shows, including CBS’s Criminal Minds and the Discovery Channel’s recent Manhunt: Unabomber.
In advance of Fitzgerald’s public event at the Fox School, we spoke to him about his exciting career path.
The work of criminal profilers has become household knowledge to many, but for those who may not know, can you explain what it is a profiler does?
“A profiler looks at the behavioral aspects of a crime or a crime scene and attempts to determine personality and demographic factors about the offender or offenders. They’re usually invisible clues, not forensic clues, and they’re based on psychological issues or issues regarding to the specific needs of the offender. Experienced profilers can determine what kind of offender it is and what he or she might do next and where they might do it.”
When you started working for the FBI in the late-1980s, profiling was still a fairly new practice. What was it like working in what was then a new, rare profession?
“Profiling came into its heyday in the 1980s and ’90s. I’m generally considered the third generation of FBI profilers. The concept of profiling was still very new and people, including the law enforcement community, were just finding out about it and learning that it wasn’t magic or mysterious, but involved an extensive knowledge of existing violent crimes, learning how and why each of those offenders committed those crimes, and the behavioral clues left behind.
“Profiling involves extensive knowledge of the criminal mind; I had been a police officer for 11 years and an FBI agent for seven years before I became a profiler. To be a good profiler, you have to have spent time at violent crime scenes interviewing victims and witnesses, and/or dealing with arrested individuals once they’re in the penal system. As a new profiler, part of my training was to go to prisons and meet with convicted lifers who’d committed violent crimes and interview them, just like in the TV series Mindhunter.”
Your first assignment as a profiler was to track down the Unabomber. This turned out to be a huge, life-changing case. How did you deal with the pressure of that situation?
“It was definitely a pressure-laden situation, especially because we knew he could bomb again at any time. He already killed three people, injured several dozen, and his bombs were getting more lethal. In June of 1995, he sent his ‘Manifesto’ to The New York Times and he wrote in accompanying letters that if they published it, he’d stop bombing for purposes of killing, but not for purposes of sabotage. A lot of people forget that last part. I believed he would try to keep his word, and I thought that by putting the ‘Manifesto’ out there someone might recognize his writing style, themes, and topics. There were debates within the FBI’s UNABOM Task Force in San Francisco whether to publish it or not; I firmly believed we should publish it and I stated so.
“There was so much linguistic evidence in it, and we finally got approved at the highest levels of government to publish it. The pressure was there. We knew that if we made a mistake it could possibly result in more bombings. Kaczynski, at the time, was just one of many suspects. I was the expert on the ‘Manifesto,’ then in February of 1996 I was asked to read a 23-page document that was faxed to me back at the FBI Academy in Quantico. It turned out someone named David Kaczynski, Ted’s younger brother, through his attorney, had turned over this document to the FBI. I read it, compared it to the ‘Manifesto,’ and told the UTF bosses either it was an elaborate plagiarism or ‘you’ve got your man.’ The latter was eventually proven to be correct. I went back out to the UTF in San Francisco, and about eight weeks later, the Unabomber was arrested and he never saw the light of day again.”
Your career has evolved in such a unique way, especially now that you’re writing books and working on television shows. How have you stayed open to these new career pathways?
“Life is full of adaptation. As an undergrad or grad student, you have to be willing to veer left or veer right, and sometimes even go backwards, to achieve your goals. Everyone’s life is a journey. My life varied over the years with different types of assignments within my profession. As a Bensalem police officer, I remember sitting on top of a billboard on I-95 looking for guys stealing cars. Throughout my career, I did undercover drug buys, responded to the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993, and had my first job as a profiler be the Unabomber case. The language analysis work I did on that case set legal precedent on how language can be used in the courts. Now I’m having a second life in Hollywood. I’ve adapted from street officer to FBI special agent to profiler to forensic linguist to TV consultant and writer. And I don’t think I’m done adapting yet. I remain open and excited to see where it takes me next.”
This event, sponsored by the Department of Legal Studies in Business, is part of an ongoing series of celebrations commemorating the Fox School’s 100th anniversary.
