Gerald Luboff

June 25, 2008


Interviewed by Ann Kelsey

Filmed by Michael O’Hagan

For the County College of Morris, Learning Resource Center

Randolph, New Jersey

County College of Morris 40th Anniversary

Transcribed by Jardee Transcription, Tucson, Arizona

Today is Wednesday, June 25, 2008, and this is an interview with Professor Gerald Luboff.  Professor Luboff is being interviewed at the Media Center, County College of Morris, Randolph, New Jersey.  The interviewer is Ann Kelsey, Associate Director, Learning Resource Center, County College of Morris.  The interview is being filmed by Michael O’Hagan, Producer, Learning Resource Center.  This interview is for the County College of Morris’ 40th Anniversary Oral History Project.  Professor Luboff is one of County College of Morris’ founding faculty.



Kelsey:   When and where were you born and raised?

Luboff:  I was born in the Bronx, New York, September 1940, and raised in New York City.

Kelsey:   And where did you go to college?

Luboff:  Went to college at Hunter College.  It’s now called Lehman College.  But I went to college then, part of the city university system.  Did my master’s work at Seton Hall University.  Started my Ph.D. at Loyola, and did some graduate work two summers at Selwyn College, Cambridge, in England.

Kelsey:   And when did you graduate?

Luboff:  From undergraduate school?

Kelsey:   Yes.

Luboff:  Undergraduate school, let’s see, 1962.

Kelsey:   And when did you get your Ph.D.?

Luboff:  I didn’t finish my Ph.D.  After I left Loyola—I had a teaching fellowship at Loyola University for one year, and for numerous reasons, one of them being living on a teaching fellowship, I couldn’t afford to do that anymore.  So I got a job teaching full time, actually, for three years, at Chicago City College, at one of the branches.

Kelsey:   What year was that?

Luboff:  That was in 1965, I think.  Right, ’64-’65.  I was there for three years.  The last semester there at that time is when I found out about the opening of County College of Morris—the possible opening—and applied.

Kelsey:   What subjects were your degrees in?

Luboff:  In English.

Kelsey:   Why did you decide to teach?

Luboff:  Actually, I hadn’t planned to teach; I planned to go into editing.  The teaching fellowship at Loyola involved teaching two sections of Comp 1.  I was twenty-three; I had never been in the classroom before.  I was not prepared for the classroom.  I was told as part of my

teaching fellowship I had to teach two sections of Comp 1.  Given books for the course, I walked in the classroom, and ten minutes after that, I knew that’s where I wanted to be—editing was out.

Kelsey:   How did you find out about County College of Morris?

Luboff:  One of my friends was doing his Ph.D. studies in chemistry back east, in New Jersey in fact, and knew how much I wanted to get back east, because I really was a New Yorker, born and bred.  Still consider myself a New Yorker, born and bred.  He saw an ad in the paper.  It was a small ad, cut it out—actually tore it out—it wasn’t even neatly trimmed—about this job at County College.  So I sent away for an application.  Hadn’t heard anything for a while.  I telephoned.  Application finally came.  Filled out the application.  I hadn’t heard anything, so I called up and said, “I’ll be back east for Christmas, can I arrange an interview?”  Everything was arranged, and that was it.

Kelsey:   So describe what the interview was like.

Luboff:  Well, it was quite interesting.  I didn’t even think I was going to make the interview.  At that point, being a New Yorker I had no driver’s license, didn’t need a car, had not even a permit.  So I had to take two subways from the Bronx to the tip of Manhattan, to get the Staten Island Ferry, in a raging snowstorm.  Took the ferry across to Staten Island.  One of my friends who lived in Staten Island, drove me to East Hanover for the interview.  Dean Gilsenen was the one who interviewed me at the time.  It was an interesting interview, because I was a bit nervous, but he put me at ease, because after five minutes of asking me questions, he spent the rest of the time asking me what I wanted to know about the college, and what I would like to do for the college as a founding member, if I got hired.  So I felt very comfortable, and two weeks later I had a contract in the mail, which was quite nice, and a very, very pleasant surprise.

Kelsey:   What drew you to a county college?  They were a new phenomenon in most parts of the country.

