Breaks Faculty Longevity Record
training for a management position with the Dayton Co. in 1963,
Jim Camerius (Business) took a brief reprieve from
retailing to visit his former professors at Northern. Little did
he know that the trip to his alma mater would evolve into a career-altering
arrived on campus expecting nothing more than to reminisce and catch
up with those who played defining roles in his undergraduate education.
He left with an offer to join their ranks by filling a teaching
vacancy in the business department.
in his 41st year of service to Northern, Camerius recently set a
new record for longevity among faculty members. He surpassed the
40-year mark held by the late chemistry professor Lucian Hunt (1927-1967).
time has flown by, really,” Camerius said. “When I started here,
the business department was very basic. There were only five or
six faculty members – one per discipline. I was the marketing instructor.
But there were some innovative thinkers back then. Someone suggested
we look at the computer and its potential applications. Most of
us didn’t think it would last. We thought it was a fad, which is
an interesting reaction in hindsight, given where the university
is right now.
remember we had war surplus furniture and we were located in Kaye
Hall under the stage of the auditorium. We didn’t even have doors
on our offices. I would have to say that the present physical plant
is much better at meeting our needs. But the university was growing
so fast in those days, adding 1,000 students a year and expanding
has outlasted seven presidents. He described the first – Edgar Harden
– as most inspiring.
was here when I was a student and when I was hired,” Camerius said.
“Dr. Harden had established a firm foundation for all of us to grow
professionally. He was encouraging and friendly. When he patted
you on the shoulder, it stayed warm all day.”
long after Camerius began teaching in the fall of 1963, the nation
was shocked by the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
remember going out on the steps of Kaye Hall and noticing that the
university flags were just being lowered,” he recalled. “People
were crying and there was a lot of unrest and uncertainty. That
was a sad time, but it became more turbulent on campus in the late
60s and early 70s.”
all of the changes that have swirled around him over the years,
Camerius said the classroom experience has remained consistent.
haven’t noticed much change in terms of the students and their interest
in the subject material. In some ways, students are more professional
now, but generally they’ve been well prepared all along. You always
have a case or two that make you want to tear your hair out, but
those are more the exceptions than the rule. For me, the reward
comes after each course, when I realize the students have grasped
the material. We see so many come and go, but based on the feedback
we receive, we know there are success stories out there. That makes
you feel good.”
teaches international marketing, services marketing, personal selling,
retail and advertising. His scholarly expertise is in the area of
case studies. He has written numerous cases about retailing, strategic
management and business policy involving such corporate giants as
Wal-Mart and Kmart, not to mention direct-selling enterprises such
as Mary Kay Cosmetics and Longaberger Baskets. His cases have appeared
in more than 135 textbooks, many of which fill a bookshelf in his
Magers Hall office.
genesis of my work with case methods really began when I studied
at the University
he said. “I had a renewed interest in it here at Northern when the
began working on accreditation several years ago. I always wanted
to write case studies and they are an example of applied research
that fit with the objectives of the college and university.”
asked to pinpoint some professional highlights during his tenure
at Northern, Camerius said two stand out: his appointment as president
of the Society for Case Research and a 1995 faculty award from the
Michigan Association of Governing Boards.
the 41-year mark with one employer is a milestone that few others
will achieve, according to John Frick (JOBSearch
almost unheard of these days,” he said. “What I have gotten from
our professional organization – the National Association of Colleges
and Employers – is that the average person changes jobs five to
seven times during their working life. They stay in the same field,
but move on to different employers. The average person also changes
careers – in other words, goes into a completely different line
of work – two to four times. You just don’t see as many cases of
people starting and ending their careers in the same place anymore.”
is premature to mention the end of Camerius’ academic career. He
has no plans to retire in the near future.
university has always been very supportive of my work, so I never
had a desire to move on – especially more recently as I’ve been
more productive in case writing,” he said. “As long as I can make
a contribution to the College
and to the university, I will
still be here.”