Newsroom

foxdamid39932__1jr3494-200x300Caitlyn 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.

Photo of Samuel Hodge
Samuel Hodge

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.”

CNN’s Alex Wellen speaks to students during one of Fox School of Business professor Dr. Samuel Hodge’s recent classes.
CNN’s Alex Wellen speaks to students during one of Fox School of Business professor Dr. Samuel Hodge’s recent classes.

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.

Photo of students viewing the Legal Studies WebEx session with CNN.“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.

Samuel D. Hodge Jr., chair of Fox School of Business’ Legal Studies Department, is co-author of Clinical Anatomy for Lawyers, the recently published first installment in a series of medical-legal textbooks published by the American Bar Association.

Hodge teaches law and anatomy at Temple University, and he is also an in-demand lecturer who has spoken at conferences and seminars across the country about his particular area of self-taught expertise: anatomy and trauma. Hodge has a gift for breaking down complex medical terms and concepts into metaphors that make sense to the least scientific person in the audience.

“Medicine plays a large role in the practice of law from a claim for personal injury to ascertaining the cause of death in a homicide investigation,” Hodge said. “My research fills that void by supplying attorneys with an explanation of how the human body works along with tips on how to present medical evidence to a jury or judge.”

In Clinical Anatomy for Lawyers, Hodge and co-author Dr. Jack E. Hubbard of the University of Minnesota School of Medicine provide an understanding of the human body and its many systems with the sophistication of a medical text and the ease of a For Dummies guide. In addition to the various systems – such as the skeletal, nervous, muscular and reproductive – the textbook covers trauma, immune disorders, pain and diagnostic imaging, which is what led Hodge to learn more about anatomy.

It was while reading a scholarly article that Hodge, a color-blind aspiring artist, saw a color image generated by a new diagnostic test that reminded him of an abstract painting. Anatomy had him at a glance.

Now, he’s the author of five other published textbooks – Law and Society, Thermography and Personal Injury Litigation, The Legal Environment of the New Millennium and, with Hubbard, Anatomy for Litigators, a book that was named the best legal publication in 2007. As part of the new medical series for the American Bar Association, Hodge will author three more medical-legal guides during the next five years. These books will cover the spine, traumatic brain injuries and diagnostic tests.

Medical Fun Facts

These oddities of the human body are drawn from a slideshow Hodge uses before he delivers a lecture.

  • Your left lung is smaller than your right lung to make room for your heart.
  • The brain itself cannot feel pain.
  • The tooth is the only part of your body that can’t heal itself.
  • Fingernails grow nearly four times faster than toenails.
  • If saliva cannot dissolve something, you can’t taste it.
  • You get a new stomach lining every three to four days.
  • Women’s hair is about half the diameter of men’s hair.
  • A full bladder is roughly the size of a softball.
  • The human body is estimated to have 60,000 miles of blood vessels.
  • Women blink twice as many times as men do.

Assistant Professor Steven N. Pyser, jointly appointed to the Legal Studies and Human Resource Management departments of Temple University’s Fox School of Business, has contributed his insights on the impact of trust on business success in a new book, Trust Inc.: Strategies for Building Your Company’s Most Valuable Asset.

Trust Inc.’s editor, Barbara Brooks Kimmel — co-founder and executive director of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World — selected 30 experts to make the case for trust in the new book.

This handbook on organizational trust is divided into six sections: Why trust matters; How trust works in practice; What it takes to be a trustworthy leader; How trustworthy teams impact business; How to restore trust; and A new paradigm for organizational trust. Pyser authored the latter.

Pyser’s essay, titled, Capitalism and High Trust: Leveraging Social Worlds as Intangible Assets, was inspired by his pracademics approach — combining the works and viewpoints of academics and practitioners — as well as the applied practice and research he’s conducted in the past 15 years.

In his essay, Pyser argues that having an understanding of performance standards and a working definition of workplace trust are winning strategies required to achieve excellence in today’s global business economy.

He offers a new paradigm and structure for global capitalism and competitiveness. It requires a culture of high trust by leveraging conversations and business communications through “social worlds” and “communication perspectives” used as intangible assets.

“Being recognized for domain expertise by Trust Across America-Trust Around the World is a wonderful honor,” Pyser said. “I’m privileged to be in the esteemed company of the international expert contributors in the book.”

In discussing his essay and how to build capacities for business trust connections, he acknowledged the integral role of being Temple Made (LAW ’84) and serving on the Fox faculty at a world-class research university play in developing his theories, personal and professional successes.

Pyser said he appreciates the academic freedom and ability to innovate as a Fox professor through the continuing support of the Dean’s Office and his department chairs – in Legal Studies, Dr. Samuel D. Hodge, Jr. and in Human Resource Management, Dr. Deanna Geddes. “Their encouragement and varied course assignments have motivated my teaching, research and emerging applied practice approaches to business trust,” he said.

Pyser reserved the highest praise for his students, who “have taught him well” about the role trust plays in education, business and life. He indicated that “trust is a catalyst for learning together in community, professional growth and enhancement of transferable workforce skills.

“Fox students continue to impress me how they make things happen – especially, their commitment to academic excellence, grit, resilience and real-world readiness,” Pyer said.

Pyser is the president and founder at The Pyser Group, which specializes in ethics, leadership development, corporate governance and sustainability strategies. He is a Caux Round Table Fellow and contributes to the current work of the United Nation’s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Millennium Development Goals and post-2015 Development Agenda.

Connect with Pyser via SNPyser@temple.edu, @ProfessorEthics on Twitter or www.linkedin.com/pub/steven-pyser/2/746/435 via LinkedIn.