The Fox School of Business is honoring those who take their research into the real world.
On Dec. 3, the Fox School and the School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management (STHM) hosted the 21st Annual Research Roundtable & Teaching Awards, which acknowledges faculty members for their impact on students through their dedicated teaching and research efforts.
As in previous years, full-time and adjunct faculty in undergraduate and graduate programs at the Fox School and STHM were honored for excellence in teaching, while research faculty were recognized for new publications with high academic impact or for high external funding. This year, the schools introduced awards that highlight translational research.
Sudipta Basu, associate dean for research and doctoral programs, announced the four new categories in this year’s ceremony: pedagogical research, case-based research, practice research and policy research. “These new awards recognize efforts by tenure-track and non-tenure-track faculty highlight to others the ways that our research is relevant,” Basu explains. “For example, pedagogical research seeks to find better ways of teaching or communicating with students.”
The Fox School is making translating research outside of academia a priority, says Basu. “As outlined in the Fox Strategic Plan, research leadership is one of our four strategic pillars. Within that, we’ve identified translational research as one of our core precepts.”
Why does translational research matter?
“As business academics, we are often very good at coming up with new ideas, but we do not always ensure that these ideas are being implemented,” Basu says. “Translational research is the idea that companies and non-academics should be using business school research. We are encouraging our faculty who are trying to get their research into practice.”
Fifteen faculty members received these new honors including Excellence in Pedagogical Research Awards, which celebrates those who conduct research to benefit learning, teaching and assessment; Excellence in Case-Based Awards for business cases that bring real-world examples backed by research into the classroom; Excellence in Practice Research Awards for publications in practitioner journals; and Excellence in Policy Research Awards for impactful policy proposals.
In addition, Mary A. Weiss Cummins, Deaver Professor of Risk Management and Insurance, received the Lifetime Achievement Award, which is given to a full-time, tenured faculty member at the Fox School who has exhibited a lifetime of achievement in teaching, research and service. Weiss Cummins has published numerous research articles throughout her career, covering topics such as financial services conglomeration, efficiency measurement of insurers, no-fault automobile insurance, reinsurance, regulation and underwriting cycles.
Patrick McKay was installed as the Stanley and Franny Wang Professor of Human Resource Management. This named professorship supports excellence in business and management education. This endowed chair position was named by Stanley, MBA ’72, and Franny Wang, MBA ’72, with the belief that supporting impactful educators provides quality education for dynamic students and a better, more educated world. McKay’s research focuses on demographic disparities in worker outcomes, diversity, diversity climate, organizational demography, worker attitudes and retention, and job- and organizational-level performance.
This year’s Research Roundtable and Teaching Awards highlight a strategic change in the growth and application of the Fox School’s excellence in research, which not only impacts Temple University but now seeks to translate to the local community, business, policymakers and society at large.
Basu adds, “The goal is to increase the impact of our research. Translating that research is how we can change the world.”
Learn more about Fox School Research.
When Kevin Casey, BBA ‘10, tried his first piece of homemade beef jerky, he fell in love with the taste. Shortly afterward, he decided to make his own. Casey initially started making jerky for himself and his friends, a project that blossomed into creating it for the Long Beach community and beyond. Since the official launch of Chudabeef Jerky Company in 2014, the business has been rapidly expanding. Kevin Casey’s passion and drive serve as an example of how Fox’s resources and networks prepare students to succeed.
At the Fox School, Casey took full advantage of the resources offered to him, and he continues to utilize these skills in his current business venture. “The courses were excellent and engaging, and the curriculum opened my eyes to how much fun it would be to someday run my own business,” says Casey.
As President of the Temple Snowboard club, Casey innovatively combined courses and extracurricular activities into skills that he finds extremely useful when running his business. “I was able to transfer a lot of skills I learned at Fox into running the club and overcoming all of the challenges you would normally go through during the startup phase of a business,” says Casey. “We always had to find ways to be creative and fun, and I think what I learned at Fox helped me grow the club to one of the largest on-campus!”
As an alumnus, Kevin Casey is still taking advantage of Fox’s resources to help grow Chudabeef Jerky. “The resources available to Fox alumni have been incredibly valuable,” says Casey. “Everyone has been very helpful, there is always someone available to help with any roadblocks that I run into while running my business.”
Recently closing a deal with supermarket chain Publix, Chudabeef will be on Publix’s shelves in January 2020, serving as an exciting start to the new year. “Publix is huge for us because it will open the doors to more East Coast distribution. This also increases our store count from 1,200 to 2,430 stores—so 2020 is already off to a great start,” says Casey.
While attending Fox, Kevin understood the importance of a work-life balance, and now while managing a booming business, he still finds time to relax with his wife and close friends. “In the summers, we hike and camp as much as possible and in the winter, I blow off steam most weekends snowboarding at Mammoth Mountain,” says Kevin. “And, of course, I bring a ton of jerky to stay fueled for the day—and to keep my friends fueled.”
When companies look to become more efficient, one of the first things they do is look for waste—elements of the production process that add little value despite taking up precious time and resources. However, with careful implementation, businesses can achieve greater efficiency by investing in what works well.
For example, take the contrast between push and pull processes in manufacturing. Most manufacturing firms operate using a “push” model; they make a certain amount of product and store it in a warehouse until it can be sold. In contrast, other companies operate a “pull” model; they only produce products after having received an order. In pull manufacturing, no product stays sitting in a warehouse and products move through production with little delay, reducing the amount of waste in the process.
This “pull” manufacturing model is one of the ways that companies become lean—in other words, identify areas that don’t produce value, cut that waste and thereby increase labor and process efficiency. However, going lean puts enormous pressure on companies and requires special attention paid to supply chain management and labor.
Tom Stone, DBA ’18 and assistant teaching professor of business at Penn State Abington, wanted to take the lessons learned from lean manufacturing and apply it to the software industry.