Learn more about the Fox School’s Department of Legal Studies in Business.
According to the research findings of a professor from the Fox School, business ownership doesn’t always equate to entrepreneurship.
Dr. Kevin J. Fandl, assistant professor in the Department of Legal Studies in Business, and his coauthor, Juana Paola Bustamante of the International Finance Corporation, analyzed a law passed in 2010 in Colombia to assess the impact of business streamlining laws on small, gray market firms. The law aimed to convince owners of gray market or legally non-compliant firms to become part of the formal marketplace, which entails steps such as acquiring licenses, registering with the local chamber of commerce, complying with labor laws, and paying taxes.
They found that a majority of business owners in Colombia had no interest in becoming entrepreneurs and scaling their firms. Instead, they preferred to operate within informal markets as a means of generating enough capital to support their cost of living, and not much more. In fact, in most cases, these firms utilized informality as a market advantage, securing economic advantages by avoiding the very things that make firms formal, like taxes and labor costs. Fandl’s research paper, “Incentivizing Gray Market Entrepreneurs in Emerging Markets,” was published in Northwestern Journal of International Law & Business, the world’s top-ranked international trade law journal, according to Washington & Lee.
Colombia’s 2010 formalization law, Fandl explained, was an attempt by the country to streamline the process through which businesses registered with the government. The law offered these “shadow” businesses a transition period during which they would pay no taxes, registration fees, or contributions to the government for the social security and health of their employees. The costs eventually would be phased in, according to the law, allowing businesses to be more successful in the immediate term and contribute to employee benefits at a later date. But this approach was based on an economic theory that high costs are the principal barrier to business formalization, a theory that Fandl appears to debunk in some cases.
Fandl’s study explored the level of informality exhibited within Colombian firms and found practically no significant change before or after the law was enacted. While some larger firms used the law as an opportunity to take advantage of the benefits of formal operations at virtually no additional cost, most small firms targeted by the law chose to stay informal.
“The World Bank and a number of other institutions have studied this, and economists have generally concluded that firms operate informally as gray market firms, because it is too difficult or too expensive to formalize their operations,” says Fandl, who added that roughly 50 percent of firms in Latin America qualify as gray market firms. “It’s a huge problem, because, in essence, these firms are engaging in anti-competitive behavior that undercuts the formal market and allows them to lower their overhead costs, giving them an unfair advantage.”
Prior studies in this area relied heavily on anecdotal evidence, according to Fandl, and found that bureaucracy and escalating costs were cited as reasons for holding back owners of gray market firms, providing them with no incentives for registering their businesses. Fandl’s research, however, revealed the opposite.
“We found that while a few use the informal economy as a means to build businesses in a cost-effective manner, the majority of small firms operate informally only to accrue basic income. These inefficient firms are what we call ‘survivalist firms,'” he says. “They operate their firms to maintain a basic standard of living, and without the desire to become a successful entrepreneur.”
Since passing its 2010 law, Colombia and its Ministry of Commerce have developed pilot programs to educate the owners of these firms to become more entrepreneurial, teaching basic business skills such as accounting and management, helping them differentiate between strong and weak markets, offering mentorship, and providing collaborative opportunities with other survivalist firms. These efforts, Fandl says, are intended to find and spark the entrepreneurial spirit the Colombian government believes lies within some of these firm owners.
Fandl’s study concludes that there’s no single solution to Colombia’s efforts to legitimize its informal marketplace. The nation struggles to combat a high unemployment rate, which prompts its people to seek work and find a living any way possible, even if that means doing so by operating a gray market firm.
“’Forced entrepreneurship’ is the term we use in our paper, and until the unemployment crisis is addressed, this issue will not have a solution,” says Fandl, who adds that follow-up studies in this area are ongoing.
This story originally appeared in On the Verge, the Fox School’s research magazine.
Learn more about Fox School Research.
Concussions have forever altered the sports landscape, calling attention to an injury that is difficult to diagnose and spawning a major motion picture.
