EBE HOF: Mentor Longenecker nominated for national awardWritten by John P. McCartney | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Although he originally enrolled in the University of Toledo in 1973 “to major in football and minor in school, as sad as that sounds,” Clint Longenecker has been nominated as a candidate in the The Economist search for “Intelligence Unit Business Professor of the Year.” Longenecker is a 28-year member of UT’s College of Business and Innovation who is currently a professor of Leadership and Business Excellence in UT’s Stranahan College of Business and Innovation.
The award is sponsored by the Hult International Business School, an undergraduate and graduate school of business with campuses in Boston, London, United Arab Emirates and Shanghai, was created by the EIU to identify the best business professor in the world. Voting began Oct. 23 and continues through Nov. 23.
Longenecker, with undergraduate marketing and Master of Business Administration degrees from UT, graduated from Penn State University in 1984 with his Ph.D. in business.
“I came back to Toledo after Penn State for about a year because I wanted to let the batteries recharge and spend some time with family and that sort of stuff,” he said. “And here we are 28 years later. Isn’t that crazy?”
Longenecker said “UT has been very good to me. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here.
“If you’re in a university environment like UT, you realize that the word ‘universe’ is one of the root words of ‘university.’ You have this universe of people, a universe of opportunities, a universe of interest, and a‘universe of learning things that really makes it really a very stimulating job.
“At the end of the day … you know what I’ve learned? I’ve learned people care how much you care before they care how much you know.
“I have never had anybody take a class because I wrote the book. I have had people take a class of mine because they say, ‘I hear you’re going to help me be successful. I hear you’re going to know my name and you’re going to show a personal interest in me.’
“So at the end of the day, this recognition — I’m in an environment where we place a high priority on teaching. I’ve been surrounded by good teachers pretty much my entire life between a student at UT and the Westgate Chapel [where] I go to church. I’ve had some great teachers.”
Longenecker’s colleagues say they hold him in highest regard.
“I’m a pretty good teacher, but if it wasn’t for Clint mentoring me, I never would have won the outstanding teacher award,” said Laurence S. Fink, a professor in UT’s College of Business Administration’s Department of Management. “It never would have happened. I don’t even come close to Clint. He’s in his own ZIP code.”
Longenecker is quick to deflect any praise.
“You know what’s nice? This is a place where people take teaching seriously,” Longenecker said. “There’s a verse in the scriptures, in the Old Testament, that says, ‘As iron sharpens iron, so one person can sharpen another.’ That’s what’s going on. You’ve got a lot of ironworkers around here who are sharpening each other up.”
Although he was nominated by a group of former students, Longenecker’s current students are some of his most vocal advocates for this award.
Edward Griffith III, a senior marketing major from Cleveland who is looking forward to a business career as the owner of a chain of show stores, said he has enjoyed his mentor’s kindness.
“He really cares about his students in life,” Griffith said. “He knows everybody’s name in class. Some teachers that teach here don’t know your name. They just know you by your face.
And you can sit down and talk to him about anything, and he explains everything very well.
“My class with Clint (Managing Organizational Change and Improvement) is a two-hour long class, and it goes by so fast.
“He actually keeps our attention the whole time. Class flies by.”
Tia Robinson, an Entrepreneurial and Organization Leadership and Management major from Cleveland who plans to graduate in December, said she is actively promoting Longenecker’s candidacy among her classmates.
“He gets to know his students outside the classroom,” Robinson, 22, said. “Even when there’s an issue at home that maybe you aren’t so willing to talk about offhand with any of your professors, you feel comfortable with him.
“He introduces you to everyone. If he’s walking and talking with you and he sees someone he knows, he’s like, ‘Hey! Have you met Tia?’”
Trent Miller, 32, a married graduate student with one son and an active member of the military, was touched with Longenecker’s compassion.
“My class started with him last January, and I went and talked to him outside of class,” Miller said. “I approached him and said, ‘Here’s my story. I’m not a traditional student. This is what I’ve been doing. I’m looking forward
to your class.’ Normal, just a professional introduction.
