Letting knowledge serve the city during a pandemic: Brian McCarthy on teaching and learning remotely

Graduate Business Programs marketing assistant and MBA candidate Nathaniel Goldberg recently held a Zoom interview—technological glitches and all—with School of Business Marketing and Leadership instructor Brian McCarthy to discuss the opportunities and challenges of learning and teaching remotely.

As a leader in industry and on campus, McCarthy offered some messages that are important for everyone teaching at this time:

  1. McCarthy believes PSU is uniquely situated to adopt remote teaching and learning. “We’ve always taken seriously our obligation to let knowledge serve the city and to be very inclusive,” McCarthy said.
  2. McCarthy also offered advice on how faculty can build positive relationships with students in a remote setting. “It begins with empathy,” he explained. “Just caring about each other, trying to remember what people might be going through, and putting ourselves in their place.”
  3. Despite these challenging times, McCarthy argued that PSU must still “honor the degree.” He insisted that “We maintain the academic rigor, and we make sure that the work is hard and relevant. Most of all, he said, “We keep in mind that students want to learn.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has catalyzed businesses and institutions everywhere to develop new ways to communicate. Our interview with Brian McCarthy marked our first vlog post. If you enjoyed it and would like to see more of these types of posts in the future, please share on social media!

McCarthy believes PSU is uniquely situated to adopt remote teaching and learning. “We’ve always taken seriously our obligation to let knowledge serve the city and to be very inclusive,” McCarthy said.

“Did I mention I was on sabbatical last year?”: A quick take on sabbaticals in the Portland State University School of Business

Students in my classes since Summer 2019 have heard me say more than once, “Did I mention I was on sabbatical last year?” Most of them nod respectfully, but I imagine some wonder why I can’t stop talking about it. The reason is that my recent sabbatical was a highlight of my life, and I’m forever grateful for a career that consistently promotes growth and capability. While students may be tired of hearing me mention it, I got to thinking they might also be curious about how sabbaticals work in general in the School of Business and how they benefit the school.

It all began for me with my sabbatical proposal, which included references to the latest research on mindfulness and neuroscience in leadership training, the possible value of ancient Indian philosophy in the study and training in business ethics, and a hope that I might learn some new ways to interpret the data I collected on ethical leadership from extensive interviews with 30 Oregon Business Ethics Awards winners. That project had stalled, and I hoped for a fresh take on it. In pursuit of these goals, my husband and I traveled for three weeks in India, two weeks in Bhutan and lived for three months at a Buddhist monastery in Kathmandu, Nepal. For a break from the monastery life, we trekked for 10 days on the Nepali border to Tibet.  We ended the sabbatical by visiting friends, family and German university colleagues and co-authors in Germany and France.

PSU Professor Tom Gillpatrick teaching in Germany.

To be eligible for sabbatical, you must be an instructor, professor or research associate, and have six years of uninterrupted, full-time employment in your role. The School of Business Dean must also approve the timing in consideration with other needs of the school, such as special programs, the timing of accreditation assessments, and how many faculty have already been approved for sabbatical in a given year. In addition, according to PSU Academic Affairs, applicants must write a two-page proposal showing that there are “academic and scholarly plans for research or scholarship that will enhance the careers and scholarly productivity of the faculty members.”

To learn more about how faculty use sabbaticals in The School of Business, I collected survey data from six of my colleagues who experienced their own sabbaticals since 2014. Interestingly, almost all academic disciplines, from accounting and finance to marketing, real estate, advertising, management and supply chain, were represented in this small sample.  About half of the respondents included international travel in their time away from PSU. Those who stayed in Portland completed intense certifications, focused on writing research papers or books or participated in local professional organizations with more vigor than otherwise possible. Everyone who traveled internationally had affiliations with partner universities for at least part of the sabbatical. The most common length of sabbatical was a full year, but one respondent took just one term. Two of the six respondents continued sabbatical work throughout the summer term.