“When I worked with software developers at Siemens, we started integrating lean with agile,” Stone explains. Agility, a close cousin of lean, involves making processes more iterative, and therefore more flexible. By breaking the process into small, iterative pieces, developers can make changes to the product without damaging or undoing months of other productive work. “We wanted to do it because it would ultimately improve efficiency by making outflow—the number of software functions available at the end of the production process—predictable.”
While you can count the physical output of a process like manufacturing, this is harder to do with software development. Stone measured the outflow through the time and production of “stories,” small components of software that will later be combined into a final function that a customer uses.
During his time in the Fox School’s Executive Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) program, Stone decided to focus his research on the benefits of efficiency training. Specifically, Stone wanted to see if the process of software development could be improved by providing efficiency training to developers based on lean and agile techniques. This strategic investment into the labor force would take two forms: long-term coaching or a one-time training event.
When dealing with lean and agile processes, Stone emphasizes that what is at stake isn’t having knowledge, but keeping it. “Knowledge erodes over time,” Stone explains, “and with the knowledge goes the efficiency. Coaching keeps it from eroding.”
His findings were impressive. Workers who went through coaching saw a 37.1% net improvement in the amount of time needed to complete stories. One-time training saw a staggering 58.7% net improvement. Labor costs also fell, thanks to the trainings.
Stone’s paper on the topic, titled “The ROI of Investments in Lean Agile Software Development Training,” won the Best Paper Award at the 2019 Engaged Management Scholarship (EMS) Conference in Antwerp, Belgium, this past September. This is the second year in a row that a Fox DBA alumnus won this award, which is sponsored by Business Horizons, an academic journal from Indiana University. In 2018, Ofra Bazel-Shoham, DBA ’17, won for her paper which discussed how gender-diverse boards affect companies’ decisionmaking.
Measuring the efficiency of the labor that goes into software development is a difficult task. Stone hopes that his research will help close the gap between software production processes and financial metrics. By pioneering this measure of productivity and thus proving the power of efficiency training, Stone wants to help others learn how to quantify, recognize and reward the value of lean.
“Software development is an increasingly critical industry,” Stone emphasizes. “Learning from manufacturing about how to measure productivity in this industry can have an enormous operational and financial impact.”
If your loved ones are anything like the Fox community, they are diverse in their backgrounds, hobbies, passions and tastes. It can be a challenge to find the perfect thing for the different people in your life.
Lucky for us, the Fox School has a network of alumni and students who work to solve the problems they face. This holiday season, give a Temple Made gift to everyone on your list.
For the sustainability-focused, fashion-forward friend
With Franklin & Poe Trust Company, co-founder Andrew Li, MBA ’16, wanted his products to embody the idea that “hard-working hands create the most beautiful things.” The goal of the shop is to offer items that get better with age and are meant to be handed down.
Along with curating a line of durable, long-lasting clothing, Franklin & Poe focuses on ethically made products from the USA, Japan and Europe. The store also carries outerwear, apothecary items, bags and socks.
Visit Franklin & Poe in Fishtown at 1817 Frankford Avenue.
For the fragrance-loving friend
Everybody loves candles. But what if your spouse, friend or family member is particular, or particularly sensitive to certain scents? Brandon’s Candles, founded by current finance student Brandon Bechtel, has got you covered. In addition to the soy wax candles already available, the company offers customers the ability to fully customize the look and smell of their candles.
So you can pop into The Candle Studio in Skippack or Old City in Philadelphia for a quick DIY candle session or take a group for a candle-making class. Brandon’s Candles also offers soaps and lotions.
To learn even more about a freshman’s journey of bringing a business to business school, check out our recent feature on Brandon.
For your friend Becky with the good hair
Khadijah Robinson, BBA ’04, and Kiana Muhly, BBA ’03 were inspired by a common challenge that women face whenever a vacation or a rainy day rolls around: a fashionable way to go swimming or enjoy life without getting their hair wet.
If there is a person in your life who has complained about this, these alumnae have the perfect gift idea: Aqua Waterproof Headwear. The pieces are available in three turban styles and a wrap and can be worn in a variety of different ways.
By purchasing this product, you are supporting two savvy best friends and business partners. Read more about their partnership here.
For the experiential friend
Lately, more and more companies are advertising based on the idea to give the gift of experiences rather than “things.” For a lot of people, this could mean giving a gift card to a popular restaurant or taking a loved one to a Broadway show.
But what if you could gift someone an experience, enjoy the sights and sounds of the City of Brotherly Love AND get a work out in, all at the same time? SeePhillyRun invites runners of all fitness levels to join Ian Thomas, MBA ’17, a six-time marathon runner and certified city tour guide, on three- to five-mile courses. With Thomas as your guide, you can jog around the city to check out landmarks like iconic locations from the movie Rocky, the city’s expansive mural collection or where the cowboy hat was invented.
Know of any other businesses owned and operated by Fox School alumni that deserve to be highlighted? Contact us!
Sometimes it takes a delegation to host a delegation.
The Fox School’s Center for Executive Education extended its networking arms to bring together a team of Temple University faculty, industry experts and professionals to help a delegation of government officials from Vietnam better understand the relationship between the U.S. government and business enterprises.
The Center coordinated lectures, workshops, tours and on-site visits for the group during its extended stay in early November.
“Their visit gave us an opportunity to tap into resources we don’t normally utilize,” says Rich Morris, associate director of business development at the Center. “So outside of the Fox community, we reached out to the broader Temple system and then beyond Temple to connect with additional subject matter experts and other entities within Philadelphia to set up field visits.”
Field visits to the headquarters of Philadelphia Gas Works and SEPTA showcased the information being shared in lectures and workshops.
“That was key in the design of the program,” says Renée Hartwell, assistant director at the Center. “It is crucial to the learning experience to go outside the classroom. It would be hard to do 10 days of lecture-only learning. Going on-site really helps put the learning into action.”
