Since 1921, Graduate School USA has strived to hire the best instructors. The School’s director, T. Roy Reid, said in 1954 that “Our dedicated faculty is the backbone of this organization, and they always will be.”
On the first day of classes, October 17, 1921, one thing was clear to all those who attended the USDA Graduate School: We had the best and brightest instructors. To this day, our instructors have real-world experience in the areas they teach, and what you learn in the classroom you can take back to the job and apply on the first day. Whether the subject is leadership and supervision, human resources, financial management, or an agriculture sciences course from our early days, we find the right person to stand in front of the class. Here are some of our outstanding instructors, past and the present. They all have one thing in common — a commitment to teaching the federal workforce.
Thoughts from one of our leading instructors, Le’Angela Ingram:
Le'Angela Ingram has been a leadership and management instructor at Graduate School USA for over a decade. She is an expert in Change Management, Staff Training and Development, Career Development, Organization Development, Workforce Diversity, Selection and Management, and Team Dynamics. Her work efforts focus on improved organization effectiveness, staff skills and employee commitment, and increased employee sensitivity to individual and cultural differences.
I believe the unique value proposition the Graduate School offers to its students is the robust cadre of experienced professionals, many of whom have worked in the federal sector at some point in our career, either as a federal employee or a long-term federal contractor. I believe this is important because of the complexities of the federal bureaucracy. Theory is one thing, and application of theory and a complex system is another.
As one of the first instructors of the course Emotional Intelligence, I unequivocally believe the course has had a positive impact. This has been demonstrated by more than five years of ongoing requests for the class and the request for me specifically. As a native Washingtonian I believe I have a level of familiarity with the culture in DC and with the many field offices of federal agencies acquired by more than two decades of work in the federal sector.
My design and deliveries provide real-life application and examples from federal employees over the years. With the stressors of life today and the impact of the pandemic, emotions are running high. Illustrating to students how Emotional Intelligence can assist in managing their stress is appreciated by the students. Another unique factor in the Emotional Intelligence course can be linked to the federal sector.
For a century we have drawn on some of the greatest academic minds in the world. Here are just a few.
Henry C. Taylor
One of the instructors on that first day of class was Henry C. Taylor an early pioneer in the field of agricultural economics. Not long after his arrival in Washington, the wartime prices of farm products collapsed, proving disastrous for a great number of farmers. He joined the U.S. Department of Agriculture for the chance to give a national role to agricultural economics. Among his tasks at the USDA was the expansion of agricultural information services, creating foreign outposts for the USDA to better collect information on world production and consumption, standardizing the grading of exported American crops, and inaugurating the Agricultural Outlook Service. Taylor’s expertise also proved valuable to Graduate School students taking classes in farm economics
Louis H. Bean
Statistician Louis Bean started out as a USDA Graduate School student and went on to become an instructor. He was one of the country's foremost agriculture statisticians during the early twentieth century. Bean was one of the few to warn in 1928 of a coming decline for consumer products that presaged the Wall Street Crash of '29 and the Great Depression. As a well-known statistician, Bean used his knowledge to predict that Harry Truman would win the presidency in 1948.
W. Edwards Deming
One of the most outstanding instructors in the history of the School was W. Edwards Deming. Deming was the Chairman of the Mathematics and Statistics department during the 1930s. Known as “the father of Total Quality Management,” his influence on management and statistical analysis is legendary. Using his theories of total quality management Deming was instrumental in helping the Japanese become a world industrial powerhouse after World War II and into the 1950s and 60s. Deming's theories on management also helped many U.S. corporations, including Ford Motors, in the 1980s. Deming's work at the School helped to emphasize cooperation between management and workers at all levels of private industry and government.
Tead was an authority on management, leadership, and personnel administration. He wrote dozens of articles on management and books such as Instincts in Industry, Human Nature and Management: The Application of Psychology to Executive Leadership and The Climate of Learning: A Constructive Attack on Complacency in Higher Education. In 1935 he wrote The Art of Leadership. He was also the president of the New York Board of Higher Education from 1938 to 1953.
