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Campus Community Profile: Deborah DeLong, PhD

Dr. DeLong, front-right, with members of the CMA at the AMA Collegiate Case Competition.
Dr. DeLong, front-right, with members of the CMA at the AMA Collegiate Case Competition.

Professor DeLong is advisor to the Chatham Marketing Association. This year, CMA placed third in the prestigious national American Marketing Association (AMA)’s Collegiate Case Competition, out of 91 total submissions.  

This is the most prestigious and challenging event that the AMA offers to students; CMA once again put Chatham on the map as a significant source of marketing talent. ” – Deborah DeLong

Hometown: Annandale, VA
Position at Chatham: Associate Professor of Marketing and faculty advisor to the Chatham Marketing Association
Came to Chatham: 2006
Interests: Running, book club, travel

What got you interested in marketing?
In graduate school, I intended to pursue a career in industrial psychology since that’s where I had my training. Next thing I know, I’m working at an advertising agency. This position allowed me to turn those skills around to focus on customers instead of on employees.

What are your main areas of research interest?
Mostly branding and marketing strategy, but since coming to Chatham my research has focused on sustainability. Sustainability ties in with one of my interests, consumer behavior. I research how and why a consumer or an employee might be motivated to buy green products, engage in environmentally responsible behaviors, and in general adopt a more sustainable lifestyle. Both industrial psychology and marketing come into play when explaining the motivations and conditions that foster sustainable behavior inside and outside of a company setting.

Screen Shot 2016-05-12 at 11.00.02 AM
Short course write-up from “The Recorder”, Chatham’s alumni magazine, Fall 2014.

What is your role in the American Marketing Association?
I first joined AMA when I was working as a business analytics manager at Entergy Corporation in 1998. I continued as an AMA member as a Clinical Marketing Professor at Tulane University in 2002. When I came to Chatham in 2006, I realized that the collegiate division of the AMA offers a world of opportunities for students, so we began the Chatham Marketing Association chapter. About four or five years ago, I was elected to the AMA Collegiate Chapters Council (CCC), which is the planning group of 10 faculty advisors from the 350 collegiate chapters in the organization. It’s a pretty big honor and a lot of responsibility. Within the Council, I am in charge of the annual Collegiate Case Competition and a few other smaller competitions. I also help with all aspects of year-round collegiate programming and help coordinate the annual conference that is attended by 1500+ marketing undergraduates each spring. I’m currently the president-elect of the Council and also serve as Collegiate Relations Committee co-chair for the Pittsburgh AMA, our local professional AMA chapter. 

What is the Collegiate Case Competition?
It’s a rigorous, nationally-recognized competition with two goals—to allow students to work together on a real-world business challenge, and to allow the client to benefit from input by the country’s top marketing students. I help the sponsoring company define their key business challenges and constraints; write the case; coordinate all of the details related to recruiting the judges, managing multiple rounds of submissions and scoring, and overseeing the final presentations by finalist teams. The case sponsor is usually a big name brand company. Last year it was The Hershey Company, and this coming year it is eBay.  Students use the written case to develop the marketing strategy that they present to the client if they become finalists. This year, we were one of only 10 finalist teams (out of 350 collegiate chapters) invited to present our case solution to The Hershey Company’s brand management team. Our students delivered a fantastic case solution followed by Q&A with Hershey’s team.

What’s in a case?
The case is very clear about the business challenge and what student teams should focus on. It will say something like “the analysis and your solution and submission needs to address this, this, this and this.” So for Cool Blasts (the Hershey Company’s Icebreakers’ product) last year, it was value proposition and target market. In general it’s also the marketing mix, but the client might say “don’t change the price or packaging.”

For a school of our size, competing against “Ivies”, the best business schools in the country, and massive state universities with tons of resources and support, coming in third in the Collegiate Case Competition is an unbelievably significant accomplishment.”

What makes participating in AMA enjoyable for you?
I realized very quickly that if I didn’t get involved with outside organizations in my field, I was going to be alone in my work. I needed to submit my research to conferences and meet colleagues, but also get involved with the operational side of organizations and be able to partner with colleagues that have similar interests and a similar commitment to student education. It’s enjoyable because it helps me to get outside of the perimeter of Chatham, which makes me a better teacher, a better practitioner, a better scientist, and a better member of the academy.