How do we fund sabbaticals? Sabbatical support can come from many sources. We draw a salary during sabbatical, but it is reduced by a percentage according to the number of terms of the sabbatical. As a visiting professor, a faculty member can get housing, access to a vehicle, a stipend and other support, such as overhead (e.g. an office or clerical support) for their research and writing work while teaching at the partner institution. Many of the respondents used personal savings to enable their sabbatical. A few survey respondents received grants from other sources or stipends from their partner institution.

PSU Senior Instructor Maureen O’Connor in India.

If you’re a stakeholder in this community, it might interest you to know how these sabbaticals benefit The School of Business. I asked that question in my survey and learned the following: half of the respondents expect a publishable paper in a peer-reviewed journal (our gold standard) from the experience. A third anticipate a paper in a publication not under peer review, such as a book, book chapter or conference paper. Most respondents (83%) feel their sabbatical learning will translate directly to new lectures, course material or teaching and learning benefits. One respondent will offer a new international course to our students as a result of her sabbatical. I have started to use what I’ve learned in some of the courses I teach, and am working on a paper for publication on equanimity and business ethics. A paper I’ve written from this experience was just accepted to a conference panel proposal on “skills required for a volatile future” to a conference at MIT in June.

Most survey respondents also mentioned that the restorative nature of pursuing professional and personal knowledge enables them to build substantial capacity, which they can leverage upon their return. I have personally found this to be very true.  Some may have encountered the classic systems thinking article from Repenning and Sterman which I use in my Organizational Management course in The Portland MBA program. The authors’ position is that any organization must focus both on hard work and capability building. Sabbaticals offer a rare opportunity to build our capacity as scholars and teachers.

Enders and her husband with the Dalai Lama.

During the India leg of our travels, we had the honor of meeting with His Holiness the Dalai Lama. He shared with us his deep concern for the level of stress Americans experience. He knew I was a professor at Portland State University and he told me, “Please do what you can to reduce the stress of your students and colleagues.” I do not take that instruction lightly. We Westerners must learn that working harder at an ever-increasing pace is neither sustainable nor ultimately very productive in the long term.  You must build capacity first in order to execute at higher levels of performance.

This sabbatical offered capability building in such a way that I feel I can be more useful, more intentional and live much more authentically into my purpose and value here in the School of Business. I wish you that same opportunity for slowing down, growing and returning to your purpose.


Jeanne Enders

Jeanne Enders, PhD is a Social and Organizational Psychologist instructor in the School of Business at Portland State. She studied psychology and German literature as an undergraduate and completed her graduate degrees at the University of Chicago.  At Portland State, Enders has served as a faculty member, associate dean of undergraduate programs, and executive director of the School of Business online initiatives.

If you’re a stakeholder in this community, it might interest you to know how these sabbaticals benefit The School of Business. I asked that question in my survey and learned the following: half of the respondents expect a publishable paper in a peer-reviewed journal (our gold standard) from the experience. A third anticipate a paper in a publication not under peer review, such as a book, book chapter or conference paper. Most respondents (83%) feel their sabbatical learning will translate directly to new lectures, course material or teaching and learning benefits.

Faculty feature: Meet Anthony Tursich

Anthony Tursich
Anthony Tursich, CFA is an adjunct professor in the MSF program.

Please give us a brief overview of your academic and professional background.

I presently serve as chief investment officer and managing partner at Pearl Wealth LLC, a registered investment advisory firm I co-founded in late 2017. I oversee and manage Pearl Wealth’s investment process and client portfolios. I am also engaged in business development as a registered investment advisor representative.

I have been managing investment portfolios for individuals and institutions for more than 20 years. Previously, I ran the Portfolio 21 Global Equity fund; a product that I helped develop and launch in 1999. I managed the fund through the summer of 2017.

I attended graduate school at PSU. I received my MBA in 2002. As an undergrad, I studied business at Montana State University.

What do you enjoy most about teaching in The School of Business at Portland State?