Luboff:  Well, yeah.  If I recall correctly, at the same time, if I’d stayed in Chicago, I would have been—if I’m not mistaken—assistant professor, instead of instructor, the following year.  I would have had tenure as well.  Coming here meant I gave that up.  But as I said, I wanted to come back east, and the big draw, I think, was the fact that I’d be on the ground floor of the English department, which was nice, because….  Not that I knew that I would have a say in the founding of the English department, but in the back of my mind, it was a nice possibility at least to think about—plus I’d be back east, at a college, new people, and that was a big draw to me.

Kelsey:   How old were you when you started working at CCM?

Luboff CCMTwenty-seven.

Kelsey:   What was the physical campus like at that time?

Luboff:  (laughs) Boy, that was interesting!  If I recall correctly, there was only Henderson Hall, and that wasn’t totally completed yet.  In fact, we had postponed opening the college for two weeks, because it had not been completed.  But when we did complete it….  Well, it was sort of completed, Henderson Hall.  We were in classrooms with doors still being worked on, windows being adjusted, and a flood in the president’s office.  When the chains were pulled, I understand, in one of the bio labs or chemistry labs, to see if the piping was correct, water plunged into the president’s office.  So it was sort of an interesting combination.  Ground had been broken for the library, the student center, and maybe for the “A” Building.  So it was lots of mud, skeleton buildings, and as far as Henderson Hall went, everything was there.  You had your cafeteria, your classrooms, your offices, your library, your supply cabinets—everything was in this one building.  And with 600 students and 35 faculty, everybody was sort of there and got to know everybody very, very well.  So it was a very pleasant experience, actually.

Kelsey:   What were the parking lots like?

Luboff:  I don’t remember parking lots, to tell you the truth.  There must have been one, but that I don’t remember.  What I do remember about parking was that when I came to County College, I still didn’t have a driver’s license, and no car.  And I was living, at the time, the first couple of weeks, in Kenvil New Jersey.  After that, when I met Hank Founds of the bio department, who wanted to get out of his house, I was looking for a roommate, we got a place in Morristown.  I did apply for a driver’s license and went to buy a car.  My first car was delivered on November 11, my driver’s license test was on December 2.  So that I was dependent upon a car, somebody else giving me a lift.  The first couple of weeks when I didn’t know anybody, I literally was hitchhiking to school from Kenvil.  In fact, one day—it was embarrassing—I was on the road with an attaché case near Kenvil, on Route 10, hitchhiking, and then I heard a honking in the distance about 200 feet down the road.  I ran up, there were two young guys in the car, and I said, “Are you going past County College?”  And they said, “You might as well get in, you’re our professor.”  That was a bit embarrassing.  However, they had a car and I didn’t.  But I did eventually get lifts from faculty until I got my car and then the test was on December 2.

Kelsey:   What kind of a car did you drive?

Luboff:  It was a Rambler American—a white, Rambler American, my first car, which cost a little over $2,000 at the time.  One very pleasant problem of being close with students and faculty—and I think being young at the time, too, close to the students’ age—was that everybody got to know everybody very well.  I was the moderator of the literary magazine at the time.  Hank Founds was the moderator of the newspaper.  When it was found out that I’d just gotten my driver’s license—was getting it—this made the front page of the newspaper, with a black border.  That went around the school like wildfire, of course, and I paid the piper for that bit of news.  But it was a very pleasant, funny experience.

Kelsey:   What was the cafeteria like?

Luboff:  It was small, I remember that.  I don’t remember, to tell you the truth, whether there was any hot food there, or it was all machines.  I remember vending machines there.  There probably was something to get sandwiches or some hot foods.  I just don’t recall, to tell you the truth.  But it existed, because everything was in one building.

Kelsey:   What were the rules regarding smoking on campus and in the classrooms?

Luboff:  I don’t remember rules, I don’t remember seeing anybody smoking in the classroom or in the hallways.  This is not to say they didn’t do it.  I wasn’t a smoker, so it didn’t affect me directly.  But I don’t remember anything in the classroom.  I don’t remember anybody eating in the classroom or smoking in the classroom, or anything along those lines.

Kelsey:   What was the atmosphere like on campus, during that first semester?  There had been a lot of really jolting events in the previous months, with Bobby Kennedy and….

