SMLR Update March 21, 2011

It was a week of very sad news both here and abroad.

Death of SMLR Student 

We were shocked to learn that Pamela Schmidt, a senior Labor Studies Major and HR Minor widely admired by her fellow students and faculty, died Sunday, March 12th, the victim of an apparent homicide. Mark Magyar, Shino John and I attended the Memorial Service on Saturday, along with her teammates from RU SHRM who were scheduled to compete with Pam at an HR case competition in Rochester on April 1st.  During the service, Pam's sister Stephanie noted, "Pam was so proud to have just been accepted into the #1 HR program in the world at Rutgers.  She made a point to tell each family member individually the good news."  We will be awarding Pam her degree posthumously at our Convocation, and finding an appropriate way to honor her memory at the School. 

Helping Relief Efforts in Japan

Satsuki Takahashi is a recent Ph.D. in Anthropology from Rutgers (October, 2010) and has reached out to President McCormick and Rutgers deans to help spread the word to help the people who have been devastated by the recent earthquake/tsunami in north-eastern Japan. Many of the fishing families with whom Satsuki worked during her dissertation and other research projects lost their loved ones, homes, boats, equipment, fishing ports, etc.  This message is being circulated among the community of Rutgers, your friends, and your colleagues.  There are a lot of people who are looking for ways to provide help to the victims in Japan; they can do so by going to the following websites JEN-online donations and Peace Winds Japan.


Alice Paul Equality Award

Barbara Lee has been selected to receive the "Alice Paul Equality Award" from the Alice Paul Institute for her work on behalf of women in the workforce. The award will be presented on April 28th, 2011.

Project Civility

Barbara Lee served as a panelist for an event sponsored by Rutgers' Project Civility. The panel discussed "Uncivil Gadgets: When the Internet and Public and Private Spaces Collide." Professor Lee discussed legal issues related to the use and misuse of social media by students and employees.

Russell Sage Foundation

Janice Fine and colleagues received very positive reviews on their letter of inquiry to The Russell Sage Foundation's new initiative on the social and economic effects of the Great Recession, and were invited to submit a full proposal.  The Foundation received over 175 letters for this initiative and only invited full proposals from about a quarter of them.

We had an excellent annual planning session with Phil Furmanski, who was very complimentary about our School's entrepreneurialism, strong financial management in difficult economic times, and our efforts to collaborate across Rutgers and with other stakeholders across NJ.  He also encouraged us to consider what new opportunities might be created for SMLR if, as hoped, the Governor's Task Force concludes that Rutgers and UMDNJ Medical School should be reunited in New Brunswick.  It is expected to issue its report early this Fall.

Preparing for Relocation to Livingston Campus

Steve Director chaired the kickoff meeting for a new schoolwide committee that will identify the key priorities for renovating the Levin building to prepare for Fall 2013 when RBS moves out and we are able to reunite SMLR on the Livingston Campus.

NLRA Conference

Sue Cobble participated in The National Labor Relations Board's two-day conference, which examined the contributions the NLRA has made to the nation's economic and social landscape.  The panels featured some of the top thinkers in labor and related studies, including legal scholars, economists, and historians.

China Talks for AFL-CIO

Mingwei Liu (together with Ellen David Friedman and Kan Wang) gave a talk on recent developments in China's labor movements to the leadership committee of AFL-CIO on March 15th, followed by a talk that afternoon on China labor issues to AFL-CIO's membership and the general public.

Present and Future of Workforce Development

On March 8th, David Finegold, Sue Schurman and Mary Gatta participated in a standing-room-only panel discussion in Washington, DC, sharing the findings from the Labor and Employment Relations Association 2010 Research Volume:"Transforming the U.S. Workforce Development System: Lessons from Research and Practice." The event was jointly sponsored by SMLR and the Center for American Progress.  Click here to watch the full event video Talking Training: A Conversation About the Present and Future of Workforce Development.

Ringing Endorsements of CMD Programs

Kevin Goodwin, CEO of Sonosite, Inc had this to say about the Mini-MBA in Digital Marketing: "It was not only eye-opening for us, but also laid the groundwork for several inspired projects we currently have underway.  I have no doubt that the results of these new initiatives will pay for the course many times over.”  The firm is investing over $1 million in 8 projects developed during the program.