Samuel D. Hodge, LAW ’74, professor at the Fox School, has co-authored a book that approaches head trauma and brain injuries, including concussions, from the perspective of the insurance, legal, and medical fields. His book, Head Trauma and Brain Injury for Lawyers, is the latest in a series of medical-legal guides he has penned for the American Bar Association. He’s written others spanning anatomy, the spine, and forensic autopsies.
“We used to assume that boxers were just ‘punch drunk,’ or that a football player ‘got his bell rung,’ but now, obviously, we know better,” says Hodge.
While the book delves into head trauma and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), Hodge says he and co-author Jack E. Hubbard, professor of neurology at the University of Minnesota’s School of Medicine, took a broader approach. The book covers basic anatomy of the brain and its functions, explains the neurological system, and demonstrates how to understand and interpret diagnostic tests for this area of the body.
“What makes the book so interesting and its breadth so wide is that we have chapters on head injuries sustained in military combat, sports, third-party lawsuits, social security disability, and workers’ compensation,” Hodge explains. “Our approach, from both a medical and legal perspective, should make this the seminal book on this subject—not only for medical and legal professionals, but also for those in the insurance industry.”
TBIs contribute to roughly 30 percent of all injury deaths in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In his research, Hodge found that TBIs were the most common injury incurred in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“On the surface, that is surprising,” he says. “But because our military personnel have full body armor, they’re protected from shrapnel in pretty much every other part of their bodies. But road landmines, explosions, and IEDs made concussions and other types of brain trauma the signature injury of the war.”
Concussion litigation has shaken the NFL, as former players file federal lawsuits against the league both for failure to acknowledge the lasting effects of brain-related injuries and to establish guidelines for the recognition and prevention of them. TBIs have been identified as a major cause of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a protein buildup that causes degeneration of the brain. The discovery of CTE, and the NFL’s initial refusal to address it, inspired Concussion, the award-winning film starring Will Smith.
Robert C. Cantu, clinical professor of neurosurgery at Boston University, who previously has urged the NFL to embrace medical findings pertaining to concussions and CTE, authored a chapter in Hodge’s book.
“Concussions aren’t simply a timely topic that will go away. People still lack a fundamental understanding of their effect on the brain,” Hodge says. “The contributions of Dr. Cantu and other leading experts to this book demonstrate the relevance of TBIs, concussions, and all head injuries today.”
This story originally appeared in On the Verge, the Fox School’s research magazine.
Learn more about Fox School Research.
For 800,000 young immigrants, the future is uncertain.
In August, the Trump Administration rescinded the executive actions that President Obama took to protect minors who illegally immigrated to the United States, not by their own choice, but alongside their parents. Established in 2012, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy allowed young immigrants to live, work, and go to college without the fear of deportation.
The Trump Administration maintains that Obama’s actions were unconstitutional, exceeding the scope of the executive branch by effectively changing the country’s laws—a responsibility that rests solely with Congress.
Kevin Fandl, assistant professor of Legal Studies at the Fox School, studied whether that claim is true in his paper, “Presidential Power to Protect Dreamers: Abusive or Proper?” which was accepted for publication by the Yale Law & Policy Review Inter Alia.
Fandl reviewed 200 years of case laws and statutes since the founding of the United States to learn what role the president has in enforcing—or ignoring—legislation affecting young immigrants, known as “Dreamers.” His research asks the question: “Does the president have the ability to selectively choose how the law is enforced?”
The president makes an oath to uphold the laws of this country. But, Fandl says, that doesn’t mean he has unlimited capacity to enforce each and every law. The president has the power of prosecutorial discretion—the authority to choose which laws to impose and to what degree—to allocate the resources available, such as budgets or staff, in line with his Administration’s priorities.
“The government is not a business,” says Fandl. “But in this case, you have to look at it from a business perspective and say, ‘This is how we have to dedicate our resources.'”
Fandl relates it to marijuana—an illegal drug by federal law, but legalized or decriminalized in many states. By choosing to not crack down on dispensaries, administrations can reallocate those resources to other issues, like, for example, border security.
