Howard J. Weiss, a Fox School of Business professor of operations management in the Department of Marketing and Supply Chain Management, will be retiring at the end of the academic year after 42 years of teaching, research, and service excellence.
“I’m going to relax, read more, winter in Florida, spend more time with my wife, travel to see my children and grandchildren more often, and continue to maintain my educational software packages with Pearson Publishing,” says Weiss about his retirement plans.
Weiss grew up in the Mount Airy section of Philadelphia; he attended Philadelphia public schools, including Central High School (227). In 1972, he completed his undergraduate studies in applied mathematics and computer science at Washington University in St. Louis. In his senior year, he was torn between becoming a professor or a lawyer. He ultimately chose the former, and after completing his MS and PhD in industrial engineering and management science at Northwestern University, he took his first teaching position at Western Illinois University.
“It was out in the middle of cornfields,” he recalls of Western Illinois. “I’d previously been in Philadelphia, St. Louis, and Chicago, so it was a pleasant change to be able to leave our doors unlocked. But my wife and I ultimately wanted to live in a larger and more progressive city.”
The next year, in 1976, he took a job at Temple University, in what was then the Department of Management. His research, which has been published in leading journals, shed new light on waiting lines, inventory, and scheduling. In 1988, his first educational software package and textbook were released. He has since updated the software package, and developed new software for Pearson. “It’s exciting,” he says, “to know that my software has been used globally by so many students.”
Weiss has helped lead the Fox School through many critical evolutions over the last four decades; in 2006, to recognize his efforts and impact, he received Fox’s highest honor, the annual Musser Award for Service, and in 2013 he received the Temple University Outstanding Faculty Service Award. Weiss was a member of the steering committee that established the Online MBA program and, always one to integrate technology into the classroom, was one of the very first people to incorporate computers and Excel into the classroom and to teach an online course at Fox. He recently was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Fox School. He also has served his professional organizations in multiple capacities, including editorial positions for several leading journals.
He served as the academic director of the Executive MBA program for 14 years, and academic director of the Part-Time MBA program for eight years. “I always envisioned myself as a quant person, so to have that kind of leadership and administrative opportunity was very rewarding,” says Weiss. “I’m very grateful to the dean for that.”
In addition to his many papers directly related to his field of operations management, Weiss has published several articles about professional sports. He has written on ice hockey, bias of schedules and playoff seeding, and ranking the greatest sports records of all time. Weiss, a big fan of both Philadelphia and Temple athletics, has had this most recent research noted in Sports Illustrated and The Wall Street Journal.
Weiss is part of a larger Temple family. His daughter, Lisa, received her undergraduate degree from Temple in religion. His wife, Lucia, received her degree in women’s studies from Temple and has recently retired as an associate professor of family medicine from the Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine. Professors Weiss have been generous donors to the Fox School and to Temple over the years, including funding an endowed annual prize in women’s studies for graduating seniors. (Alas, his son, Ernie, has his degrees from non-Temple institutions.)
One of the things Weiss—who taught many different courses on operations management and quantitative methods—will miss the most after 42 years at the Fox School is his classroom interactions with students.
“We have some incredible, wonderful students at Fox,” he says. “It has always been a big thrill to see students’ eyes light up when they learn something new or relate what I teach in the classroom to their jobs. Today I gave a quiz and asked the students something I hadn’t taught before. I wasn’t expecting everybody to get it right, but it was really pleasing to see students come up with an idea on their own and try their best. That’s what I’ll miss most about teaching. In addition, I have had the most wonderful colleagues in the department, school, and university that anyone could ask for. They will be sorely missed.”
Learn more about the Department of Marketing and Supply Chain Management.