I most enjoy helping students understand investment concepts and strategies and then watching them develop their own unique investment perspective and style. I get to observe and guide students as they pitch investment ideas to their classmates, and then if successful, implement in a “real money” portfolio for the CFA Society of Portland. It is great to be able bridge portfolio theory with actual investment management practice.

What classes do you teach in our graduate programs?

I co-teach FIN 573, Investment and Portfolio Management, with Dan Rogers and Piman Limpaphayom.

What are you passionate about in your work?

I am passionate about investing. Developing customized portfolios that enable my clients to achieve their financial objectives and mitigate market risk brings me satisfaction.

Whether at work or play, I’m always thinking about investment opportunities. When I have a good experience with a company, product or service, I contemplate the investment possibilities. When I come across a successful business or learn about an innovative business model, I consider the investment implications.

When you are not teaching, what do you do in your free time?

When I’m not teaching or working, there is a chance you will find me in the Bloomberg Lab at PSU late in the afternoon checking in on markets or testing an investment thesis.

Otherwise, I spend my time at skateparks with my son, on the court helping coach my daughter’s basketball team or enjoying a quality meal with my spouse or friends.

What does redefining business mean to you?

Redefining business means taking calculated risks in order to obtain a desirable outcome. Success requires risk-taking, but fully understanding and mitigating risk increases the likelihood of achievement. Thinking long-term and creatively are key to managing both risk and opportunity.

Redefining business means taking calculated risks in order to obtain a desirable outcome. Success requires risk-taking, but fully understanding and mitigating risk increases the likelihood of achievement. Thinking long-term and creatively are key to managing both risk and opportunity.

Faculty feature: Meet Daniel Rogers

Finance Professor Daniel Rogers
Daniel Rogers is an associate professor in the MSF program.

Please give us a brief overview of your academic and professional background.

My academic background includes over 20 years as a finance professor. I came to Portland State University in 2001 after spending my first three years as a professor at Northeastern University in Boston. I earned my PhD in finance at the University of Utah. Prior to my doctoral work, I worked in a variety of managerial roles in the petroleum and airline industries. Earlier academic degrees include an MBA from Tulane University and a BA in business administration from Washington State University. In recent years, I have earned several professional finance credentials (CFA, CAIA, and FRM). I have published a number of research articles over the years, most of which focus on analyses of corporate risk management using financial derivatives.

What do you enjoy most about teaching at The School of Business at Portland State?

Portland is not really a “finance” town, so I find that the marginal benefit of finance here to be really high for students. As opposed to some markets in which students perceive that their knowledge level of finance is already fairly substantial, students in Portland find the finance point of view to be unique and interesting.

What classes do you teach in the MSF program?

Over the last six years, I have been teaching Hedging and Risk Management in the MSF (formerly MSFA) program. Through the course, students gain some fundamental exposure to financial derivatives (both markets and instruments), and we use this newfound knowledge to discuss issues in historical incidents involving failures of risk management. During this academic year, I will be transitioning into teaching in the student-managed portfolio program. I expect to see a lot of the MSF students go through this program!

What are you most passionate about in your work or research?

In my mind, the most important question in finance is “what is something worth?” Valuation is a core issue that touches everyone’s life every time they make a purchasing decision. Is the price I am being asked to pay for something worth it to me? In other words, am I buying something with value > price? In finance, we typically study valuation solely from the perspective of financial assets, such as shares of company stock. But the comparison of a personal “valuation” of a product or service to the price paid is an important life skill everyday!

For you, what does it mean to redefine business and transform lives?

A business’s purpose is to satisfy a market’s unmet needs and/or wants. (For some reason, finance students do not always think of business in this way!) As such, businesses are constantly being redefined in the ways that they meet market needs and wants. Thus, in my mind, “redefining business” is merely the recognition of the statement above about the purpose of business. Reminding students of this statement and how it would reflect how we work with customers, employees, suppliers, and other stakeholders in the context of business is my small contribution to ensuring that students remember that successful businesses are constantly seeking to reinvent themselves based on the market’s needs and wants.