In the case of DACA, Obama chose to not enforce immigration laws against individuals brought to this country as children. Fandl says, “Interpreting how the law is enforced is not only within the power of the executive—it is a logical approach to resource management.”
As Fandl’s research of the historical precedence shows, the Trump Administration’s argument against the constitutionality of DACA is flawed. The powers of prosecutorial discretion protect the president’s ability to spend more time or money on enforcing some laws over others.
Fandl’s paper, “Presidential Power to Protect Dreamers: Abusive or Proper?” will be published online by the Yale Law & Policy Review Inter Alia in the coming weeks.
Learn more about Fox School Research.
The Superior Court of Pennsylvania and the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania will visit Temple University to hold oral argument sessions in Alter Hall, home of the Fox School of Business, on Tuesday, Oct. 10, and Tuesday, Oct. 17, respectively.
While the Superior and Commonwealth Courts normally hear arguments on appeals in Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia, the two courts are holding special sessions at Temple within one week of each other in honor of the Fox School’s upcoming 100th anniversary in 2018. The sessions, rarely ever afforded to a school, are two unique events in an ongoing series of celebrations commemorating the centennial anniversary.
Co-hosted by the Fox School’s Legal Studies in Business department and Temple’s Beasley School of Law, the oral argument sessions offer an opportunity for students, faculty, and staff to learn about the service of the judiciary to all Pennsylvanians and better acquaint themselves with how matters before state courts are considered and resolved. During the sessions, lawyers will present to the judges the legal reasons why their cases should prevail based on the arguments made in the written briefs. Oral arguments give lawyers the chance to clarify their points and answer questions for a decision from the court.
Both sessions will take place on the seventh floor of Alter Hall in the MBA Commons, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The session on Oct. 10 with the Superior Court will be preceded by remarks in honor of the late James E. Beasley, Esq., for whom the Beasley School of Law is named. The session on Oct. 17 with the Commonwealth Court will include a lunchtime Q&A with judges and students, moderated by Dean Gregory N. Mandel of the Beasley School of Law.
Created in 1895, the Superior Court is one of the busiest appellate courts in the United States, docketing hundreds of thousands of filings per year and deciding more than 8,000 civil, criminal, domestic relations, and orphans’ court cases. Established in 1968, the Commonwealth Court is responsible for matters involving state and local governments and regulatory agencies and also acts as a trial court when lawsuits are filed by or against the Commonwealth.
About the Fox School of Business Established in 1918, the Fox School of Business at Temple University is the largest and most comprehensive business school in the Philadelphia region, with more than 9,000 students, 210 faculty, and 65,000 alumni, and one of the largest in the world. It offers 15 undergraduate majors, including the Online BBA, which is ranked No. 2 nationally by U.S. News & World Report. The school also provides access to more than 20 student professional organizations; the Fox Honors program; and cutting-edge technology and stellar student services, including the Business Communications Center and the Center for Student Professional Development (CSPD), which for the last five years has had a 95- to 97-percent job-placement rate among undergraduates who use its services. Since 1934, the Fox School has been continuously accredited by AACSB International, a distinction held by less than 5 percent of the world’s business schools, and offers nationally and internationally ranked programs on campuses in the U.S. and throughout the world.
Dr. Kevin Fandl, of Temple University’s Fox School of Business, is available to discuss the fragile landscape of immigration in the United States, and the ever-evolving public policy related to it.
Fandl is an assistant professor of Legal Studies in Business and the academic director of the Fox School’s Global Immersion Programs. In the latter role, Fandl organizes global experiential learning opportunities for all graduate and undergraduate students, exposing them to global business practices and distinct legal and regulatory environments around the world, helping them to become versatile and globally focused participants in the marketplace.
In recent semesters, immigration has become a topic of significant import—and interest—within the business school as the economics of immigration play a more prominent role in more sectors of the economy, from immigrant investors to entrepreneurs and agricultural laborers.
“No matter the subject of the class, from constitutional law to public policy to international business, questions arise about immigration law and policy. It’s a hot issue, obviously,” said Fandl, “and our students truly enjoy hearing about the latest news and issues, immigration history in our country, and the economic impact of immigration.”