Luboff:  Yeah.  That was an interesting time.  I talk to my students about it today, when the situation arises where that is necessary to talk about or give as an example.  The country was torn apart with Vietnam.  There were very few people, at least among the faculty, and my friends in particular, who didn’t have an opinion about Vietnam.  You were either for it or against it—for America’s involvement, or against America’s involvement.  Demonstrations existed, but I don’t remember a demonstration on campus.  I remember one of the faculty members in the English department—I’m not going to mention a name—at the time said to his classes, because the president had given permission for a certain time in classes, students can miss class during the daytime to have a meeting on campus about Vietnam.  It was a beautiful fall day—I do remember that—and none of his students wanted to go to it.  They just didn’t feel they wanted to do it.  It seemed almost apathetic, which was very surprising, because the student body at that time—at least I remember talking to students—there were a number of students who did have opinions.  But to see a large number not really care at the time was a little disconcerting, a little disappointing.

Kelsey:   Why do you think that was?

Luboff:  I don’t know, I’m no sociologist, to tell you the truth.  There were certainly demonstrations in the bigger cities.  I find it very strange, as many people do, that there aren’t as many demonstrations today about Iraq, to tell you the truth—either pro or con.  Certainly the world was in turmoil over Vietnam—maybe because it was a small community, maybe because it was a conservative community.  Again, I can’t pass judgment on that, or even come up with a viable answer, because I just don’t know.

Kelsey:   What was the world like for you in 1968?  What concerned you?

Luboff Vietnam certainly did.  Getting settled at a job, a job I loved.  I mean, even today I can’t even imagine myself doing anything else but teaching.  I did retire last year.  Most people said, “Oh, you’re gonna love retirement!”  I absolutely hated it.  I don’t love it now, I don’t hate it now.  I’m not comfortable with it.  I miss the classroom desperately.  In fact, I came in the fall, I would come by simply to hang around with my colleagues, my friends in the English department, and it was obviously showing that I missed the classroom.  And one day I walked into the English department, and my chairperson saw me at the other end of the department hall, and motioned to me and said, “Jerry, I’ve got you down for two classes in the spring”—without even asking me!  And I don’t think I was ever happier, to tell you the truth.  And when I came back in the spring, it was absolutely wonderful.  I loved being back in the classroom.

                        And so coming in on the ground floor on the English department, and not realizing I was setting it up, consciously realizing this was what I was doing, helping to set up the department, it was a wonderful experience:  instituting new courses, determining how courses were to be taught, choosing textbooks, looking through many textbooks, and actually have a say, which is what I didn’t have in Chicago.  Then again, what was I? twenty-four, twenty-five, coming into a college there, that had already been in existence.  I was pretty free in the department, in the classroom, so to speak—relatively free—but here I was sort of big man on campus, basically, with the five original faculty in the English department.   So it was an exciting time.  It was exciting to meet new people, it was exciting to have a new social life with faculty, with students, because as I said, many of us were close to the age of the students—not that we dated them or anything like that—but they would drop in at our apartment, and it was nice seeing that, and having that kind of a rapport.  So on the whole, yeah, it was a very exciting time, academically speaking.

Kelsey:   Was the student body and the faculty-staff diverse?  Were there as many women as men, for example?  Different races, ethnic groups?

Luboff:  Boy, I’d have to think about that, but my gut response is yes, there were.  We had females in the English department, we had males in the English department.  We had Jewish people, we had Christians.  I don’t know what other religions we had.  What other races we had, that I’m not quite certain of.  I don’t want to say yea or nay to the fact that it was that diverse.  But I don’t remember seeing or hearing about any prejudices from administration, from faculty, or from student at the time, to tell you the truth.  It seemed to be a very communal atmosphere, a collegial atmosphere.

Kelsey:   Did you encounter any veterans?

Luboff:  Oh, yeah.  Yeah, there were quite a few veterans on campus.  In fact, there was a veterans’ organization that had been formed—I can’t tell you what month or year—but yeah, there was a veterans’ organization on campus—not that I had any direct involvement.  I mean, I never had a discussion saying, “Gee, what do you think about Vietnam?”  No, that I didn’t.

Kelsey:   How were they treated?