Dr. Tead was very progressive for his time—in the 1940s, he advocated for equal rights for women and urged some homemaking training for young men. He predicted that the “working wife” would become more than just a war-era phenomenon; that women would gain vocational competence as part of their education. Dr. Tead said “that the shift of women in the work-place would help us into another century where in addition to calling her vote her own, the women of tomorrow can call her soul her own.”
One of the lecturers at our seminar Public Administration During the War in 1946, was Congressman Estes Kefauver, (D-TN) who spoke on the relationship between Congress and the Executive Branch during the war.
Congressman Kefauver felt that most of the disputes that occur between the executive and legislative branch are due to a lack of information.
He stated, "The endless succession of requests for investigations of this and that betrays the fundamental lack of information that plagues our Senators and Congressmen." Congressman Kefauver became a U.S. Senator in 1949 and served as Chairman of the Senate Crime investigating organized crime.
In the 1952 presidential election, Kefauver ran for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination and won in an electrifying victory in the New Hampshire primary, defeating President Harry S. Truman, the sitting President of the United States. Truman then withdrew his bid for re-election, but Kefauver did not win the nomination. He was Adlai Stevenson’s running mate in 1956. Kefauver later supported civil rights legislation against opposition from segregationists in Tennessee and also became a champion of consumer protection.
Critical Issues and Decisions
Beginning in 1962, the Graduate School offered a series of televised presentations called Critical Issues and Decisions, a lecture series in which renowned speakers covered important issues facing the world. These lectures were presented on closed-circuit television throughout the Washington area via the television facilities at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
Some of the speakers who took part in the Critical Issues and Decisions forum were:
Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.
Schlesinger served as special assistant and court historian to President Kennedy from 1961 to 1963. He is well-known for his detailed account of the Kennedy Administration, from the transition period to the president's state funeral, A Thousand Days. Schlesinger was later an avid supporter of Robert F. Kennedy’s campaign and later coined the phrase "imperial presidency" during the Nixon administration with his book The Imperial Presidency (1973).
Henry Steele Commanger
A world-renowned American historian who wrote over forty books, Henry Steele Commager won fame as one of the most active and prolific public intellectuals of his time. A strong advocate of opposition to the Vietnam War, he was also a critic of the constitutional agendas of the Johnson, Nixon, and Reagan administration. An ardent defender of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, he was a staunch opponent of McCarthyism in the 40s and 50s and, in his later years, an advocate for civil rights. Commager said of teaching, “What every college must do is hold up before the young the spectacle of greatness.”
Whitney Moore Young Jr.
Young was an American civil rights leader who spent most of his career working to end employment discrimination in the U.S. and leading the National Urban League into its role as a champion for equality and opportunity for the historically disenfranchised. While leading the National Urban League, Young pushed for federal aid to cities. In his two books in the 1960s, To Be Equal and Beyond Racism, he proposed for integration and affirmative action. Young was one of the organizers of the 1963 March on Washington in 1963 and became an important advisor to Presidents Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon. Young once said, “We, as a country have blazed unimagined trails technologically and industrially. We have not yet begun to pioneer in those things that are human and social….I think that social work is uniquely equipped to play a major role in this social and human renaissance of our society, which will, if successful, lead to its survival, and if it is unsuccessful, will lead to its justifiable death.”
Kenneth B. Clark
Kenneth B. Clark and his wife Mamie Phipps Clark were known for their 1940s experiments in which they used dolls to study children's attitudes about race. The Clarks testified as expert witnesses in Briggs v. Elliott in 1952, one of five cases combined into Brown v. Board of Education. The Clarks' work contributed to the ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court in which it determined that de jure racial segregation in public education was unconstitutional. They founded the Northside Center for Child Development in Harlem and the organization Harlem Youth Opportunities Unlimited (HARYOU). Kenneth Clark was also an educator and professor at City College of New York, and first Black president of the American Psychological Association. He also authored the books Dark Ghetto and The Negro and the American Promise.