Education, at its best, transforms an individual’s life by giving them the opportunity to think deeply about what they truly care about, what their skills are, and how they can combine their passion and skills into business opportunities that contribute to the vitality of our communities.

When you are not teaching, what do you spend your time doing?

As is probably the case with many academics, I spend a lot of time thinking. I do my best thinking while I walk the hills around my neighborhood (a lot!). The side benefit is that, even if my thinking is completely unproductive, my health is better than ever. I also read a lot (pleasure and professional). Now that my wife and I are empty nesters, we are hoping to spend some more time traveling, and I am hoping to get in more ski days than I have in recent years. I am also hoping to start playing tennis again after a long hiatus.

A business’s purpose is to satisfy a market’s unmet needs and/or wants. As such, businesses are constantly being redefined in the ways that they meet market needs and wants.

Faculty feature: Meet Dave Garten

Portland State Professor Dave Garten
Dave Garten is a senior instructor in the MBA program,
as well as the Director of the Capstone program.

Please give us a brief overview of your academic and professional background.

The short version of my bio is that my Intel years in the 80s and 90s gave me a ton of experience with strategy, business development, finance, marketing, team building and program management — this was the big growth period for Intel back in the day (“all boats rise with the tide”).

Then I joined with three entrepreneurs and we built SeQuential, a biofuels company that turns used cooking oil into biodiesel. We established the company and expanded it over 14 years, then sold it in 2018. I was the first CEO and learned to lead and build a company without the safety net of an established company.

What do you enjoy most about teaching at The School of Business at Portland State?

I love being able to use my experience to deliver content and ideas that are meaningful and helpful.

At the same time, I love learning. We get to become familiar with new industries in the classroom. And I have the luxury to spend time with students who generate new ideas and insights every day.

What classes do you teach in The Portland MBA?

I have been teaching at PSU since 2006. I started as an adjunct professor teaching Strategy and gradually added more responsibilities as I had more time. At this point, I am full-time MBA faculty and teach Strategy 1 and 2, Negotiation and an elective, Mergers and Acquisitions. I also manage the Capstone Program and co-teach Leadership Immersion. In the summer, I lead the international experience to South America.

For you, what does it mean to redefine business and transform lives?

We can redefine business to be about more than just profit. I am a big believer in the triple-bottom-line, and it makes long-term economic sense. We discuss this in the classroom, and I hope our work can help students be change agents in the business world.

I like to think that I was a change agent with the passion and energy I poured into SeQuential. We built a better company with an environmental mission, and the result was millions of gallons of biodiesel that burned 85% less carbon than diesel.

When you are not teaching, what do you spend your time doing?

You’ll see that my personal email is “daveoutside.” I am an active cyclist (bike commuter), runner, hiker and skier. In addition, I am a new empty-nester, having just launched two boys into college. So I have more time these days to spend with my partner Linda and the great outdoors.

We can redefine business to be about more than just profit. I am a big believer in the triple-bottom-line, and it makes long-term economic sense. We discuss this in the classroom, and I hope our work can help students be change agents in the business world.

Faculty feature: Meet Brian McCarthy

Brian McCarthy
Brian McCarthy is a senior instructor in the MBA and MSGSCM programs.

Please give us a brief overview of your academic and professional background.

I started my career as a sales representative in the technology industry, first with the Burroughs Corporation and then with IBM. I was recruited to Microsoft, which gave me a chance to move from a field office to headquarters and from sales to marketing. At Microsoft, I worked as a channel marketing manager, group marketing manager, and business unit general manager — and loved every minute of it.

I have been teaching at The School of Business for 19 years, at first part-time and later as a member of the full-time faculty. It has been a wonderful second career.

What do you enjoy most about teaching at The School of Business at Portland State?

