Professors Honored for Advancing Faculty Diversity at American Universities and Colleges

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By Caroline Yount

A husband-and-wife team of Rutgers University–Camden business professors has been honored nationally for their commitment to championing diversity in higher education.

Voorhees residents Julie and Kenneth Kendall, both management faculty members at the Rutgers School of Business–Camden, will be inducted into the PhD Project Hall of Fame at the organization’s annual meeting conference in Chicago during Nov. 16 to 18.

The Kendalls – Julie, a professor of management, and Ken, a distinguished professor of management – are longtime members and advocates of the PhD Project, founded in 1994 as a way to increase workplace diversity by encouraging minority professionals to become academics who in turn will encourage, mentor, support and enhance the preparation of tomorrow’s business leaders.

At the annual conference, professionals already working in the fields of information systems, accounting, marketing, management and others are invited to explore changing their careers — to become doctoral students and eventually business professors. “About 15 percent of the attendees go on to start a doctoral program, typically within three to five years of attending the conference,” Ken Kendall says.

For the Kendalls, and other mentors with the PhD Project, once a professional makes a commitment to the Project, that person is supported every step of the way, from applying to graduate school through school and into an academic career.

“It is a lifelong commitment” Ken Kendall explains. “Whatever they are going through, we are always there to help. I call them my family and look forward to meeting them every year.”

“Increasing diversity in higher education by growing the number of minority business professors is good for everyone,” Julie Kendall says. “All students are benefiting from these professors, who have great business knowledge. They are people who have already succeeded in business careers.” And for minority students, there is an added bonus.

“Twenty years ago, there weren’t many African American, Hispanic American, or Native American professors for minority students to interact with,” Ken Kendall says. “Now, students of color are succeeding, in part because of the great role models teaching them.”

The Rutgers–Camden professors agree that it is the doctoral students involved who make the PhD Project a success. They were overjoyed to learn that a current student in the program nominated them for the Hall of Fame. “I’m thrilled beyond belief,” Julie Kendall says of the honor. “I have been floating since I found out.”

The Kendalls are two among a total of only 21 members in the Hall of Fame, established by the PhD Project in 2011 “to recognize a select few who have inspired many.”

Julie Kendall is a Fellow of the Decisions Sciences Institute, a past chair of the IFIP Working Group 8.2, and a recipient of the Silver Core award from IFIP. She has published over 75 research articles in information systems. Kendall is the co-author (with Ken Kendall) of a textbook used worldwide, Systems Analysis and Design, now in its ninth edition. She is an associate editor and editorial review board member for many scholarly journals. She served as the Association for Information Systems Vice President for SIGs, Chapters, and Colleges for six years. Kendall also served as an associate editor for MIS Quarterly and was part of the inaugural editorial board for the Journal of the Association for Information Systems (JAIS).

She earned her doctorate at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and was a visiting scholar at Cambridge University. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota and her master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Kendall has developed and presented several workshops to the Information Systems Doctoral Students Association (ISDSA) on how to publish research in peer-reviewed journals. The ISDSA is the student-governed information systems group of the PhD Project. Kendall also has served as an external evaluator of tenure and promotion cases for many graduates of the PhD Project’s ISDSA.

Her research focuses on developing innovative qualitative approaches for information systems researchers, including the use of metaphors in systems development. Kendall’s current research develops a theory of responsive design based on organizational engagement with open source communities in the collaborative design of open source software.

Ken Kendall is one of the founders the International Conference on Information Systems (ICIS) and a Fellow of the Decision Sciences Institute (DSI). He served as president of DSI and the chair of IFIP Working Group 8.2. He was honored as the 2010 Educator of the Year in Information Systems by EDSIG. He has been named as one of the top 60 most productive MIS researchers in the world and was awarded the Silver Core from the IFIP. Kendall has published more than 100 research articles. He served as program chair for both DSI and AMCIS. Kendall is the co-author (with Julie Kendall) of Systems Analysis and Design, a textbook used worldwide He also edited the book Emerging Information Technologies: Improving Decisions, Cooperation, and Infrastructure.

He was the first person to graduate with a PhD in management information systems from the State University of New York at Buffalo. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Canisius College and an MBA from SUNY Buffalo. Kendall has participated with minority students and faculty in the PhD Project Information Systems Doctoral Students Association Conference as a presenter and mentor since ISDSA began in 1996. The current crop of ISDSA members includes several doctoral students from his alma mater, making this “An especially meaningful time to receive this honor,” Ken says.

His research interests include systems analysis and design, emerging IT, organizational engagement with open source communities, and IT project management. Kendall writes about metaphors, myths, and storytelling in the business world. An opera and theater buff, he has also published numerous articles about performing arts management and served (with Julie) as official nominator for the Drama League.

In 1990, Julie and Ken also wrote gender-neutral, Camden-specific lyrics for the Rutgers Alma Mater, which sung annually at commencement ceremonies.

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