Fandl will dedicate two class periods in his Law & Public Policy class to the history and economics of immigration law and policy in October. His course will meet Tuesday, Oct. 16 and Thursday, Oct. 18, from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.
Prior to his career in academia, Fandl ran a boutique immigration law firm working on high-skilled immigrant workers. He then joined the Department of Homeland Security, where he completed nearly a decade of public service, serving as counsel to the assistant secretary for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, among other senior roles.
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Concussions have forever altered the sports landscape, calling attention to an injury that is difficult to diagnose and spawning a major motion picture.
Dr. Samuel D. Hodge, Jr., professor from Temple University’s Fox School of Business has co-authored a book that approaches head trauma and brain injuries, including concussions, from the perspective of the medical, legal, and insurance fields.
The book, titled, “Head Trauma and Brain Injury for Lawyers,” is the latest by Hodge in a series of medical-legal guides he has penned for the American Bar Association (ABA). He’s written others spanning anatomy, the spine, and forensic autopsies.
“We used to assume that boxers were just ‘punch drunk,’ or that a football player ‘got his bell rung,’ but now, obviously, we know better,” said Hodge, Professor of Legal Studies in Business at Fox, who also teaches anatomy at Temple’s Katz School of Medicine.
While the book delves into head trauma and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), Hodge said he and co-author Dr. Jack E. Hubbard, Professor of Neurology at the University of Minnesota’s School of Medicine, took a broader approach. The 580-page text, which was published in January, explains the neurological system, covers basic anatomy of the brain and its functions, and demonstrates how to understand and interpret diagnostic tests for this area of the body.
“What makes the book so interesting and its breadth so wide is that we have chapters on head injuries sustained in military combat, sports, third-party lawsuits, social-security disability, and workers compensation,” Hodge said. “Our approach, from both a medical and legal perspective, should make this the seminal book on this subject – not only for medical and legal professionals, but also for those in the insurance industry.”
TBIs contribute to roughly 30 percent of all injury deaths in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In his research for the book, Hodge found that TBIs were the most-common injury incurred in the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“On the surface, that is surprising,” he said. “But because our military personnel have full body armor, they’re protected from shrapnel in pretty much every other part of their bodies. But road landmines, explosions, and IEDs (improvised explosive devices) made concussions and other types of brain trauma the signature injury of the war.”
Concussion litigation has shaken the National Football League, as former players file federal lawsuits against the league both for failure to acknowledge the lasting effects of brain-related injuries, and to establish guidelines for the recognition and prevention of them. TBIs have been identified as a major cause of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a protein build-up that causes degeneration of the brain. The discovery of CTE, and the NFL’s initial refusal to address it, inspired Concussion, a film released in December 2015.
Dr. Robert C. Cantu, Clinical Professor of Neurosurgery at Boston University, who previously has urged the NFL to embrace medical findings pertaining to concussions and CTE, authored a chapter in Hodge’s book.
“Concussions aren’t simply a timely topic that will go away. People still lack a fundamental understanding of their effect on the brain,” Hodge said. “The contributions of Dr. Cantu, and other leading experts, to this book demonstrate the relevance of TBIs, concussions, and all head injuries today.”
Caitlyn Jenner identifies as transgender. Tiger Woods identifies as “Cablinasian,” a term he created.
What do the television personality and champion golfer have in common? Their racial and gender identities are not easily defined.
Like Jenner and Woods, many Americans can relate. A researcher at Temple University’s Fox School of Business posits that employment laws in the American legal system be restructured to offer civil-liberties protections for citizens who face identity discrimination.
“This isn’t a race or a gender issue. It’s an identity issue,” said Leora Eisenstadt, an Assistant Professor in Fox’s Legal Studies in Business department. “Society has changed, but our laws and legal formulas often look at individuals as members of categories into which a person can fit neatly. Today, there is no such purity. That doesn’t exist, which demonstrates how our laws are out of step with reality.”