Luboff:  From what I understand, and what I could see, I never heard any complaints.  So again, as I said, I never had any direct involvement, so I couldn’t pass judgment on that.  Overtly I didn’t hear anything negative.

Kelsey:   What was social life like for faculty, and for those working at the college, at that time?

Luboff:  It was pretty good.  I mean, as I said, it was a new body of friends for me, because I was leaving Chicago after four years.  And we were all new on campus.  Now, some had taught before, others were new at teaching, but because we lived in a closed community, we socialized a lot together—we often did, whether we were married or single at the time.  We had dinners at each other’s homes, parties, get-togethers, and multi-divisional, multi-department parties.  It wasn’t limited to the English department getting together, or the soc department getting together.  As I said, students would drop in periodically, too, at our apartments—not on a daily basis, by any stretch of the imagination.  So it was a very lively and social atmosphere—very pleasant, very, very pleasant.

Kelsey:   Was there a local hot spot or spots?

Luboff:  You know, I remember periodically going to….  Gosh, what’s the name?  With Hank Founds we went to something Brown’s in Morristown.  I can’t think of the full name, but we’d go there periodically.  Especially if you were single you went there.  Hank and I periodically went to New York to Your Father’s MoustacheWent to McSorley’s in New York.  In fact, it was amazing:  one day we were at McSorley’s in the wintertime, in New YorkHank and I had gone.  It was wintertime and the potbelly stove was going, because it was very cold outside, it was very crowded.  And before long, a number of students from County College came in.  Whether they were of legal age or not at the time in New York—I don’t know if it was eighteen at the time in New York to drink—but we all had a table together, and that was quite an evening.  It was a lot of fun.

                        So yeah, there were places we went to in New York and in Morristown, people’s homes.  So it was a very nice time, very pleasant, very social time.  Maybe part of it involving students, because we were younger, as I said.  Part of it was because we were all new, and in one building.  Even when the “A” Building was opened the following year, we were still very close faculty—very close.  And then of course it grew.  And then things changed.

Kelsey:   How did you dress to go to work in 1968?

Luboff:  Oh, it was still trousers and shirts; sweaters in the wintertime or the fall; and sometimes a tie.  But that’s the way I used to dress.  Very rarely did I wear a jacket, but sometimes a jacket too.  Personally, I like getting dressed up for class—not that I do it now.  I don’t wear a tie to class usually.  But I do wear a sweater, trousers, shirt, that sort of thing.  Students also were more formally dressed.  Very few seemed to be in jeans—they wore trousers, khakis basically, sweaters, shirts.  I don’t want to say it was the preppie look, but it was more preppie than dress today, certainly.

Kelsey:   What about the women faculty, the women students?  Do you remember, did they wear pants?

Luboff:  I don’t remember, to tell you the truth.  I just don’t remember.  My initial reaction is they didn’t, because it wasn’t the style, but I don’t recall.

Kelsey:   Describe what Route 10 looked like at that time.

Luboff:  Oh boy! a lot different than it does today.  I was coming from Morristown.  Basically I’d get off Ridgedale Avenue onto 10, and the 8½ miles or so to the college.  There were farms on both sides, for the most part.  There was a big cornfield, I remember, on one side; a dairy farm on the other.  And woods where there weren’t farms.  There were no shopping centers, no industry, no hotels, none of that existed—it was country, definitely.

Kelsey:   What about the Center Grove Road corner?

Luboff:  I don’t recall that, to tell you the truth, what that was like.  There certainly wasn’t a CVS [drugstore] there, or a bank, or a shopping plaza—not at the time.  I just don’t recall what else was there.  But those places were not there.

Kelsey:   And what about the apartments?

Luboff:  Where we lived?

Kelsey:   No, the apartments that are off Center Grove Road now.  Were they there in 1968, any of them?

Luboff:  The Hamiltonian, I don’t know about ’68.  Hank and I roomed together for three years before he got married.  We lived in Morristown for two of those three years, and then we lived in the Hamiltonian Apartments the third year.  So they must have existed before the third year.  They probably were there.  And there was that little shopping plaza across the road, because I remember there was a travel agency that I used at the time, at that little shopping plaza across Route 10—so that did exist.

Kelsey:   Where the A&P is now?

Luboff:  Yeah.

Kelsey:   What were the students like?