How does AMA help students learn about marketing and/or business?
There is a lot to be said for projects and assignments in a class. However, I think that there is a certain comfort level in only ever being exposed to other students in your own institution. The value of the AMA is that it really is an infusion of what it’s like down the road after you’re done with your degree. You get exposure to other students and other schools. While the collegiate AMA is competitive in that students compete for awards and recognition, I see it as cooperative too, because in marketing one of the biggest success factors is learning how to work and play nicely with others.

Any CMA accomplishments that you’re especially proud of?
Definitely our performance in the Collegiate Case Competition, where we’ve placed in the finals twice since I have been at Chatham. This is an incredible repeat accomplishment —the other schools that make it to the finals are usually large state schools and the Ivy League Whartons of the world. Each time I helped the team along, but more importantly it’s about my students taking it upon themselves to be committed and follow through on a challenge that is really almost insurmountable. I also think we do an amazing job with social impact. The Young Art Fair is our signature accomplishment; we’re becoming known for it in the Pittsburgh area. I’m also really proud of the fact that a lot of the officers in CMA have gone on to have decent careers in marketing, and from what I hear it was their experiences as CMA officers that helped make this happen for them, and some of the main things they talked about in their interviews.

 

The whereas’s heard ’round the region

EBC-Exterior
The Esther Barazzone Center, dedicated April 28, 2016

 

An hour and a half before guests were due to arrive, drizzle turned to rain and Eden Hall Campus (EHC) sprang quietly into action:

  • Gravel pathways made it easy for water to sink into the earth, rather than run off, as would happen with concrete.
  • The rainwater harvesting system collected the rain, cleaned it, and rerouted it for use for irrigation and other non-potable duties.
  • Raingardens filled with native plants soaked it all in.
  • Crops that will feed Eden Hall community members were watered.

Impressive as that might sound, EHC does so much more than deal intelligently with stormwater, and the completion of the first phase of building that makes it all possible is only one of the reasons that 250 people have ventured into this gray morning on April 28 to gather here in celebration.

As guests arrived, shaking off umbrellas and marveling at what was for many their first look at the new Commons building, there was an excitement in the air that even the prospect of an Eden Hall-sourced lunch did little to quell.

The opening remarks and the lunch
In nature, nothing exists alone, begins the donor wall in the entranceway of the new building. This quote from Chatham alumna Rachel Carson pinpoints a sense of shared experience that President Esther Barazzone echoed in her opening remarks. “This is an absolute thrill for all of us to see so many of you taking part in our first communal meal here.”

Esther was followed by Sigo Falk, chair of the erstwhile Falk Foundation and Chatham Board member since 1981, who noted the multiple dimensions of sustainability, including social justice. Then lunch was served, family-style, and guests feasted on Arugula and Pickled and Roasted Beet Salad with Honey Beet Vinaigrette and Popcorn Croutons; Apple Whiskey Glazed Pork and Rye Berry Pilaf; and Braised Rainbow Chard and Kale, all grown at Eden Hall or sourced from Hatfield Meats or Wigle Whiskey.

lunch

After lunch, guests heard  from Richland Township Manager Dean Bastianini, State Representative Hal English, and Director of the Southwest Regional Office of the Governor Erin Molchany.

Eden Hall Campus is not only a model for sustainable design and net-zero mission nationally, but is also is the world’s first sustainable college campus. We love firsts, here in Pennsylvania. Especially firsts that put us on the global map. And we will continue to hold up Eden Hall Campus and the Commons Center as an example of what we can accomplish together.”
– Erin Molchany

The dedication
The Commons Dedication segment of the afternoon began with remarks from David Goldberg from Eden Hall architectural partner Mithūn. “I’m honored to have collaborated with Chatham Board of Trustees and the Chatham leadership team,” he said. “Esther—your vision and commitment to the project are just unmatched by anything we’ve ever seen.”

esther
Next, Jennifer Potter, Chair of the Chatham Board of Trustees told us that “bold vision, strong leadership, and an embrace of doing big things in a short amount of time have been the hallmarks of Esther’s presidency.” She declared it a great honor to read the resolution at hand, and exhorted guests to “bear with me, this is when I do all the ‘whereas’s’.”

