Karen Boroff received the Outstanding Leadership Award from the US Military Academy at West Point – Seton Hall University | Team Cansler

A photo of Karen Boroff accepting an award.

Colonel Everett Spain, USMA, presents Dr. Karen Boroff the Distinguished Alumnus Faculty Award.

Professor Emeritus and Dean Karen Boroff, Ph.D., received the Distinguished Alumnus Faculty Award from the United States Military Academy (USMA) at West Point. She was presented with the award by the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership, where cadets are prepared for careers as commissioned leaders of character and duty, trained in leadership development and social, psychological and management sciences.

The department was founded in 1946 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. During her two sabbaticals at the Academy, Boroff taught departmental courses in Human Resource Management and Leading Change, authored award-winning research, and mentored faculty and cadets for personal and professional excellence. Boroff has another close relationship with the Academy. Her two children, Austen and Alexander, attended and currently serve as officers in the US Army.

At the Boroff Recognition Gala on September 23, 2022, Colonel Everett Spain, U.S. Army and USMA Professor and Chief of the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership, commended Boroff for his dedication, academic excellence and service. He explained that all previous faculty awardees had extensive military experience, including generals and colonels. Boroff is the first civilian to receive this award. Boroff’s words of thanks were a simple sentence: “Don’t network, but nurture” resonated with everyone.

“Karen was an excellent instructor at the academy during her sabbaticals here. She has published important articles, including “A Better Way to Develop Officers,” which appeared in the Magazine of the Armed Forcesin 2011. She wrote an award-winning case with Major Matt Pratt that was published in Case Research Journal. The chapter in the academy-wide textbook on conflict management read by all cadets, co-authored by Boroff and Major Pratt, continues to engage students and enliven discussions,” noted Col. Spain. Noting that she has mentored many military faculty at West Point, he added, “We are proud to honor her, the first civilian faculty member to ever receive this honor.”

This recognition is the latest example of how Boroff’s commitment has resulted in a thriving relationship between the university and the academy and opportunities for experiential learning between the two institutions since her assignment in 2010.

“Seton Hall University offered me these opportunities because of the sabbatical program it extends to the faculty. I have been able to foster this collaboration between our students and faculty at both Seton Hall and the United States Military Academy, strengthening the university’s academic excellence and our commitment to promoting our academic excellence, strategically in teaching and research to invest and expand prospects for leadership development for civilian and cadet students alike.”

maintain a relationship

Among the faculty drawn to Seton Hall were Lieutenant Colonel (Ret.) Russell Lemler, Ph.D., who led the Army ROTC Pirate Battalion and served as Associate Professor of Management; James Modlin, Ph.D. who has taught graduate and undergraduate programs in management, leadership, strategic management, and organizational behavior and serves on the advisory board of the Gerald P. Buccino Center for Leadership Development, and Lt. Col. (Ret.) Bryan C. Price, Ph.D. , a nationally recognized expert on leadership development and terrorism, was named the first executive director of the university’s Buccino Leadership Institute, a unique 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 attend the McDonald Conference for Leaders of Character at West Point. The four-day experiential event brings together emerging global undergraduate leaders with top-ranking Senior Fellows from many fields who mentor students in team-based, experiential and analytical exercises designed to strengthen their leadership skills, encourage critical thinking and collaboration, and strategize to address pressing global problems.

Stillman students have made several trips to West Point and given presentations on leadership. They have also studied organizational culture and recommended elements of that culture that could enhance the college experience at Seton Hall. The student-led Stillman Dinner emerged from these experiences.

To put the concept into practice, the Stillman School and the College of Communication and the Arts also worked on a leadership project. Business and public relations students worked in teams to identify essential leadership qualities, including the importance of communication, and presented their findings to West Point cadets.

Boroff received the top honor, the 2018 North American Case Research Association (NACRA) Curtis E. Tate Jr. Award for the groundbreaking theme in The Incident in Kabul, co-authored with Major Matthew Pratt. The case was credited with bringing an actual conflict situation into the classroom to help bridge the gap between civilians and the military. As more veterans enter universities, course materials had to be added to expand the course discussion across a range 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 that emphasize the importance of decision-making. Case Research Journal publishes four issues per year and has an average acceptance rate of just 20%. Support online publishing partners including Harvard Business School Press, The Case Center and McGraw-Hill Case Research Journal in providing these teaching kits to instructors across North America.

Through her work in case writing, Boroff was also able to win over the editor of the Case Research Journal To offer a virtual workshop for West Point faculty in 2021. This endeavor resulted in two peer-reviewed publications. Though she wasn’t the author of any of them, her efforts helped her research agenda.

In another way that increases the university’s reputation, Boroff has worked with the university to host Academy Day with US Senators Corey Booker and Robert Menendez beginning in 2019. The most recent, held recently, attracted more than 500 attendees, many of whom were interested in nominations for service academies and ROTC options.

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