While the delegation spoke a different language from the team assembled by Morris and Hartwell, there were very few topics that were foreign to the delegation.
“A lot of the business principles translate around the world, so they are familiar with the practices and concepts being discussed,” says Ho Tram Anh, the group’s translator who works for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Vietnam. “I think there are immediate takeaways from this experience, especially for the people who manage the state capital and the businesses. This program tackles issues around state-owned enterprises and the potential privatization of companies. That is of great interest to them.”
After several lectures on government history and how federal, state and local governments work, the group delved into specific topics including anti-corruption laws, Social Security and policies related to government assistance and Medicaid, and how the U.S helps vulnerable populations.
“Anti-corruption is one of the key topics that interests the delegation most because they represent the Party Commission of the Central Authority as well as businesses,” Ahn says. “The Social Security system was also of particular interest. They did not expect something so comprehensive that relates directly to the benefit of the people.”
Transportation was another issue on the delegation’s agenda.
Allison Hastings, manager of the Office of Communications and Engagement at the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, led a session on how her organization helps plan transportation projects that move both people and goods through the region.
“One of the things that I thought would be interesting to the group is that our staff informs the elected officials who make decisions about projects,” she says. “Our elected officials have to rely very much on our professional and technical staff for information and background.
“Also relevant is the fact that our transportation system has grown over 300 years. We still have a lot of legacy needs and not enough funding for it.”
Kim Scott Heinle, who focuses largely on customer service as an assistant general manager at SEPTA, continued the transportation discussion, meeting the group at Reading Terminal Market for lunch and a tour before heading to the transportation authority’s Market Street headquarters.
“Philadelphia’s transportation history runs deep and has experienced many changes,” he says. “It’s important to have a good relationship with our customers and we do everything we can to accomplish that.”
Heinle brought together staff from SEPTA representing its police department, general counsel’s office, citizens advisory committee, customer service team and market research group for a panel discussion. The topics included federal and state government funding, infrastructure upgrades, SEPTA’s high-speed rail, electronic key cards and privatization.
“They were interested in getting a better understanding for how the government funding works and how much is SEPTA’s budget derived from federal funds versus state funds versus the money riders are paying,” Morris says. “That gave them a better understanding as to the benefit of having a state government-owned entity as opposed to being private.”
Morris believes the delegation’s visit to Temple was valuable for everyone.
“The delegation could have sat in their offices and watched videos or read articles about us, but actually coming and hearing from people who are part of it, having the faculty talk about the history, and then going out and actually visiting the sites that were talked about makes this a unique experience.”
Fox School of Business at Temple University researchers outline why brands would be wise to include micro-influencers as part of their marketing strategy this holiday season
PHILADELPHIA — It’s the holiday shopping season and by all accounts, it’s going to be a big one. According to a recent OpenX Technologies report, consumers are expected to spend more than last year, and this is especially true for millennials. The report found that millennials plan to spend 15% more than the average shopper and 25% more than baby boomers.
So how are companies and brands supposed to break through the noise to reach these potential customers? Two Temple University Fox School of Business professors believe the answer could be micro-influencers.
“Micro-influencers bring credibility and authenticity,” says Jay Sinha, associate professor of marketing and supply chain management. “The best ones bring in their own personal narratives that mesh well with the brands they endorse.”
Together with Thomas Fung, assistant professor of marketing and supply chain management, Sinha recently authored the “Right Way to Market to Millennials,” published in MIT Sloan’s Management Review.
A micro-influencer is not Cardi B or Rihanna. Rather, they are defined as those that have a follower base numbering between 1,000 and 100,000. They’re someone that a millennial can relate to, and that’s what’s been missing with traditional influencer marketing.
A recent study by Bazaarvoice noted that traditional influencer marketing is falling out of favor; 63% of online audiences noted that influencer content is materialistic and misrepresents real life. In comparison, micro-influencer marketing is just the opposite.
“They provide opportunities for companies, big and small, to reach out to narrow and often difficult-to-access subpopulations,” Sinha says. “Micro-influencers have finessed the subtle ‘nudge’ into an art form.”
According to Sinha and Fung, some of the more prominent brands using micro-influencers include Nike, Sephora, Levi, Microsoft and many others. That will remain the case this holiday season.
For instance, Zales Jewelers recently partnered with YouTube star Jaci Marie Smith and her husband, Leif Carlson, to create a “Holiday Love Story” across a number of social platforms. Similarly, clothing retailer H&M recently created the H&M League, a group of 22 influencers who have been promoting the brand for the year. Much of the content specifically revolved around key holiday dates like Black Friday and New Year’s Eve.
“As department stores fight for relevance ahead of the start of the holiday shopping season, micro-influencers command a significant role in framing a new marketing narrative,” Fung says. “Boomers might be okay with ‘sea of sameness’ product offerings, however, millennials thrive on an ‘experience playground,’ where micro-influencers become their lifestyle coaches.”
This micro-influencing trend likely is not going anywhere anytime soon, either.
“Even though there are indications recently that ‘influencer fatigue’ has set in among millennials, they still remain open to those micro-influencers that have suasive power over them from their charisma and expertise in some niche market category,” Sinha says.
About the Fox School of Business
The vision of Temple University’s Fox School of Business is to transform student lives, develop leaders, and impact our local and global communities through excellence and innovation in education and research.
The Fox School’s research institutes and centers as well as 200+ full-time faculty provide access to market-leading technologies and foster a collaborative and creative learning environment that offers more than curriculum—it offers an experience. Coupled with its leading student services, the Fox School ensures that its graduates are fully prepared to enter the job market.
The flexibility and responsiveness of our knowledge-creating research faculty allow the school to address the needs of industry and generate courses and programs in emerging fields. As a leader in business research, the Fox School values interdisciplinary approaches and translational research that influence and impact real-world problems. Our research informs an adaptive curriculum, supports innovation in teaching and prepares students for the ever-changing business environment.