Five whereas’s later: “Therefore, be it now resolved that the Board of Trustees approves dedicating the Commons at Eden Hall as the Esther Barazzone Center at Eden Hall Campus.”  The room rose to its feet, applauding. In a voice brimming with emotion, Esther thanked the Board.

This honor means the world to me. This Board has led me, and given me the privilege of saying that I helped lead them.”
– Esther Barazzone

She also thanked Chatham’s community partners, Richland, and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. And finally, “Thank you especially to the faculty, the students and the others who work at Chatham. You are, of course, the heart, the soul, and the reason why we do these things. May you learn joyously here. ”

proclamation

The keynote speaker
Next, Falk School Dean Peter Walker introduced keynote speaker Barton Seaver—a young and charismatic sustainability-focused seafood chef turned academic and activist, who gave a dynamic and thought-provoking talk, beginning with the summers he spent as a child by the Chesapeake Bay.

“Every morning at the crack of dawn, I was down by the docks, gathering bluefish, blue crabs, spots, skate,” he said. “There was bounty in those waters, and that’s how I understood the world to be. Then later, when I opened my own restaurant and got to write my own menu, I was inspired by that time. I said ‘All right, let’s get bluefish, blue crabs, oysters…’ and my suppliers said ‘Kid, what are you talking about? We ate all those. What else do you want?’”

Seaver says that it was at that point that he realized that if we have the power to harm the oceans (and fish from the ocean have the power to harm us, through mercury levels), the flip side is that we can also use seafood to heal, and that we can restore the ocean’s systems. He sees it as a turning point in how he began to view sustainability—from a vantage point of guilt to a vantage point of opportunity.

barton

“In the U.S., we eat over 175 lbs per person per year of meat, compared to roughly 14 lbs per person per year of seafood,” said Seaver, calling the meager amount of omega-3 fatty acids in the diets of women of childbearing years in the U.S. “an epidemic.”

Seaver thinks deeply about messages of sustainability, how they’re delivered, and how those deliveries might improve. “I talk to people and then use their own words to explain why the oceans are important,” he said. “The word ‘environment’ practically never came up. Instead we talked about economics. Jobs. Culture, heritage, health.”

All too often what we hear is ‘Save the oceans!’ We’re not trying to save the oceans; we’re trying to save our reality around those oceans. We’re trying to save dinner. Frankly speaking, we’re trying to save ourselves.” – Barton Seaver

The denouement
Following Seaver’s address, guests broke for coffee, champagne, and Eden Hall Global Cow cookies (you had to be there). Guests were encouraged to roam about the Commons, where signs and staff members were positioned to provide information, and to join small group tours that that left from the Commons.

post-event

“Sustainability begins in our hearts and minds,” concluded Seaver’s address. “And fortunately, our hearts and minds have found a loving home”—he gestured around at the Esther Barazzone Center—“here.”

The opening was previewed by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and NEXT Pittsburgh

Faculty Research: John R. Taylor and Migrant Gardners in Chicago

Professor John Taylor teaches students at Chatham’s Eden Hall Campus

The Industrial Revolution compelled workers to seek employment in cities, a trend that has never really reversed: According to the U.S. Census, in 2013, nearly two-thirds of Americans lived in cities.* Due to a finite amount of land, these cities are expanding, and more land is being incorporated every year.

The largest single land use in cities is residential, so what we choose to do with the space we inhabit is of interest to researchers who study urban environments. For example, the preponderance of residential land use means that residential gardens, including urban agriculture, are increasingly important sites of biodiversity (plants, animals, and micro-organisms) and agrobiodiversity (a subset of biodiversity concerned with food and agriculture) in cities.

But these urban sites of food production haven’t been studied extensively, at least not in the developed world, says Falk School of Sustainability Assistant Professor of Sustainable Agroecology John R. Taylor, PhD who is looking to change that. Further, he says:

“I thought that by doing this I could almost act as an advocate for home gardens. They do make a substantial and unrecognized contribution to urban food systems.”

A polyculture of winter melon, bitter melon, and leafy greens in the backyard garden of a Chinese-origin household in Chicago
A polyculture of winter melon, bitter melon, and leafy greens in the backyard garden of a Chinese-origin household in Chicago

Dr. Taylor grew up on a farm in Latrobe, PA where his family grew corn, soybeans, wheat, barley, oats, and raised cattle and hogs. In high school, he sold crops that he grew in his market garden. “I was like a little plant nerd,” he laughs.