Eisenstadt’s research points to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which protects employees from discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin, and religion. She said Title VII, however, does not always or easily protect against the discrimination of multiracial or transgender individuals. Courts are often baffled by these fluid identities, she said, sometimes rejecting the cases on those grounds and, other times, ignoring the worker’s actual identity to make the legal formula work.
“Cases have been thrown out of court because the plaintiffs did not fit into a box,” Eisenstadt said. “Unfortunately, according to many courts, if you can’t prove you are a member of a single protected class, your case will not reach a jury. As a result, the law has often prompted individuals to sacrifice part of their identity in order to fit into a box and have their case heard.”
And this confusion in the courts has a negative impact on employers and employees alike, since a lack of clarity in the courts can lead to more difficult employment decisions, an inability to effectively train management and human resources professionals, and litigation that eats up precious resources.
In her research, Eisenstadt cites the United States Census and Facebook as examples of society being ahead of the courts. In 2000, the U.S. Census Bureau implemented a system in which it asked Census respondents to “check all that apply” in regard to the races with which they identify. She also called attention to Facebook. This year, the social media platform began offering its 189 million U.S. users more than 50 gender-identity options.
What these prove, Eisenstadt said, is that people cannot always be categorized so easily.
“In employment discrimination law, workers need to prove that they are a part of a protected class in order to bring a discrimination suit,” she said. “In theory, everyone is a member of a protected class. But in society today, those categories are porous and fluid. Not everybody has a single race or a gender. You might have multiple races or multiple genders or you might reject that categorization altogether.”
The American Business Law Journal recently published Eisenstadt’s theoretical research paper, titled, “Fluid Identity Discrimination.”
Eisenstadt’s research centers on employment discrimination as it relates to race and gender. In 2012, she published a theoretical research paper, titled, “The N-Word at Work: Contextualizing Language in the Workplace,” in the Berkeley Journal of Employment and Labor Law. That paper examined the power of language, and who – based on identity – was permitted to use particular words in the workplace.
“We are moving toward an age of fluid identities, if we aren’t there already, and our employment laws have not caught up,” Eisenstadt said.
It was barely 9 a.m. when Dr. Samuel D. Hodge halted his Oct. 27 lecture mid-sentence and smiled knowingly as his classroom was overrun with Temple University cheerleaders, Diamond Gem dancers, marching band members and mascot Hooter the Owl leading the Temple fight song.
“I told you to expect the unexpected,” said Hodge, Professor of Legal Studies at the Fox School of Business, to students scrambling for their smartphones to catch the excitement on camera.
Hodge’s Law in Society students, gathered in Alter Hall’s 274-seat auditorium, were made the subjects of the university’s second Pop-Up Pride event. (The first event, held Oct. 13, featured alumnus Nicolas Jimenez, FOX ’08.) The spirit squad surprises unsuspecting Temple students, faculty members, or alumni to provide a jolt of school spirit.
Hodge couldn’t wait for his students to see what he’d planned for them. He’d told them the cameras lingering around the room were just shooting promotional material for the university, and was pleased to realize they honestly had no idea.
“You really can’t find a better week to do this,” said Hodge, a football season-ticket holder, alluding to Temple’s matchup Oct. 31 with Notre Dame, a fellow nationally ranked team.
Shouting into the bullhorn, Pop-Up Pride squad leader and Engagement Coordinator for the Office of Alumni Relations Ray Smeriglio, SMC ’15, complimented Hodge’s dedication to Temple athletics and his unwavering school spirit.
“Why did we ambush your classroom?” Smeriglio said, throwing his arm around Hodge’s shoulders. “Because you’ve got one bomb professor.”
Hodge’s students smiled as they snapped photos with their smartphones before attempting to catch beaded necklaces, T-shirts and beach balls being thrown around the auditorium. Most were too shocked to speak.
Hodge laughed as he dismissed his students, sure his lecture couldn’t compete with the echoing sound of “Go T-U!” left in the Pop-Up Pride squad’s wake.
“This is part of what the college environment is about — fostering school spirit,” Hodge said. “You’re Temple now, and you’re Temple for the rest of your life.”