The students, faculty and staff. That’s an easy one! My colleagues and our students are all here because they want to be — and they bring their best every day. Who wouldn’t want to be part of that? And, of course, I have to add that the Karl Miller Center is nothing short of amazing. What a pleasure to work in this incredible space.

What classes do you teach in our graduate programs?

Each year I teach in our MBA and MSGSCM programs. My courses include Leadership Assessment and Development, Communication for Leaders, Leadership Challenges and Insights, Leadership and Ethics, Marketing Strategy, and Selling and Sales Leadership. I really like all of my assigned courses, so I am glad this question does not require me to rank them. In addition, I serve as the executive coach for our MBA students, which gives me a chance to meet with each one to discuss their professional development. Would you be surprised to know that our students are even more impressive one-on-one than they are in the classroom?

What are you most passionate about in your work?

I am most passionate about playing a positive role in helping our students get where they want to go. For most of our graduate students, the time they spend with us is transformational. They create important relationships, gain relevant knowledge and skills, earn a valuable credential and — above all — pursue their dreams and aspirations. It is an honor to be part of that process.

When you are not teaching, what do you spend your time doing?

You mean, besides watch Netflix? Seriously, I love spending time with my family. I’m married with three children. We are empty nesters now, so the time we are all together is infrequent but extra special. I also enjoy exercising, especially cycling, running and walking. I am a big reader of books about history, including nonfiction works, biographies and historical novels. Finally, I like to visit new places. I’ve traveled all over the world, but lately, my wife and I have really enjoyed visiting U.S. cities we have not been to before. For example, we took a long weekend trip to Austin and loved it. Next up: Nashville. Also, I have a small executive coaching practice outside of the university, and I work on a small pedestrian safety business I co-founded a few years ago.

I am most passionate about playing a positive role in helping our students get where they want to go. For most of our graduate students, the time they spend with us is transformational. They create important relationships, gain relevant knowledge and skills, earn a valuable credential and — above all — pursue their dreams and aspirations. It is an honor to be part of that process.

Faculty feature: Meet Adam Gittler

MSGSCM Adjunct Professor Adam Gittler

Please give us a brief overview of your academic and professional background.

I am a Principal Consultant, with 25 years of experience in global supply chain and operations and operational excellence, and an adjunct professor in the MSGSCM program. My previous work includes director-level roles in lean six sigma, quality, international operations, and regulatory affairs, based in Shanghai, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Malaysia.

I hold masters and bachelors degrees in engineering and operations, I’m a lean six-sigma master black belt, and a UC-Berkeley MBA graduate, with experience in multiple industries including apparel, medical device CFR 820, food and hazard analysis critical control points, energy, public transit and automotive. I’m also proficient in Mandarin Chinese.

What do you enjoy most about teaching at The School of Business at Portland State?

Teaching at The School of Business allows me to impart upon students the wisdom of my mistakes, and for them to more quickly learn the skills that make people in the supply chain industry more successful. I immediately take a great interest in my students’ long term success.  

What classes do you teach in the MSGSCM program?

Reverse Logistics and Closed Loop Supply Chain, Circular Supply Chains and Sustainability, and I’m a MSGSCM capstone advisor to student consulting teams working with local and national clients.

What are you most passionate about in your work or research?

I’m currently researching and publishing new thinking on circular supply chains within the U.S. market, to divert more reusable goods from landfills and ensure that they can profitably be redirected into marketable channels. 

For you, what does it mean to redefine business and transform lives?

It’s such a wonderful opportunity to be on the cutting edge of thinking in new spaces, to be part of the solutions whose trends we see in front of us everyday. Being able to pull in the resources of Portland State University, and the Portland community, is a win-win for our academic mission.

When you are not teaching, what do you spend your time doing?

I play ukulele, practice tai chi and spend as much time with my daughter as I can. During the warmer Oregon months, I’m an avid backpacker and escape to the mountains whenever I can. 