At the Social Entrepreneurship Summit, profits and people go hand in hand.
The third annual summit, hosted by the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute (IEI) at the Fox School of Business, is focused on supporting entrepreneurship initiatives that make a positive impact on both Temple University and the Philadelphia region. The summit gives students a space to present new innovative ideas for cash prizes and to network with faculty, staff and professionals in the business community.
On Nov. 20, several contestants with their own social entrepreneurship projects went head to head in a competition, pitching their ideas to a panel of judges. Six graduate and seven undergraduate finalists from across the university demonstrated how their ideas could change the world—and make money.
“There have been a couple of companies that started here and went on to get funding. It’s really incredible; this is a great place for startups,” says Steven Reichert, a junior entrepreneurship student attending the event for the second year in a row.
Natasha Graves, MBA ’18, won this year’s Grand Prize with her idea “VacayAbility.” She describes it as “a user-generated review site where people with disabilities can review places like accommodations and hospitality-based businesses like hotels and restaurants based on accessibility and mobility.”
“I travel a lot and I have a disability. I have chronic illnesses and every time I travel it’s hard to find places that are accessible,” Graves explains. “Recently, I was going to Scottsdale, Ariz. When you google top ten things to do there, it’s [mostly] hiking, and obviously, I can’t hike. So I wanted to make a platform to find things for people even if they have various disabilities.”
Graves also came in second place in the upper track of this year’s Innovative Idea Competition. Her focus on inclusivity in innovation is an excellent example of the Fox School’s commitment to foster an inclusive community, as one of the four main pillars in the school’s Strategic Plan 2025.
This year, Erik Oberholtzer, a Temple alumnus and co-founder of the company Tender Greens, came to advise the young entrepreneurship students as the keynote speaker.
Oberholtzer’s mission in Tender Greens is to provide broad access to good food, specifically to those in low-income communities. After working as a chef and obtaining his culinary degree from Johnson and Wales University, his passion for the culinary arts is what drew him to launch the company.
His advice? “Start with an inner passion and calling. Then, connect that to something in the world that needs your passion,” Oberholtzer says. “If you build skills, tools and techniques around that passion, then you can find products and services that create positive outcomes.” He goes on to say, “When you innovate a solution to a problem that nobody else is solving, you can monetize. You can add value and make money. In this case, money sponsors good deeds. Money scales positive impact.”
Graves and all the students in this year’s Social Entrepreneurship Summit are an inspiration for the future of double- or triple-bottom-line companies. By competing, they are innovating a better world.
Learn more about the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute.
Meet five young alumni who are empowering the movers and shakers of tomorrow
For many reasons, Fox alumni choose to give back to their alma mater and support Temple founder Russell Conwell’s vision to provide an excellent education to all students, regardless of their means. By donating their time, holding leadership positions on alumni association boards, mentoring students or contributing financially to scholarship programs, alumni are offering current students greater opportunities to transform themselves, their communities and the world.
Get to know five dynamic young alumni who have graduated within the past 15 years and are making an impact by giving back.
A shared class with accounting Professor Marco Malandra connected Grant Diener, BBA’15, MAcc ’16, and Peter A. Smith, BBA ’15, outside the classroom. After running into each other at Schuylkill Valley Sports, the two became close friends, supporting each other during their time at the Fox School and into their professional careers working at Big Four accounting firms.
Just two years after graduating, Smith tragically passed away from Lyme disease. Due to complications of this disease, a viral infection ultimately led to heart failure. The unthinkable loss sparked an idea for Diener and his friends to honor Smith’s memory by creating a lasting tribute at the Fox School: the Peter A. Smith Memorial Scholarship for accounting majors. “We elected to do something at Temple since that’s the place we all met Pete and he had great success at Fox,” says Diener.
Diener, his family and friends created a group “#4PetesSake” to raise money for the tuition scholarship and annually host a tailgate in Smith’s honor at Temple Homecoming Weekend. Recipients of the award must submit an essay about a work or volunteer assignment that demonstrates devotion to family, leadership skills and a strong work ethic—characteristics and values Smith possessed.
“Pete was a true gentleman who had an amazing attitude and loved to help others regardless of the task,” says Diener. “No matter how long you knew Pete, he made an impact on each person’s life through his contagious smile, energy and genuine love. His passing was a tragedy, hence why we started this scholarship.”
Sasha K. Buddle
Just hours after graduating, Sasha K. Buddle, BBA ’16, HRM ’18, signed up for as many
alumni association newsletters as she could. The journey to her becoming a two-time Fox graduate was long: Bud emigrated from Jamaica to the U.S. following high school graduation, enlisted in the U.S. Army and served a tour in Afghanistan, all before setting her sights on business school.
“It was important for me to stay involved and make all students and alumni feel like they always have a home at Fox, so I eventually took on a leadership position to make a bigger impact and offer a unique perspective from having a diverse background,” says Buddle. Today, she serves as a director-at-large on the Fox Alumni Board and is responsible for helping plan events, manage the budget and pioneer a new mentorship program for alumni, all while working full-time at Deloitte in human capital services.
Giacomo “Jack” Cesareo
Giacomo “Jack” Cesareo, BBA ’06, believes in the university’s motto, “Perseverance Conquers,” so strongly that he has been an avid supporter of student and alumni initiatives since graduating, serving on numerous committees and leading several groups, most recently as the previous president of the Fox School of Business Alumni Association (FSBAA) and currently as a director-at-large with the Temple University Alumni Association (TUAA).
“I learned lifelong skills at the Fox School that have propelled my career. I believe, as alumni, we should improve our experiences and opportunities for the next person by giving back,” says Cesareo.