For the current project, Dr. Taylor and his colleagues sought to understand food gardens of a subset of Chicago-area ethnic and migrant households.  Dr. Taylor and his team interviewed 19 Mexican-origin, 23 Chinese-origin, and 17 African American gardeners (for a total of 59), catalogued what they were growing, and asked about their garden histories, gardening practices, and personal histories. Linguistically competent graduate assistants from the focal communities helped secure participation and facilitate interviews.  The research, published on February 15, 2016 is entitled: “Ecosystem services and tradeoffs in the home food gardens of African American, Chinese-origin, and Mexican-origin households in Chicago, IL” by John R. Taylor et al in Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems, Cambridge University Press.

“Attaining a height of three or more meters…tropical corn is a striking botanical feature in Chicago neighborhoods, potentially acting as a signifier of regional and ethnic identity.”

Among their other findings:

  • Only 9.6% of the inventoried species were native to Chicago.
  • A total of 123 edible plant taxa were identified across the 61gardens, including 17 species of food crops, 27 species of culinary herbs, and 79 taxa of vegetable crops.
  • Only three species (Jerusalem artichoke, pokeweed, and fox grape) were native to the Chicago area.
  • On average, Chinese-origin households devoted a significantly higher proportion of their lot to food production than did African American or Mexican-origin households.
  • Fruit trees were most abundant in Mexican-origin households’ gardens and least abundant in those of Chinese-origin households.
  • Only winter squash appeared in the ten most abundant groups for all three samples.
  • Ethnic food culture and preferences most strongly influenced the species composition of Chinese-origin households’ gardens.
Bitter melon in the backyard garden of a Chinese-origin household in Chicago
Bitter melon in the backyard garden of a Chinese-origin household in Chicago

Planting food for our own consumption might seem to be an unmitigated good to the non-agro-ecologists among us, but Dr. Taylor cautions that there are trade-offs.

“If urban gardeners use a lot of synthetic fertilizers a couple of times each week, that can contribute to storm water pollution. And planting perennial species limits the time that the ground can act as a hospitable environment for “good” insect species.”

Gardeners’ priorities might conflict with those of human urban dwellers, too. Take trees. “While vertical structures like trees are helpful in terms of supporting biodiversity, urban agriculturalists tend to not want a lot of trees, since they block sun,” says Dr. Taylor. But many people see trees as welcomed sources of shade that not only provide comfort, but also mitigate urban heat island effects. “City centers tend to be warmer than fringe areas because of the amount of concrete. This leads to increased costs in terms of cooling, and can lead to a serious negative impact on human health,” he says, citing the 1995 Chicago heat wave that led to 739 heat-related deaths.

“While the composition of the front yard purportedly reflects social class, backyards are alleged to be ‘dreamscapes’ reflecting the owner’s ‘true’ landscape preferences.” – Larsen and Harlan, 2006 (mentioned in Taylor et al, 2016)

Ultimately, Dr. Taylor is interested in evolving the project from descriptive study to experimental work, developing agro-ecological approaches to community gardens. “We could potentially take models provided by the Chinese-origin gardeners—like polycultures, trellises, and vertical gardening—and use them in new ways,” he says. “I’m interested in developing models where perennials, trees, shrubs, and other plants can grow together in a home garden that produces food and supports biodiversity.”

Dr. Taylor cites Pittsburgh’s Mt. Oliver Community Garden Gathering Space, a project run by Bhutanese refugees in conjunction with Grow Pittsburgh and GTech, as a way that culture and agriculture can come together to provide some degree of food security, companionship, and purpose to a migrant community.

The Falk School of Sustainability offers an M.A. in Food Studies (MAFS), a Master of Sustainability (MSUS), a Bachelor of Sustainability, and dual-degree MAFS/MBA and MSUS/MBA programs. Learn about growing food at Eden Hall.

*Population Trends in Incorporated Places: 2000 to 2013 Population Estimates and Projections Issued March 2015 P25-1142 By Darryl T. Cohen (With Geoffrey W. Hatch)