Stephen Senge, a professor emeritus of Western’s College of Business and Economics, passed away in early July 2019, and the college has established an endowment fund in his honor.
Steve retired from the College of Business in 2016 after 24 years of service between 1985-2000 and 2007-2016. In addition to teaching and advising, he served as chair of the Accounting Department from 1990-1996, acting dean of the college from 1998-1999, MBA director from 1993-2000, and most recently as director of Graduate Programs/MBA director from 2013-2016. He taught at Simmons College, now Simmons University, in Boston, Massachusetts from 2000-2007.
While he served in leadership roles for much of his career, Steve was truly dedicated to the craft of teaching. Regularly redeveloping classes to incorporate contemporary themes and current events, designing cases and test questions around individual class conversations, and working thoughtfully to help students connect their academic training with their future careers were all the intangibles that made his connection with students so strong.
From the beginning of his career he excelled in teaching: earning recognition for his teaching style while still in graduate school at Kent State University, receiving Western’s Excellence in Teaching Award in 1988, and being awarded with many Distinguished Professor and Educator of the Year awards from the MBA classes over the years. Aside from the many generations of students who benefited from his dedication to teaching, he was widely regarded as a mentor to faculty and staff throughout the College of Business and Economics, and someone who could always be trusted for advice and guidance. A true servant leader, Steve was known for his ability to listen, distill, and advise, always with a sense of kindness and a firm grasp on the larger picture.
In a recent dinner with friends he was asked how he got into teaching. As usual, he regaled his audience with a well told tale much more elaborate than can be recreated. As an undergraduate student he found himself the only member of a team of four available to prepare and give a presentation. The presentation went well and through the feedback from fellow students he realized he ‘had a knack for explaining things’. To quote a colleague: “Now, that’s an understatement! He had a genius for the revealing anecdote for making complex ideas seem simple”.
In his last few years at Western, and first few of years of retirement, Steve worked on co-authoring a book on the history of North Bennett Street School (NBSS), a school of craft in Boston with his wife, Christine Compston and NBSS former director, Walter MacDonald. The book, Rewarding Work, published by the school in November 2018, documents the development of the school from its beginnings as a settlement house to the present. His significant contributions began with examining the financial reports to help flesh out the history of decision making in the development of the school and educational programs. His role with the book shifted in 2011 after Compston passed away, at which time he took over writing the history of school from the late 1870’s to the late 1950’s to help complete the project.
Steve is survived by his daughter, Dana Senge.
Any gifts in Stephen Senge’s honor can be made to grow an endowment in his name: https://www.vikingfunder.com/HonorSteveSenge