He’s demonstrating his commitment to excellence beyond volunteering and showing his support for the strategic vision of the Fox School by funding a new scholarship for students studying international business—a passion he gets to express professionally as an operations manager for a multi-national digital transformation company, CI&T. “I’m giving my support to the strategic plan and direction of Fox to show any prospective student that this is the commitment, character and integrity you can expect from a great institution,” says Cesareo.
Serving on Temple Student Government his senior year as chief of staff inspired Eric Hamilton, BBA ’16, to stay connected as a board member of the Temple Young Alumni Association (TUYA) right after graduating and to relaunch the Young Accounting Alumni Group (YAAG) at Fox this year. As co-president of the reinvigorated group, Hamilton is working toward a goal of connecting young accounting alumni in the Philadelphia area at networking events in unique spots in the city and on campus.
Working in the industry as a senior associate at RSM, Hamilton recognizes the benefits of staying in touch with peers and meeting other professionals and wants to enable those relationships while supporting Fox.
“By giving back to Fox through YAAG and supporting accounting students, we’re building the future of the accounting profession,” says Hamilton. “I think our stewardship as young professionals is probably one of the most important things we can offer right now.”
Before graduating, Melissa Cameron, MAcc ’18, worked in the nonprofit arts industry and came to see the importance of connections. “They’re the lifeblood of organizations in nonprofit arts,” says Cameron. “I learned how to recognize support and pay it forward.”
Today, Cameron returns the support she received from Fox in launching her accounting career with Deloitte as a co-president of YAAG. She chose to stay connected and give her time in a leadership role in order to keep in touch and network with peers, share and hear about successes and challenges, and mentor students.
“I received tremendous support from Fox while in school, both tangibly with financial support and intangibly with moral and community support,” says Cameron. “I want to pay that forward for incoming students and soon-to-be young alumni.”
Interested in getting involved or deepening your connection with your alma mater? Visit fox.temple.edu/alumni for events, follow @foxalumni on social media and consider supporting students with a gift in any amount at giving.temple.edu/givetofox.
Warren V. “Pete” Musser, 92, DPS ’99, businessman, philanthropist, benefactor and long-time friend of the Fox School of Business passed away on Monday morning. Musser was a legendary investor in the technology and financial industries, an entrepreneur and a community leader for more than 60 years.
Musser will be remembered as a luminary in the city’s entrepreneurial history .“Pete Musser was a great man and a great example to our students,” says Ronald Anderson, dean of the Fox School of Business and the School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management. “We are deeply saddened by his loss. Pete believed in building a community through business, particularly small businesses that eventually blossom, such as Comcast. As a philanthropist, he believed in business education. Throughout his professional life and in his contributions to the Fox School, among other institutions, Pete recognized the value of investing in others.”
In 1953, Musser founded a company that would eventually become Safeguard Scientifics, a securities investment firm. Through Safeguard, Musser helped fund the startup of QVC, Comcast and Novell, among other Fortune 500 companies. His first breakthrough was a check-writing machine in 1955, but among his biggest successes were seed-funding Comcast and QVC.
At the Fox School, Musser sought to help others get their start. He funded an endowed visiting professorship in Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Musser was the inaugural recipient of the annual Musser Excellence in Leadership Award, which was established and endowed in honor of his achievements and his entrepreneurial spirit. Dick Vermeil, former head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles and recipient of the 2019 award, called him a “great, great man and true friend.”
Earlier this year, Musser was named to the school’s Centennial Honorees list, a celebration of the school’s most influential contributors during its first 100 years. He received an honorary Doctor of Professional Studies in 1999.
He was heavily involved in the Temple University-based Safeguard Scientifics Center for Economic Education, which focuses on business, economic and entrepreneurial education to K-12 teachers and students throughout the region and the state.
“I believe Pete would take great satisfaction that many of the people and families that he invested in, will thrive for years to come,” says Anderson.
“You don’t get the same effect when you are exclusively in a classroom,” says current Fellow Colin O’Shea.
Learning by doing is the way Temple University’s Fox Board Fellows get things done.
Since 2011, more than 95 nonprofit organizations in the Philadelphia area have benefitted from the work done by more than 180 graduate students at the Fox School of Business.
“This is a really rich relationship from our perspective,” Professor T.L. Hill, managing director of Fox Management Consulting (FMC), says. “It’s the best way for our students to learn as well as provide good service to the nonprofits.”
After an application and interview process, graduate students are placed on nonprofit boards as visiting, non-voting members. Fellows then work with their partner nonprofits on a higher-level project and produce a research report as part of the elective Non-Profit Governance graduate course taught by Hill.
In the latest cohort, 18 students in several programs were matched with 18 nonprofits serving a range of communities and interests in the Delaware Valley. The fellows work with their organization over the course of an academic year, allowing participants to gain an in-depth understanding of board governance and practice effective board membership.
“You don’t get the same effect when you are exclusively in a classroom,” says current fellow Colin O’Shea. “So being able to actually sit on the board of an organization is such a deep dive and a great opportunity and learning experience.”
O’Shea is now part of the effort at Philadelphia Youth Basketball, a sports-based youth development organization that works to create opportunities for young people to reach their potential as students, athletes and positive leaders.
“We are really looking forward to this opportunity,” says Diana Venezia, MS ’17, director of development at the organization. “These past few months have been a time of learning for all of us and we are really excited.”
Stressing that this experience goes deeper than an internship, Hill encourages nonprofit leaders to challenge their fellows by allowing them to delve into what he calls the “ownership and institutional pressures” required to meet an organization’s mission.
The ownership pressures have to do with whether or not a nonprofit has the assets and the foundation to do what the work it wants to do. The institutional pressures involve culture on both the board and within the organization and it stakeholders.
“These are areas where there might be really interesting, useful projects that will help the board and the organization move forward in a way that the nonprofit might not have the capacity to think about,” Hill says.