Luboff:  Friendly, social, sociable.  They were, for the most part, very good students, very good workers.  I remember very honestly the grades.  And I know my reputation as a teacher.  I’ll kid around with students, I’ll bend over backward for them, but boy, they have to do the work—and that’s my reputation today, it was then.  And I gave a lot more “A’s” and “B’s” then, than I do now.  If I recall correctly from my colleagues in other departments too, there were very few “D’s” and “F’s” in those early years.  A lot more “A’s” and “B’s” and “C’s.”  Today there seems to be….  It’s interesting, because I’ve discussed this with a number of faculty:  there seem to be more “A’s” and “B’s” coming around today, a number of “D’s” and “F’s,” and very few “C’s” in between.  It seems to be sort of a cosine curve, rather than a sine curve that we had then.  But they were very good students, very good students.

Kelsey:   Do you think that the draft had anything to do with students applying themselves?

Luboff:  I don’t know.  I think over the years where I’ve seen—and I can’t pinpoint the times or the years—I think that there’s been a lot of government pressure, perhaps federal government to state government, to lower standards, to bring everybody else to a common denominator, whereas in the past you really had to work.  I’m not saying the draft didn’t have something to do with it.  I think those students were better prepared, better prepared for a college education.

Kelsey:   Describe a typical day in the classroom.

Luboff:  I don’t think it’s much changed—at least in my classrooms.  When I had my student reviews as an adjunct for the first time this past semester—I guess it was spring semester—there’s a question about what they liked about me, and the course—I guess about me— what they disliked.  They disliked the research paper, but that’s happened for years.  They don’t like to work—that’s a requirement of the college.  But they seemed to get through with it.  What they liked about me—and this was from quite a few comments, if they put it in a few words—was my sense of humor.  I do kid around a lot with the students.  I do make English—poetry, short stories, drama—relatable to them, put it on a common denominator level, but raise that common denominator level so they have a critical understanding of the work.  And I’ll kid around, as long as they do the work in the course.  I did that at the beginning, I do that now.  I have not changed my sense of direction in the classroom.

Kelsey:   Is the interaction with the students in the classroom pretty much the same?  Were there differences between then and now?

Luboff:  I’m guessing to a certain extent, but I think it’s an intellectual guess:  I think in the past, at the beginning, those first ten years let’s say, we had a lot more participation in the classroom, less use of Cliff’s Notes, more reading of the primary sources.  I’m not saying I have anything against Cliff’s Notes, as long as they read the primary sources—in fact, I recommend it, if they read the primary sources, if that helps them.  I get less participation now—not one or two students—I get quite a few students participating, and because I explain that participation doesn’t mean necessarily having the right answers.  You can have the wrong answers.  It just doesn’t mean raising your hand saying, “Can we leave today earlier?”  That’s participation, no.  Being wrong is part of the classroom experience.  I explain that to them—there’s nothing wrong in being wrong.  So I do get participation.  I wish I had 100% participation, but that’s a dream world.  I didn’t have it forty years ago.  But I had more then than I do now, but I would say a significant number still participate—without begging.

Kelsey:   Describe what was considered cutting edge classroom technology in 1968.

Luboff:  Boy, “cutting edge classroom technology.”  I think cutting edge classroom technology involved bringing something outside the classroom into the classroom, in a reverse way.  I had my student go to the theater, and I would go with them as well.  And we did that a lot.  We went to the theater in New York.  And even though, very honestly, most of the students lived 45 minutes to an hour from New YorkCity, most of them had not been to New York City before.  If they had gone, it was to a hockey game, basketball game, and for a beer at Blarney Stone Tavern, and that was what they knew about New York.  I literally had one student say to me—and I’m not joking about this—“Professor Luboff, you go to New York a lot, don’t you?”  And I said, “Yes, I do.”  He said, “What’s there to do in New York?”  And he wasn’t being snide about it either.  New York was not part of their experience.  And so going to the theater and watching their eyes turn into silver dollar sizes, when they’d see people on the street who they did not see in Morris County—their clothing, their dress, their mannerisms—and seeing the live theater, other than a high school production in a Morris County high school, was something new to them.  And theater, of course, was viable.  It was less expensive, much less expensive than it is today.  When I tell them that the top price of a ticket at the Met now is over $200, they can’t believe it.  Prices at the theater in New York City, even if you have a two-fer, still $55-$65.  That’s a lot of money—it’s a lot of money for me!  But we would go to New York, and then we would talk about it in the classroomSo bringing that experience to the classroom.  If I would teach American lit, for example, which is what my area was, and we’d talk about American literature in the early 19th century, talk about the Hudson River school of art, because I would bring in artwork, and tell them what was going on in music or art history at the time.  We would go to the museum, too. We would do that.  I would not give them permission to cut other classes—they would have to get permission on their own, and take the responsibility—but we’d meet on my prep day in New York City.  We’d go to the museum with another faculty member and her classes too—whoever wanted to do it.  We wouldn’t have 100% of the students, but a large number did that.

