Inspiring Professor Jay Finkelman

Alumnus Richard Friedman illustrates Prof. Finkelman’s influential class.

Inspiring Professor Jay Finkelman

Richard Friedman (’72) Remembers

December 2012  |  Class Notes, Online Exclusives

In the early 1970s, Jay Finkelman (right) was my industrial psychology professor. And while I never pursued graduate-level study in that field, I credit him with teaching me lessons I later applied to my Master of Science degree program in the field of educational administration and supervision at Nova University.

Basically, I applied Finkelman’s motivational technique of getting students physically involved in a lesson. My own students were learning remedial high school math.

What lesson was so influential? One day Finkelman brought a polygraph to class. Alternately, students were hooked up to the lie detector and other students asked the student in the hot seat questions. It was a memorable experience, which I recalled when a graduate student.

I applied the concept this way: For the subgroup of the remedial math students, I created electric match games. These students were able to check their answers to math problems by matching two wires—one to the problem and the other to the correct solution. Every correct answer caused a bulb to light up. Simple, right? My master’s thesis was based on comparing the motivational levels and test performances between the experimental group that had the match game board and the control group that did not.

—Richard Friedman (’72) is a retired math teacher living in Florida.

Note: And although Friedman didn’t realize it, Jay Finkelman was not only a professor and dean of students at Baruch but also an alumnus with an MBA earned in 1968. Recently Finkelman was named the vice president of academic affairs and chief academic officer at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology (TCSPP). Prior to joining TCSPP, he was a professor and director at Alliant International University. Click here for more about Finkelman.

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