The program is structured around a series of four Saturday seminars at Temple’s Main Campus as well as time the fellows spend working directly with their nonprofit. The seminar topics cover the basic governance issues that many boards face including nonprofit economics, impact measurement, management of the executive director and finances.
“Depending on the projects the students are working on, special topics also emerge,” Hill says.
In the past there have been discussions about earned income streams, leadership succession and merger discussions.
“Throughout it all, the project and the research is the core piece,” Hill says, adding that the overall experience prepares the fellows for future board service.
Fellow Chris Barba, who has been paired with the Montgomery and Delaware County-based nonprofit Girls on the Run, will be working on several areas including program growth, fundraising and overall strategy.
The organization, with international headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina, uses a curriculum-based program that creatively integrates running to deliver a social, emotional and motivational learning experience.
“I have, and will always have, a social sector top-of-mind focus and Fox Board Fellows allows me the opportunity to continue to do this work.”
“I’m excited to really contribute to the goal of how to make growth happen for this organization,” Barba says.
Tracy Ashdale, founder and executive director of the local council, believes in the power of the experience the fellow has on both themselves and her organization.
“The fellows bring a level of curiosity and inquiry with them,” Ashdale, BSW ’92, MSW ’94, says. “The experience offers the opportunity to see things differently from what we generally see. That often translates into innovation for our organization.”
Venezia adds the original project Philadelphia Youth Basketball had in mind went through some changes and evolved as O’Shea and the organization got to know each other better.
“Our original idea pivoted from an analysis of our donor database and email strategy to a new focus on volunteer engagement and streamlining that process,” she says. “There is a huge opportunity for growth for us and it can be a missed opportunity.
“But after our both our internal conversations and our meetings with Colin, we have a better idea now of what we need and where we need to go. Colin gets us and that’s great for everyone.”
For more information about the program, contact Maureen Cannon, firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more than a year, representatives of the Fox community have been working to pave the path for the school’s future. Since announcing the Fox Strategic Plan 2025 in October, Dean Ronald Anderson and the school’s leadership team have been planning ways to support the four pillars that outline our future.
As the Fox School works towards transforming student lives, developing leaders, and impacting our local and global communities through excellence and innovation in education and research, Dean Anderson elaborates on what a successful implementation plan means to him.
How will the Strategic Plan lead the Fox School into the future?
When you examine what the workforce may look like over the next several decades, it is dramatically different from what it is today or was 20 years ago. The Strategic Plan will position the Fox School as one of the leading business schools of the 21st century by building on a solid foundation of our four pillars: Educational Innovation, Research Leadership, Inclusive Workplace Culture and a focus on Community Engagement.
Educational Innovation is about delivering a curriculum and content that builds business leaders who will perform in the evolving marketplace over the next several decades. We strive to deliver educational experiences in a manner that best prepare our students for the future of work.
Being a research leader in business education means that we will commit to expanding research beyond the academic world. We will impact the way managers think about their business and the way industries operate. That requires translating research into impactful ideas that serve the business community.
What is the Fox School doing to engage an inclusive and diverse community?
Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) are important issues to us. The Fox School is creating DEI initiatives in several forms. We are in the process of identifying and will follow best practices and principles supported by DEI awareness events and training to mirror DEI advancements in industry.
We will facilitate and support collaborative work between and among Fox faculty and staff, including formal recognition of impactful joint activities, and purposeful school-wide communication of activities and achievements. We need to continue to grow as a place where everyone feels welcome and where everyone believes they can make a difference and impact student outcomes. That is why we need to continue to cultivate an inclusive workplace where all of our students, faculty, staff, alumni, business and social partners and all of our stakeholders can thrive.
How does the Strategic Plan increase students’ access to a business education?
Through a collaborative effort between the Fox School, the Freire Foundation and Build the Future Education Collaborative, we launched an initiative to recruit students from Freire and Freire Tech high schools to give students the tools and skills they need to succeed in college. The Fox School provides college mentors to the students in the classroom, as well as additional support to their originating high schools. The Fox School, with support from other Temple University offices, will provide these high schools and their students with workshops on career counseling, financial literacy and college admissions.
This is one way we strive to empower Philadelphian residents. We also will emphasize collaboration with others at our school, our sister schools here at Temple, our neighborhood in North Philadelphia, the city of Philadelphia, the U.S. and the global business communities. We want to create a vibrant society where everyone has the opportunity to reach their potential. Part of that process is building a more robust relationship with our alumni and corporate partners—allowing them to have a role in serving our students, our colleagues and our neighbors. I look forward to sharing more updates on the activities and programs that support this effort in the future.
How does the plan impact the business world?
Each year, we graduate a class of future professionals for the business world. By creating quality education, we put businesses in a position to prosper by hiring students that increase productivity, engage in problem-solving and bring new, innovative ideas to the workplace.
The Fox School has a tremendous experiential learning-focused curriculum that puts our students in a position to succeed. They learn how decisions are made, often in real-time through interaction with today’s business leaders. We want corporations and graduate schools to recognize that Fox students are the best in the marketplace. We want those corporations and graduate schools to line up to hire Fox students and alumni.
How will the plan enhance school?
We are evolving our culture to meet the demands of the business world, not just today, but for decades to come. If you look at this plan you will see the hands of numerous stakeholders, from students and faculty to staff administrators and alumni.
What comes next for the implementation of the plan?
The planning process is almost complete. We are identifying the key performance indicators (KPIs) for initiatives, and the next steps are to execute those initiatives, measure these and report out to the Fox community. We want everyone to know where we are going so they can hold us accountable.
We are reinforcing our experiential-learning focus with the data-driven, emotionally intelligent insights that will serve our students and the business world for decades to come. The educational experiences we offer students are impactful, and we are looking at initiatives that will enhance those experiences to match the evolving market.
We also want to reach the wider world with our research. We are taking steps to translate academic research through efforts like the Translational Research Center (TRC) and by prioritizing researchers’ capacity for writing and presenting their research to non-academic audiences.