                        On my prep day to do research, I gave them a guided tour of the New York Public Library.  We would meet and then go for lunch in New York City.  And that was an experience, because I remember one time in particular they all wanted to go for beer and hamburgers after I gave them this personal guided tour of the New York Public Library in research.  I took them to my favorite Indian restaurant, in an Indian section of New York in the East Village.  They had no idea what the food was.  They didn’t want to go.  I ordered everything.  There were eleven of us.  I ordered everything.  They did not have to wash those plates afterward.  They loved it.  And that was an experience they had never had before in their lives—because they’d not been to New York City.  And when they asked me periodically what should they do in New York, where should they go—they’re going to a basketball game, what else could they do?—I said, “Follow your nose.  You’re not going to get yourself into trouble.  Just follow your nose.”  And I gave them ideas, but pretty much, “Go shopping at Bonwit Tellers.  If you’re of legal age, go for a beer at the Blarney Stone.  Do something.  Just go to the library!  Spend a couple of hours in the library if you have to, if you’ve got research to do.”  So bringing that part of an experience—museums, theater, restaurants—into the classroom, that to me was cutting edge, because they didn’t do that in Chicago.

                        Technology, I don’t even remember what we had.  We had record players.  I remember playing records in the classroom, music of a period:  1920s, for example, we did Hemingway or Fitzgerald, that sort of thing.  Did we have cameras?  Did we have CDs?  No, we didn’t have that.  We didn’t even have tapes.  So that didn’t exist.  Purple ink mimeograph machines.  I think we were past that, but not far past that, at that point.

Kelsey:   It’s an interesting parallel that you draw when you mentioned earlier about the students seemed somewhat apathetic about the Vietnam War, and….

Luboff:  That was one experience.  I don’t want to judge other classes or my students.  I’m repeating what happened with one other teacher in his class.

Kelsey:   But they also seemed to have not a lot of knowledge about what was going on, even in New York, because you really introduced them to that, it was an experience they had never had.

Luboff:  Right.  It was an insular community.  More open, I think, and more responsive perhaps, the way I saw it, than it was later on.  And I think the pendulum has begun to swing the last couple of years, to tell you the truth, when I was a full-time faculty in the last few years—or adjunct.  I think the students are becoming more responsive to the world around them.  I think they have to, because of the economy, for one thing.  I think that’s made them more responsive, perhaps.  I think because of the political scene, without the draft, the political scene has made them more responsive—at least I’m hoping.

Kelsey:   What do you remember most about that first year?

Luboff:  Being back east, having New York at my fingertips.  Being back in a classroom where I was able to have a say in what went on, in the books I used, the papers I gave, the assignments I made.  And very honestly, in my 40 years here—39 full-time, 1 year adjunct—I’ve had three chairpeople.  And every one of those chairpeople was good as far as I was concerned, in that as long as we did the work, we were masters of our own classroom.  So for 40 years, I had my own business, so to speak.  I was visited in the classroom, I was evaluated by faculty, by administration, but I did the work.  And as long as I did the work, there were no complaints.  And that was a wonderful experience.  That first year, setting it up, was exciting.  It was exciting being, as I said before, with new people, faculty and students.  It was exciting being close to New York and taking my students to New York.  Well, not taking them—they went to New York, I gave them driving directions to a restaurant, and some of us met in a restaurant.  Going to museums with them.  Yeah, I had that at my fingertips, and that was exciting.

Kelsey:   How have CCM and its students changed since 1968?

