As he approaches his 50th year in teaching, it’s clear that Trustee Professor of Decision Sciences and MIS Benjamin Lev isn’t slowing down.
In the last year, he secured positions as a visiting professor with five universities in China and has given over a dozen guest lectures throughout the country. The subject of these lessons has been his tenure as editor-in-chief of Omega, the International Journal of Management Science. As a top-tier journal with 1,200 new submissions each year, plus 300 more in revisions, Omega is one of the leading publications in management research. The volume of submissions from Chinese scholars and researchers have increased greatly in recent years. “They want to publish here, so the Chinese government wants to bring in editors-in-chief so they will know the ins and outs of publishing successfully,” Lev says.
A member of the Drexel LeBow faculty since 2009, Lev displays with pride the honors and certificates presented to him during these recent visits to China. “This is like the gold medal,” he says, taking an award out of a small red box with university insignia. Many of these accolades have come from the universities where Lev has obtained guest teaching posts: Beijing Jiaotong University, Chengdu University, Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology and Nanjing Audit University.
Lev made his first visit to China in 1985, as a visitor at Tianjin University for one semester. “It was so rural,” he recalls. “It’s a completely different China now.” Since then, he’s traveled there more than 30 times, including regular visits to the University of Hong Kong while at University of Michigan Dearborn, where he taught and served as dean for close to 20 years.
Lev notes that growth in research, spurred by support from the Chinese government, has enabled universities to make these invitations. “In China, when the government decides to go in a certain direction, it is very easy for them,” he says. “They want to place universities in the top 40 worldwide, and they decided to pour money into it. They’ve already raised two universities to this level, and now they’re trying to get two more.”
As part of this late-career flurry of activity, Lev remains prolific in publishing both books and articles. He’s currently making revisions on a forthcoming book, “Data Science and Digital Business,” and one previous book – the conference proceedings from Seventh International Conference on Management Science and Engineering Management, hosted at Drexel – was coauthored with Drexel President John Fry, and had received over 125,000 downloads by the end of 2017. “I’m very proud that President Fry and I worked on a book that has gotten so many downloads.”
Between his travel throughout China, as well as in Israel and throughout Europe, and teaching courses in both the Drexel LeBow MBA and Malvern MBA programs, Lev maintains a very demanding schedule, which he approaches with a remarkable level of energy. “I pour myself into my academic activities,” he says. “I get to travel, and I’m around young people and young minds.”