To learn more about this initiative and the vision for the future of Fox School of Business, visit the Fox Strategic Plan 2025 website.
Temple University’s Fox School of Business is expanding its partnership with the Freire Charter School System to offer Philadelphia high school students the opportunity to learn that they can thrive in higher education.
Two young men are playing “Connect Four” at the back of a room on the first floor of 1810 Liacouras Walk. They are not in a lecture hall or a high-tech computer lab. They want to start their own business, so naturally, they are eating cookies, downing small plastic cups of iced tea and dreaming big.
They are standing with a half-dozen other teens in the incubator at Temple University’s Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (IEI) late in the afternoon on Nov. 6 for an information session about the B4USoar program at Temple University’s Fox School of Business. The teens are looking for inspiration, for mentorship and, more than anything, for something new to learn.
The B4USoar program started with a single course in the Spring of 2019, but now Temple University is quintupling its investment in the program. That first course, Create and Innovate, brought together 15 high school students from the Freire Charter School System and more than a dozen Temple undergraduate students. It was the brainchild of Debbie Campbell, senior vice dean at the Fox School, and Hilda Bacon, director of community partnerships and engagement at Build the Future Education Collaborative, a nonprofit that supports education opportunities at the Friere schools.
The goal was to increase access to high-quality business education and show the Freire students they could thrive in higher education. By all accounts, that first course was a success, and as a result, the program is expanding.
“Russell Conwell built Temple on the idea that there were people, diamonds, in this city, whom he could educate and in doing that, improve the lives of the entire community,” says Campbell.
The Fox School will offer two courses in the Spring of 2020. Michelle Histand, director of innovation at Independence Blue Cross and an adjunct professor at the Fox School, is returning to teach the Create and Innovate course which was offered previously. Ellen Weber, executive director of Temple’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute, is teaching the new Empowerment through Entrepreneurship course.
“The kids in that first Freire-Temple class were diamonds,” says Campbell. The class was fantastic and now we are adding a second business course and looking for more high school students to prepare for college.”
Many of the Freire students come from financially-challenging backgrounds and for some, there are hurdles to achieving their dreams. In Philadelphia, about 37 percent of the city’s children live below the federal poverty line, according to a study by The Pew Charitable Trust. Of those Philadelphians living below the poverty line, 29 percent did not finish high school, 68 percent did not pursue higher education at all and 87 percent did not achieve a bachelor’s degree.
According to a 2015 report by the Brookings Institute, low-income families are at a disadvantage in participating in their children’s success in post-secondary education. The institute pointed to a high rate of low-income students failing to complete their degrees. The institute cited several factors for these circumstances: poor preparation, limited funding and limited knowledge of the world of higher education.
B4USoar addresses the “limited knowledge of the world of higher education” and poor preparation challenges that confront many first-generation college students.
The Freire students partner with Temple students who mentor them throughout the program. They plan projects together, study and create a network of support.
Campbell said the Fox School plans to add at least one more business course and would like to partner with other general education programs at other schools in the university as the program expands.
“The Freire Charter Schools and the Fox School opened these students’ eyes in a way that empowered them to see their potential and the potential in the world around them,” says Hilda Bacon, director of community partnerships and engagement for a nonprofit organization that works with the Freire schools. “They know they can make the world brighter. That might be the most important part of this program, showing kids that a high school student from Pennsylvania can change the world.”
As the informational session ended, 17-year-old Cameron Johnson, who has already taken the Create and Innovate course, said she was thinking of going to Temple University after graduation next year.
The B4USoar program starts again in the Spring 2020 semester. The Freire students go through a rigorous selection process. Temple students are able to apply to the courses through the normal registration process.
To learn more about this initiative and the vision for the future of Fox School of Business, visit the Fox Strategic Plan 2025 website.
Fox School students understand the importance of business and philanthropy working hand-in-hand. Amanda Carey, director of outreach for College Council, oversees all student professional organizations and serves as a liaison between organizations and the university. To celebrate National Philanthropy Day, she discusses student professional organizations (SPOs) at the Fox School and their commitment to building a philanthropic community from Fox students.
Why is philanthropy important to the Fox SPOs?
“Philanthropy provides opportunities to give back to those who are in need,” said Carey. “A prominent component in business is giving back. Here at the Fox School, we strive to allow students to become immersed in the city we call home through community service projects.”
How are students engaging with philanthropic opportunities?
Fox students are actively engaging with community service programs through blood and food drives happening throughout the city.
“The popularity of the blood drive in partnership with American Red Cross is so large that last year we had to turn away people who wanted to donate because we didn’t have the resources to accommodate for so many donors,” said Carey. “To ensure the same issue wouldn’t arise this year, we raised our donor goal. The [Philabundance] food drive also attracts many students because of the prevalent food insecurity issue we have here in Philadelphia.”
What new opportunities for philanthropy will College Council provide?
The Fox College Council is continuously looking for new ways to expand their outreach and get more students involved. “This year, we are introducing a clothing drive to benefit the Hub of Hope,” said Carey. “This drive is going to take place right before we leave for winter break. We look forward to helping keep our community members warm as the cold weather approaches!”
Do you want to get involved with College Council or an SPO? Visit the SPO webpage for the full list of organizations.
Almost everyone who works has a boss. It’s no secret that the quality of this relationship can have a big impact on the lives of supervisors and employees alike. The best bosses provide mentorship, training and support for their direct reports, facilitating professional growth and success for their team. But is it possible for employees, through their actions on the job, to impact their bosses as well?
Soojung Han, a PhD candidate in the Fox Department of Human Resource Management, thought so. During her five years as the first woman engineer at a South Korean petrochemical company, she had an outstanding relationship with her boss, who gave her an unusual amount of autonomy, respect and trust.