Luboff:  Method of dress, for one thing, certainly.  But that’s minor.  After those first fifteen years, I think we had a problem academically.  I think that students came to us, in many cases, not as prepared as they could have been.  I’m not blaming the high schools, I’m not blaming the middle schools.  Maybe the students felt they needed to work [i.e., to earn money] more, because they did work.  Many of the students do work now, and try to carry a full-time [class] load.  We found that the students academically were not as productive, let’s put it that way.  Yet there were good students, and there were students who were not so great.  As I said in the last few years—maybe it’s in my classrooms, but I have a feeling, talking with my colleagues, I think students are improving.  I think academically—maybe I’m wrong—but I think academically I think they’re improving because they realize that this is a global economy now.  The economy of the United States is not great, jobs are important, they need college degrees, the college degrees are important.  And I think a whole lot of factors are coming into play here, and so they’ve become more serious in the classroom than they were, let’s say, in a prior period.  That’s my own judgment—I can’t speak for other instructors.

Kelsey:   And how about the college itself, how has it changed?

Luboff:  Bigger, for one thing.  Communication within my department is still very good.  Communication that I have with other departments is very good.  Over the years, with various presidents—and I don’t know if it’s because the first-year faculty had a special relationship with the administration—but we always felt—now I accidentally said “we”—but I have a feeling it’s true—certainly I always felt very comfortable with whoever was president or vice-president or dean, for the most part.  Felt I could walk into the office and speak my mind.  And there was a response to that thought and that conversation.  I still feel it, when I speak to President Yaw, I speak to anybody who had been here before, although many of them are gone now.  There was that comfort level.  That, to me, always existed.  So I don’t think that’s changed for me.  With newer faculty, there may be a different thing—you’d have to ask newer faculty, people who’ve not had that kind of relationship.

                        I think the size of the college—and that’s just the physical element there—makes it impossible to have the closeness that once existed.  I mean, when you’re all in one building, it’s easy to walk into the president’s office or vice-president’s office and say, “Hi!” and have lunch together, or a cup of coffee or a cup of tea.  It’s not easy when you’re in “B” or “C” Building, fifteen minutes between class, to walk down to the president’s office.  Although the reception is the same.  It’s just physically impossible.  But it’s like that on bigger campuses too, I would imagine.

Kelsey:   Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Luboff:  I miss the place.  I’m glad I was back in the spring.  In the fall I can’t be back teaching, even adjunct work, but I’ve found out there’s a tutorial program, and I’ll probably do that for a few weeks.  And I’ve already told the secretary of the department I’ll be back in spring to teach.  It’s part of my life.  And though I live 51 miles away, and friends have suggested—even people here have suggested—“Why don’t you teach locally at a college?”—it’s not home.  This is home.

Kelsey:   Well, thank you very much.

Luboff:  You’re quite welcome.  Thank you!





Administration, 9, 18, 20

Cafeteria, 4, 6

Cambridge University, 1

Chicago City College, 2, 3

Classroom, 2, 6, 8, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19

Demonstrations, 7

Development, 12

Diversity, 9

Draft, 13, 14, 18

Dress, 11, 19

Faculty, 1, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 13, 16, 18, 19, 20

Founds, Hank, 5, 6, 10, 11, 12

Gilsenen, Dean, 3

Grades, 13

Henderson Hall, 4

Hunter College, 1

Kennedy, Bobby, 6

Kenvil, New Jersey, 5

Lehman College, 1

Literary magazine, 6

Loyola University, 1, 2

McSorley’s, 10

Morristown, New Jersey, 5, 10, 11, 12

New York City, 1, 2, 10, 11, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19

Public Library, 16, 17

Newspaper, 6

Parking, 5

Seton Hall University, 1

Smoking, 6

Social life, 9, 10, 11

Students, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19

Teaching, 2, 8, 10, 21

Technology, 15, 17

Transportation, 3, 5

Veterans, 9

Vietnam, 7, 8, 9, 17


County College of Morris opened its doors in September of 1968. Join us in celebrating 40 years of connecting learning and life. Read about THE EVENTS that shaped the times, remember THE CULTURE, and join the founding CCM students, staff, and faculty as they share with us THE MEMORIES of those early days.