Dr. Eric Schockman Retires After 40 Years in Higher Education 

The fall 2023 semester marked Dr. Eric Schockman’s final semester at Woodbury University and as a professor in higher education. Dr. Schockman’s contributions to CLAS and Woodbury are extensive, but students will remember him best for his courses steeped in social justice topics and for the many important campus events he spearheaded, including bringing Holocaust survivor Joseph Alexander to campus. We look forward to seeing the projects he will complete in the next phase of his academic career.

In looking back on his time at Woodbury, Dr. Schockman wanted to share some memories and reflections with the CLAS community.

“It has been . . . an exciting and invigorating run for over four decades in higher education (mostly in Southern California). Yes, it is true: I am a dinosaur. Yes, I was there when the original Woodstock happened. Yes, I drove a VW bug and moved all my worldly possessions in it from SF to LA. Yes, I met some amazing brains along the way (as well as many charlatans, who were there for a paycheck and disliked their students).

I would like to focus on the last 10 years at Woodbury University (WU), where I served over the span of four presidents. When I got here, I was given the triple responsibility of (mostly) teaching political science and international relations; continuing my scholarly pursuits; and leading the Center for Leadership (at that time, we offered an undergraduate degree as well as a master’s degree in organizational leadership). My most memorable accomplishment was steering a sizeable grant from the Global Hunger Foundation (which I founded) to help train future student grant-makers how to responsibly give funding away to other nonprofit organizations fighting hunger. Later, that corpus of funds would be repurposed to address the food insecure students on the WU campus, and we set up a temporary food pantry and later gave healthy meals away directly through our food service.

As part of my teaching duties, I was blessed with amazing colleagues who allowed me to teach burning subjects near and dear to my heart, e.g., the life and legacy of Cesar Chavez; the Holocaust; Latin American politics . . . I treasured my students and when we entered essentially the two-year Covid-19 hiatus, I was afraid of the psycho-social educational wound this would leave on this next generation, now slowly coming back to college and re-negotiating how to maneuver in the social realm. From my perspective (and speaking to many of my colleagues) there was a cosmic-educationally-deficient hole that we must collectively plug up in Gen Z. The post-Covid-19 period has not been easy but [addressing this deficit is] essential to the future of democracy.

Thank you to WU, my colleagues, and mostly my current and former students for a blessed ride.

As John Steinbeck wrote:

“Farewell has a sweet sound of reluctance. Good-by is short and final, a word with teeth sharp to bite through the sting that ties past to the future.”


Last Updated February 13, 2024

Translate »