“I knew it was out of the ordinary from talking with my friends about their jobs, and I also knew it was important,” says Han. Every time her supervisor acknowledged her work or granted her additional responsibilities, she wanted to do an even better job. The experience had such a profound impact on her that when Han decided to pursue her PhD, she chose to focus her research on just this style of empowering leadership. Her personal connection to the subject is perhaps one reason her scholarship had been so exceptional.
Han and her colleagues’ recent paper, “Examining why employee proactive personality influences empowering leadership: The roles of cognition- and affect-based trust,” explores this territory. The research was published in May in the prestigious Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology. A publication of that caliber is a rare achievement for someone who is still a student. This fall, Han assumed a faculty position at Cal State Los Angeles.
Employee proactivity is often the catalyst for supervisors to grant workers greater autonomy and more responsibility, which increases employee engagement, productivity and job performance. Given the importance of these self-starters in the workplace, the proactive personality type is of great interest to researchers. However, to date, most of the research has focused on employee-centered outcomes, such as the relationship between proactive personality and career success. But the complex ways that an employee’s proactive style may affect his or her supervisor has been largely overlooked by scholars. That’s why Han decided to turn her attention to how these proactive employees affect their bosses.
“The proactive personality type is defined as someone who makes changes in their environment, so we suspected that these employees might change their supervisors as well,” she says. She gathered more than 100 pairs of supervisors and employees and surveyed them to assess the qualities in question: proactive personality, empowering leadership and supervisor trust. Via questionnaires, employees rated their own proactive personality traits and their boss’s leadership style, while leaders scored their direct report’s level of trust in an employee.
Han’s research examines two types of trust typical of work relationships: Cognition-based trust, which is based on logic and facts regarding an employee’s work responsibilities, and affect-based trust, which boils downs to whether or not a supervisor personally likes his or her direct report.
To test their hypotheses, Han and her coauthors used statistical models, including hierarchical multiple regressions, to analyze the data. The team found that supervisors were more trusting of employees with proactive personalities and thus were more likely to empower them.
“It’s risky for leaders to let employees make decisions,” says Han. “What if they lack skills or, worse, what if they take advantage of less supervision and more autonomy?”
Her work shows that, in spite of the risks, the payoff can be significant for an organization. Empowering leadership pays tangible dividends. “Previous research has supported that empowering leadership is associated with a host of positive outcomes, including increased psychological empowerment, task performance and citizenship behaviors for both individuals and teams,” says Han. She recommends that companies work on building both cognitive-based trust, through formal skill-building training, and affect-based trust, by taking the time to plan and invest in social events and team building.
This specific research paper gives the edge to affect-based trust—likability. But Han cautions that the two types of trust are more interrelated than they may first appear. “Though it seems like affect-based trust shows a stronger effect, its impact on empowering leadership is less likely to occur when cognition-based trust is low,” says Han. “Therefore, both cognition- and affect- trust are important to induce leaders’ empowering behaviors.
Her research also speaks to the importance of improved screening of prospective employees. It pays to be able to identify new hires who will consistently demonstrate proactive behaviors at work, not just say they will during a job interview. Han believes tools like personality tests and questionnaires that assess proactive traits specifically would be helpful as companies seek to fill their ranks with these go-getters.
“As we can see, their proactive style benefits not only the employees themselves, but their supervisors, too,” says Han.
This article was originally published in On The Verge, the Fox School’s flagship research magazine. For more stories, visit www.fox.temple.edu/ontheverge.
Pursuing extended education can be extremely challenging for the average person, let alone those in demanding careers. However, Kate Nelson, an active duty Military Intelligence Officer, is proving this to be more than possible.
Captain Nelson is in her 15th year of military service and has accomplished two master’s degrees: one in military studies and the other in sports management. Now, she is pursuing a Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) here at Temple University’s Fox School of Business.
The Fox editorial team caught up with Captain Nelson to hear about her experience of earning her doctorate in business while actively serving in the U.S. Army.
What made you want to pursue a DBA?
“I knew I wanted to get my doctorate. But I thought [I’d do it] when I got out, maybe take a year or two off,” Nelson says. It wasn’t until her boss, Lieutenant Colonel Charles Faint, also a current Fox student, informed her about the DBA program.
She recalls thinking, “‘You can’t do this while active. That’s ridiculous.’ But he sat me down, told me the pros and cons, wrote me a letter of recommendation, and here I am.”
The Executive DBA program aims to help executive-level managers and experienced service members like Nelson learn how to solve business problems through advanced critical reasoning. As a first-year student, Nelson plans to research how people consume both women’s and men’s sports differently. She also credits her pursuit of advanced education to her training in the military.
“The U.S. military is the most educated and trained military in the world,” Nelson says. “They always tell us to better ourselves and look for the next step in our career. I was always taught that every day you should learn something.”
How does military experience translate to business?
“My experience isn’t in business, but it is translating because I’m managing hundreds of soldiers,” Nelson explains. “Some businesses look at the military and how it runs, and they use us as an example. So, I can actually speak to that in class.”
According to Cailin DiGiacomo, admissions coordinator for the DBA program, “The current cohort has 22 students, all coming from drastically different industries. Several come from a military background.”
DiGiacomo guides prospective students through the application process, helping them understand how the Executive DBA program can teach them to expand their decision-making abilities through applied theory and research.
How do busy professionals find time to pursue a DBA?
“Our program is very flexible. During each semester, we have three weekend residencies. We send the dates out to our students in the summer so they can plan around it. Then, there’s a weekly online component as well,” says DiGiacomo.
Nelson agrees. “The curriculum is basically a long weekend six times a year. We get thirty days of leave every year that we can use, so it really isn’t too bad.”
This degree seems suitable for people like Captain Nelson, who have very demanding work schedules but are passionate about furthering their careers in business. With the DBA program, she finds time to both manage her soldiers and manage her education.
Learn more about Fox School Research.