“And he was interested in my family and how connected we were. He gave my wife and me his time, and he introduced us to the spouses’ club. We’re from the area, but we’re a couple hours’ drive away from where our immediate family is. So he gave my wife a way, with our young son, where they could interact with some other moms, meet some other people in the area. He certainly didn’t have to do that or open that up. I thought that was very, very generous of him to try to help us get engaged in the community, knowing our background a little bit.”
Miller said he is also tremendously impressed with Longenecker’s leadership skills.
“He is certainly a remarkable individual and on par with some of the best leaders I’ve ever been around,” Miller said. “And I’m certainly thinking of my military commanders I’ve had in the past. Previously, I’ve been under a Colonel Promotable (an officer who has been selected to become a general but has not been formally promoted) who’s now a two-star general, and the types of things that I would see in that man I also see in Clint.”
Keenan Fischer, a senior human resource management major from Toledo who plans to graduate in May, said he is inspired by the way Longenecker handles himself.
“When I was a kid in sixth grade at Rosary Cathedral, I played on the YMCA basketball team,” Fischer said. “Clint was the volunteer coach for the Y. He was a great coach. We developed a relationship through that — the basketball program — when I was younger.
“When I got to college, I met him again. He remembered me from when I was 12 years old, and now I’m 24. The very first time I saw him — and I hadn’t seen him since I was 12 — was, ‘You can come by my office. I’m always here to help you.’
“That impressed me, being a freshman in college and having that connection with him. Even being able to come by his office. We just talked. He’d give me advice on how to handle situations throughout my college career.
“He’s been so helpful with everything; making decisions on my major and my career path, and introducing me to people I can network with now and network with when I’m a college graduate.
“This man was my coach when I was 12, and I never thought we would be the No. 1 reference on my resume.”
Liz Hussey, 36, a nontraditional graduate student from Massachusetts, worked in employee benefits in a human resources department before she took a single college course and relocated to Toledo in 2004. Hussey said she enrolled at UT because she noticed that she failed to get the career advancements she had the experience for because she didn’t have a college degree.
Hussey said Longenecker is one of UT’s more valuable assets, and she would like to see him named as one of the finalists in the International Teacher of the Year competition.
“He’s just a stand-up guy,” she said. “He really just cares a lot about people. I think he’s been very fortunate. He has worked real hard for what he has, but he really appreciates it, and he wants to help people who are maybe less fortunate. He wants to help people succeed in general.
“He knows that obviously this [award] would be some good publicity for the University of Toledo. And it’s going to be especially good for students that are in the College of Business.
“I’m a prime example. I’ve taken one class in undergrad, I have an independent study with him in my MBA, and I’m going to take a course with him next semester. So I know him fairly well. And so if he’s recognized like this, that’s going to get back to me as a career connection or even a talking point.
“I’m just really excited for him. I think it’s awesome that he’s been nominated, and I think he definitely deserves to be in the Top 10.”
Longenecker has received more than 40 awards in recognition of his leadership, teaching, research and service to the community. He has published three books and has two more in the writing stages that are scheduled to be published in 2013 and 2014. He has also published more than 160 articles in academic journals.
Longenecker has held seminars and lectures all over the world, including presentations in Barbados, Haiti, Hungary, Russia and Zimbabwe. He has also presented seminars to members of the U. S. military.
Current and former students and alumni can vote for Longenecker by completing an online form. Once a vote is cast, it must be verified via email before the 1 p.m. Nov. 23 deadline.
The 10 professors who receive the most votes will join five other professors selected by the judges for an interview. From these 15 professors, the judges will choose four who compete in a live teach-off in London where they will present a short lecture on a topic of their choice to two audiences: a live audience and an online audience.
After the presentations, viewers will vote, and the winner, who will receive the title of EIU Business Professor of the Year as well as $100,000, will be announced live.
For more information on the award or to vote, visit the web site www.businessprofessoraward.com.