Teaching at The School of Business allows me to impart upon students the wisdom of my mistakes, and for them to more quickly learn the skills that make people in the supply chain industry more successful. I immediately take a great interest in my students’ long term success.

Faculty feature: Meet Jeanne Enders

Jeanne Enders
MBA Assistant Professor Jeanne Enders

Please give us a brief overview of your academic and professional background.

I’m a social and organizational psychologist. My early research specialized in human interaction structure and strategy (e.g. how do humans learn to interact, and can we predict aspects of human interaction such as the development of a group over time?).  

I also studied German literature, and I regularly teach innovation and design thinking at a German university.  

I currently research the relationships between leadership narratives (life stories and how people talk about their life stories) and business ethics.  

I also enjoy collaborating with my colleagues on their research because I have an interdisciplinary background and approach. 

What do you enjoy most about teaching at The School of Business at Portland State?

I enjoy bringing scientific findings on human behavior to the classroom where it meets the deep experience of our students. They teach me so much about the psychological rewards and costs of the workplace.

I also enjoy learning about how our students wish to contribute to society through their careers. I like to think I can be more useful to them once I’m familiar with their purpose. Holding a container for space where they can grow during and after the MBA is quite a privilege. All of the MBA faculty and staff hold such containers.  

What classes do you teach in the MBA program?

I teach a two-credit course called “Building Effective Teams” every fall for the incoming cohorts. I also teach Organizational Management, and I’ve taught the leadership portion of International Strategy with Dave Garten as part of the Business Development international experience. I also help lead Leadership Immersion, and I co-teach Design Thinking and Innovation with my husband, Albrecht Enders. 

What are you most passionate about in your work?

Transformation and kindness.

For you, what does it mean to redefine business and transform lives?

In my opinion, when shareholder value and incessant growth are the two sole drivers of the system, we all lose. Redefining business means redefining capitalism. I’m a fan of using markets to drive behavior, we just have to be so much more intentional about which behavior we wish to motivate. There’s no time left to lose on this since business is the most powerful lever in society for improving social and environmental conditions.

Transformation means to exploit the fact that everything is impermanent. Things will always change; we have the opportunity to embrace and sometimes direct the change. I love that we also get to help one another — and the student more specifically — during the many transformations they make while earning a graduate degree. I feel so much support from my colleagues for my own growth.

When you are not teaching, what do you spend your time doing?

I am a high-affiliative person which means I value relationships and experiences over material wealth or even high achievement. I love spending time with family, friends, animals and nature. 

Redefining business means redefining capitalism. I’m a fan of using markets to drive behavior, we just have to be so much more intentional about which behavior we wish to motivate. There’s no time left to lose on this since business is the most powerful lever in society for improving social and environmental conditions.

Supply chain management program receives APICS Award of Excellence

Daniel Wong, academic director of the supply chain management program, received the annual APICS Award of Excellence on April 18, 2019 on behalf of the program and The School of Business. “This award was given to us to recognize our contributions to the professional supply chain community, APICS Portland Chapter,” Wong said.

The School of Business co-hosts a biennial dinner event with APICS along with a career fair for students from undergraduate and graduate supply chain management programs and employers hiring for supply chain management positions.

Our faculty and staff have presented at numerous APICS events:

  • The School of Business’ Dean Cliff Allen presented on big data.
  • Carlos Mena Eng. D., assistant professor in supply chain management, presented on supply chain leadership.
  • Daniel Wong presented on trade wars and how they impact the global supply chain.
  • Steven Carnovale, former assistant professor in supply chain management, presented on reverse logistics.

Needless to say, the supply chain management program at PSU is highly involved in the APICS Portland Chapter. It’s common for our students to volunteer at APICS events, and a large portion of working professionals involved in APICS are graduates from our supply chain program at The School of Business. We are honored to have received this award and are excited to continue our involvement in the APICS community.

Daniel Wong, academic director of the supply chain management program received the annual APICS Award of Excellence on April 18, 2019 on behalf of the program and The School of Business.

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