In his course “Law in American Society,” an animation of folk singer Willie Nelson, designed by Dr. Samuel D. Hodge, strums his guitar as he explains the difference between public and private law.
Professor of Legal Studies at the Fox School of Business, Hodge’s use of such animations demonstrates his place as an innovative educator. Hodge recently was chosen by the Academy for Teachers to serve as its 2016 master teacher and will lead a program on innovation in teaching.
The Academy for Teachers is an annual selective conference in New York City that’s intended for teachers. One master professor, as chosen by the Academy, leads a lesson for a number of selected high school teachers on innovative strategies in teaching. Previous master teachers include Emmy Award-winning filmmaker and historian Henry Louis Gates Jr.; Pulitzer Prize in Music winner David Lang; and renowned social and political activist Gloria Steinem.
This year, Hodge will teach 18 high school teachers Jan. 8, 2016, at the one-day conference.
Hodge has taught a variety of undergraduate- and graduate-level classes in law and medicine at Temple University for more than 40 years. He currently leads a law lecture that consists of 400 to 600 students, which is considered one of the largest courses at Temple. To keep students interested in a class of that size, Hodge has had to get creative.
“You have to throw conventional wisdom out the window,” Hodge said.
Hodge developed multimedia presentations for his courses, consisting of self-created animations.
“Everything moves. Everything I say projects behind me on the board,” Hodge said, “but I actually have a cartoon Professor Sam, and he sings and narrates.”
The animations include a long list of celebrities. His latest is actor Jack Nicholson discussing various areas in law. Hodge has an art and music background. Since 1982, he has owned music-publishing company Eastwick Publishing, and he’s also produced illustrations for various medical books he’s written. So it was fitting, he said, that for his educational animations he’d write the songs, record the audio, and then create an animated character to perform them.
The best way to gain the interest of the “MTV generation,” he said, was through an audio-visual format.
“I call it edutainment,” Hodge said. “It is a combination of education and entertainment. People grew up in a visual format, so people want to be taught in that format.”
From a nominated group of 6,000, the Academy for Teachers selected 18 high school teachers that Hodge will educate. The “master class” can be given in any subject matter. The focus is to showcase unusual or innovative teaching techniques. Hodge will teach anatomy to the group of teachers in his area of expertise: AV format.
On the morning of the program, Hodge will teach the fundamentals of anatomy through song at the Museum of Natural History. He also plans to show the dozen-and-a-half teachers video of a heart being dissected. During the second segment of the day, the group will travel to the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Medical Center, where he will take them into the lab to see a dissection first hand.
Joe Pangaro, a second-year teaching assistant in Hodge’s “Law and American Society” course and “Legal Environment of Business” courses, said Hodge’s passion for teaching is present daily.
“Every year, when a new set of TAs gets to know him and gets exposed to his workload, there is a period of shock when you are just in awe of how much he accomplishes in a day,” said Pangaro, a third-year law student. “When you find out he does not drink coffee, it seems all the more amazing, but then you spend some time with him and you realize it’s because he truly loves everything he is doing.”
Hodge hopes to impart to the high school educators a degree of fearlessness in their use of technology to demonstrate complex topics.
“This was a total surprise,” he said. “I didn’t apply for it, they just called me out of the blue one day. Then I saw the list of people who have been selected before me and I said, ‘Why am I within that elite group?’ But I am, and it’s exciting.”
Dr. Samuel D. Hodge prides himself in using unconventional methods, like animated, voiced-over videos, to instruct his students.
Recently Hodge, Chair of the Legal Studies department at the Fox School of Business, turned to web-conferencing platform WebEx to bridge the geographic gap between his Business Law students at Temple University and a prominent guest speaker.
CNN Chief Product Officer Alex Wellen virtually addressed Hodge’s students from New York City during a March 31 class session.
As a guest speaker in Hodge’s course, Wellen discussed creative career paths for those with a law degree. Wellen, LAW ’97, served as a teaching assistant under Hodge while pursuing his graduate degree at Temple University’s Beasley School of Law.
