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PLEA department head departs Mills

SchulmanFollowing this Spring 2016 semester, the Mills community will be bidding farewell to longtime government professor Dr. Paul Schulman.

Schulman has been teaching in Mills’ government department since 1977. He currently serves as the head of the political, legal, economic analysis department after designing and forming the major.   He says that his most rewarding experiences at Mills have been in watching his students grow and develop as they go forward with their education.

“The thing that has always amazed, and somewhat perplexed me, is the difference when a student comes back after a year or two, [and] there’s been a huge change,” Schulman said. “They seem so much more self-confident, comfortable in who they are, than even as I remember them as seniors.”

Schulman once asked one of his former students what caused them to grow so much after they graduated from Mills. She explained to him how many students struggle to make it through school, and once they do graduate, it is a validation of all the hard work they have done to get their degree.

“I’m always impressed with the transformation,” Schulman said.  “There are some very impressive students here, and people who are working hard to make it in very difficult circumstances.  It’s been a real thrill for me [to see] over these years.”

Now that he is retiring nearly 40 years after coming to Mills, Schulman plans to spend time working on research projects and continuing his public policy consulting. His area of expertise lies in how organizations manage hazardous things like nuclear power plants or air traffic control, and how to do them safely. Currently he is doing work with the California Public Utilities Commission to develop a safety management system.

Sophomore government major Ashley Gracyk will remember Schulman as a great professor.

“He knows what he’s talking about, and he’s always at least four minutes late to class,” Gracyk said.

Before he goes, Schulman has two pieces of advice for his student: be prepared for surprises and question everything.