Dr. John Butera, a graduate of the Mini MBA in BioPharma Innovation, reports that he "has put the knowledge to good use.  Together with two colleagues, I have co-founded a new startup, Hager Biosciences, LLC (  We have a functioning lab in the Ben Franklin Tech Ventures building on the campus of Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA.    I am in the process of building the business and actually employing many of the concepts we learned in the course."

Alumni News

Reconnected with Tom Dimmick, a double SMLR alum, who is President of DK Search, a retained search company based in Pennsylvania. Prior to running DK Search, Tom had a successful career as an HR leader at Emerson Electrinc and Samsung.

News Flash

Thank you to Eric Leupold for creating the flash image for the LSER Department home page.

SMLR in the News

HR a Booming Profession

A wonderful feature article, Major job opportunity, in The Star Ledger and on highlights the rapid growth of our new HR undergraduate program and the profession it serves.  Congratulations to Bill Castellano and all of the faculty, staff, and students who are a part of this great program.  

Study of India Graduates in the US

David Finegold, Venkatesh Kumar, and Anne-Laure Winkler have been delighted with the coverage of their new study examining the willingness of Indian graduates in the US to return to India.  It received front-page coverage in many of India's top newspapers, including The Times of India: Indian talent pool in US waiting to be tapped.  An feature article with all of the study's results will appear on Monday in India's top-rated Economic and Political Weekly.  The study also received excellent coverage in the US, including articles in The Chronicle of Higher Education, Inside Higher Education, The New York Times, Most Indian students in U.S. plan to take their skills home, and Business Week: Study: Indians studying in US wish to return home. David was also interviewed for a story on NJN News called Rutgers Participates in Survey of Students from India.  David and Venkatesh met with staff at the World Bank and the US-India Business Council about the possibility of sharing results from this research with senior Indian policymakers.  

Keefe's Research Continues to Attract National Attention

Jeff Keefe was quoted in The New York Times on March 9th in an article entitled: Scrutinizing a Governor's Statements.   Jeff's work is also the basis for a story that appeared on titled Gap between public-private compensation is highest in Missouri, which notes that Missourians employed in public sector jobs earn 15.6 percent less than those working at privately held companies. Jeff also featured in an Economic Policy Institute piece on March 8th called Scapegoating public sector workers.  

Highlights of Dean's Activities

Panel to Honor MLK

I was pleased to be asked by Charlie Wowkanech to chair a panel hosted by NJ AFL-CIO that will be held on April 4th, commemorating the day Martin Luther King was assassinated.  The panel will focus on Dr. King's advocacy of workers' rights as a civil rights issue, and the continued relevance of his teachings for today's high-profile labor disputes. The panel will feature Paul Krugman, Sen. Robert Menendez, Rep. Rush Holt  Harris, James Harris, head of the NJ NAACP, and several NJ labor leaders.

Possible PhD Collaboration

Patrick McKay and I met with Acting RBS Dean Glenn Shafer to explore possible collaboration between our doctoral programs, including co-listing of some courses and giving the opportunity to our students to obtain degrees from both schools.  Under Glenn's leadership, the Business School has had great success in significantly growing its doctoral program by attracting students with external funding.

NJ Higher Education Partnership for Sustainability (NJ HEPS)

Gary Minkoff, Director of NJHEPS, and I met with a group of experts on sustainability from across Rutgers and our partners to explore ways of partnering with the state to bring together the many initiatives designed to promote the creation of green jobs and preparation of workers for them.

Rutgers Alumni Association Talk

At the invitation of incoming RAA President Melissa Daniel, I gave a talk to a group of RU alumni on the latest developments at SMLR and Rutgers.

International University Visitors

I met with visiting delegations from Japan's Meiji University and China's Nanjing University to explore potential collaborations with SMLR and the MBS program.

Preparing NJ's High School Students of the Future

I spoke with a group of teachers and school leaders at one of NJ's top public high schools, the Bergen Academy, who are trying to understand the key trends changing the NJ and global economy and society and their implications for their students in the future.

SEBS Strategy Retreat

I met with the members of SEBS's Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics to help them brainstorm options for creating new programs and expandingenrollments.