“A law degree teaches you how to think outside of the box. Alex is a classic example of that principle,” Hodge said. “I wanted to show students that having a law degree can be a stepping stone for a number of career paths outside of practicing traditional law.”
Before joining CNN, Wellen produced and co-hosted an Emmy Award-winning television series, Cybercrime, which aired on TechTV. Cybercrime was the first investigative TV series devoted to covering high-tech crime. Wellen told students that, in his youth, he was fascinated by the thought of inventing new products. His childhood passion is now a reality, he said. In his current role, Wellen develops new products for CNN’s mobile, web, video, TV, data and emerging platforms and oversees the global business operations for CNN’s digital platforms.
“It’s important to analyze how people are getting news now and how they will retrieve it in the future,” Wellen told Hodge’s class. “It’s my job to figure all of that out and understand how we can make a business out of it and create good journalism.”
CNN is widely regarded as one of the top cable news networks, responsible for delivering breaking news from across the globe. Thusly, students asked Wellen questions relating to the importance of being first to break a story. Social media, Wellen said, has changed the game, in regard to how quickly people expect to receive news.
“It’s more important to be right than be first,” said Wellen. “Social media allows us to connect with people from across the planet and receive news from first hand witnesses. So it’s extremely important to confirm details before we release information, just like in law.”
Wellen challenged Hodge’s students to view a law degree in a creative way. When starting out in the industry, Wellen said he hadn’t considered a career in journalism.
“You never know who you will meet along your professional journey that will help you get in the door,” Wellen said. “I’ve had great champions in my life that have opened my mind up and taught me how to look at my life untraditionally and to always be open to new experiences.”
Somewhat like Hodge’s innovative methods for bringing elite guest speakers to his students in a Philadelphia classroom.
For the first time, Temple University’s Fox School of Business will offer a Mini MBA certificate program for law professionals.
The accelerated weekend program, offered in partnership with Temple’s Beasley School of Law, is designed to equip working attorneys and recent law school graduates with the business acumen that’s most relevant and necessary to today’s legal environment, without disrupting their professional careers.
The Mini MBA is a 10-course offering that begins Friday, April 24, and runs through Sunday, April 26, at Temple University’s Shusterman Hall (campus map). The Mini-MBA provides 21 hours of classroom instruction, and 18 credits in Pennsylvania Continuing Legal Education (PA CLE).
“The Mini MBA is an exceptional addition to Fox’s executive education programs,” said Dr. Samuel D. Hodge, Professor and Chair of the Fox School’s Legal Studies department. “This program is unique because it is a joint enterprise between the Beasley School and Fox School, with top faculty from both teaching the courses.”
World-class faculty from the Beasley School of Law and Fox School’s Legal Studies, Finance, Marketing and Supply Chain Management, and Risk, Insurance and Healthcare Management departments will lead courses that include:
- Accounting for Lawyers
- Legal Issues in the Workplace
- Drafting of Business Agreements
- Industrial Organization and Corporate Strategy
- Managing Risk
- Corporate Compliance
Each day of the program will begin with a breakfast leadership session. Friday, Temple University men’s basketball coach and Fox School adjunct professor Fran Dunphy will cover effective business leadership. President of Puma Legal Placement Lysa Puma will explore marketing strategies for lawyers during Saturday’s session. And Sunday, Rosemarie Greco, the former president of CoreStates Bank and Chair of VISION 2020, will discuss leadership practices.
“The relationship between law and business is becoming more intertwined every year,” said Duncan B. Hollis, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs of the Beasley School. “We believe in equipping lawyers with the tools necessary for practicing in all contexts, and not just in traditional litigation settings. The Mini MBA offers lawyers the introduction they need to attain basic business skills, which can serve as a scaffolding upon which to build up real expertise in business law.”
The tuition cost of the Mini MBA program is $2,500, which includes materials and meals. Beasley School of Law alumni are eligible for a $500 tuition discount.
To pre-register, visit www.mytlawconnection.com/minimba15. Day-of registrants are welcome, as well, though spots are limited.