Roland Kushner

Professor, Business
Accounting, Business, Economics & Finance
Main Campus > Ettinger Building > 306G

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  • Ph.D., Lehigh University
  • M.B.A., Lehigh University
  • B.A., Carleton University

Teaching Interests

My teaching addresses management practices and decision-making in various organizational settings, from startups to small family businesses to global publicly traded firms to nonprofit organizations of all kinds. My courses encourage students to grow into ways of thinking and action that will help them achieve successful careers, working and learning how to make organizations effective.

For some years, I have taught the final Business Strategy and Policy course to business seniors. This course integrates the various strands of business learning from earlier years' courses. Students analyze wide-ranging business problems and see how organizations address them by focusing on mission, examining the changing environment, developing scenarios of possible futures, and crafting effective plans to compete in those futures.

Along with in-class study of fundamental issues, my courses feature observation of business, shadowing and consulting projects in organizations, and other activities to keep students connected to the world of business.

Since 2017, I have been Business Program Director, leading a great team of faculty who teach our wide range of business courses. I initiated the Arts Administration concentration for business majors and continue to advise students following that path. In 2019, I led the curriculum development for Muhlenberg’s inaugural graduate degree, a Master’s in Organizational Leadership, and I teach two courses in that program.

For several years, I taught "No Song Left Behind," a first-year seminar that used the study of songs as an entrée into college study. Folk, pop, jazz, standards and other genres were used as a foundation for reading history, sociology, economics and more. Students concluded the semester by crafting and hosting a half-hour radio show on WMUH-FM featuring songs they select and introduce to the radio audience.

Research, Scholarship or Creative/Artistic Interests

I am curious about many things, but my scholarship falls into two main areas. One is the economics and management of arts and culture. I co-authored the National Arts Index for Americans for the Arts, reported on arts and culture in communities and the nation, and managed the Local Arts Index database of the vitality of arts and culture in counties in the U.S.  In 2021 I am collaborating with Greg Collins of our Business program on a new methodology for evaluating the vitality of the arts in different regions.

From 2006-2016, I collaborated with Chorus America to create annual Choral Operation Reports on the operations and finance of chorus organizations. In 2017 I did a large-scale study on choral conductors' leadership practices, and in 2019 published a case study of Martin Guitar.

My work has been published in Stanford Social Innovation Review, Journal of Arts Management, Law, & Society; International Journal of Arts Management; Nonprofit Management & Leadership; European Journal of Marketing; Nonprofit Policy Forum; Journal of Higher Education; Journal of Cultural Economics, The CASE Journal, and Brookings Institution Press.

I’m also interested in strategic management in nonprofit organizations.  I examine questions like, What makes them effective in fulfilling their missions? What are the best practices for their Boards of Directors?  How can they manage their resources effectively?  Many Muhlenberg students have helped me in these research projects.

Muhlenberg is my career now, but earlier I was a concert promoter, artist’s manager, festival organizer, fundraiser for a choir, and radio station manager.  I am also a performing songwriter. Before joining the Muhlenberg faculty in 2006, my management consulting practice served organizations in the Lehigh Valley, nationally, and globally. Now, I counsel nonprofits in this area and volunteer as a board member in community nonprofit organizations and on a charitable foundation.

Professional Website 

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