Colonel Everett Spain, USMA, presents Dr. Karen Boroff with the Distinguished Alumnus Faculty Award.
Professor and Dean Emeritus Karen Boroff, Ph.D., was recognized by the United States Military Academy (USMA) at West Point with the Distinguished Alumnus Faculty Award. She was presented the award by the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership, where cadets are prepared for careers as commissioned leaders of character and duty, educated in leadership development and social, psychological and management sciences.
The department was founded in 1946 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Boroff taught departmental courses in human resource management and leading change, authored award-winning research papers, and mentored faculty and cadets for personal and professional excellence during her two sabbaticals at the Academy. Boroff has another close relationship with the Academy. Her two children, Austen and Alexander, attended and currently serve as officers in the U.S. Army.
At the September 23, 2022 Gala to recognize Boroff, Colonel Everett Spain, U.S. Army, and USMA professor and head of the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership, commended Boroff’s dedication, academic excellence, and service. He explained that all previous faculty awardees had deep military experience, including generals and colonels. Boroff is the first civilian to earn this commendation. Boroff’s acceptance remarks were a simple phrase, "Don’t Network; Instead Nurture" resonated with everyone.
"Karen has been an exceptional instructor at the Academy during her sabbaticals here. She has published important articles, including "A Better Way to Develop Officers," that appeared in the Armed Forces Journal, in 2011. She has written an award-winning case with Major Matt Pratt, which was published in the Case Research Journal. The chapter in the Academy-wide textbook that all cadets read on Conflict Management, co-authored by Boroff and Major Pratt, continues to engage the students and enliven discussions," Col. Spain remarked. Noting that she has mentored many military faculty at West Point, he added, "We are proud to honor her, the first civilian faculty member ever to earn this award."
This recognition is the latest example of how Boroff’s engagement has led to a prospering relationship between the University and The Academy since her outreach in 2010, and opportunities for experiential learning between the two institutions.
“Seton Hall University, by virtue of the sabbatical program it extends to faculty, afforded me these opportunities. I have been able to foster this collaboration between our students and faculty at both Seton Hall and the United States Military Academy, enhancing the University’s academic distinction and our commitment to advance our academic distinction, strategically invest in instruction and research, and expand the vistas of leadership development for civilian and cadet students alike.”
Fostering a Relationship
Faculty attracted to Seton Hall have included Lieutenant Colonel (Ret.) Russell Lemler, Ph.D., who headed Pirate Battalion, Army ROTC, and served as adjunct professor of management, James Modlin, Ph.D. who taught graduate and undergraduate courses in management, leadership, strategic management, and organizational behavior and serves on the advisory council of the Gerald P. Buccino Center for Leadership Development, and Lieutenant Colonel (Ret.) Bryan C. Price, Ph.D., a nationally recognized expert on leadership development and terrorism, to serve as inaugural executive director of the University's Buccino Leadership Institute, a first-of-its-kind interdisciplinary undergraduate leadership program.
Fostering this relationship has enabled leadership students from both the Stillman School of Business and the School of Diplomacy and International Relations to participate in the McDonald Conference for Leaders of Character at West Point. The four-day experiential event brings together undergraduate emerging global leaders with world class senior fellows, from many sectors, who mentor the students in team-based, experiential, and analytical exercises designed to bolster their leadership skills, foster critical thinking and collaboration, and develop strategies for addressing pressing global issues.
Stillman students have traveled to West Point on several occasions, offering presentations on leadership. They have studied, as well, organizational culture, recommending elements of that culture that could improve the collegiate experience at Seton Hall. From these experiences the student-run Stillman Dinner has emerged.
Transforming concept into practice, the Stillman School and the College of Communication and the Arts also partnered on a leadership project. Business and public relations students worked in teams to identify essential leadership traits, including the importance of communication, and presented their findings to West Point cadets.
Boroff received the highest award, the 2018 Curtis E. Tate Jr. Award from the North American Case Research Association (NACRA) for the ground-breaking subject in "The Incident in Kabul," which she co-authored with Major Matthew Pratt. The case was credited for bringing into the classroom an actual conflict situation, to assist in bridging the gap between the civilian and military. As more veterans attend universities, course materials needed to be added to widen course discussion to an array of settings.
Case Research Journal is considered the "leading academic journal for cases in business and related disciplines in North America." It is known for publishing research-based cases which emphasize the importance of decision-making. Case Research Journal publishes four issues per year and has an average acceptance rate of only 20%. Online publishing partners – including Harvard Business School Press, The Case Centre and McGraw-Hill – assist Case Research Journal in making these teaching cases available to instructors across North America.
Through her work in case writing, Boroff was also able to secure the editor of the Case Research Journal to offer a virtual workshop in 2021 for faculty at West Point. Two refereed publications have come from that endeavor. While she was not the author on any of these, her efforts helped their research agenda.
In another way that elevates the University’s reputation, Boroff collaborated with the University to host Academy Day with U.S. Senators Corey Booker and Robert Menendez, starting in 2019. The most recent one attracted more than 500 attendees, many interested in nominations to the service academies and ROTC options.