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Academia is all in the family

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Like father, like son. That expression isn't always accurate, but it is with Don and Tom McCabe. They're two men with the same professional calling, although they work in different disciplines: Don McCabe teaches at the Rutgers Business School, while his son Tom McCabe teaches history for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

Don McCabe came to Rutgers from the corporate world 21 years ago; Tom McCabe started teaching at Rutgers in 2007, after completing his master's and doctoral degrees in history, one at Rutgers-Newark, the other at Rutgers-New Brunswick. He was invited to teach the popular History of Newark course by Dr. Clement Price -- the professor that Tom calls his "other hero," second only to his father. Since that day, there have been two Dr. McCabes at Rutgers in Newark.

Don and Tom have little in common academically. Don is a world-renowned expert on student cheating and academic integrity who has been invited to lecture on his specialty at universities in locales such as Australia, Egypt, Canada, Mexico, Singapore, Hong Kong, Greece and Dubai.

Tom's expertise spans two diverse subjects: Newark history and the world history of soccer. The excitement over the recent World Cup tournament led to him being featured in sports magazines and a popular YouTube video concerning the history of soccer course he taught at R-N this past summer. And his Newark history expertise led to his appearance in an NBC program, "Who Do You Think You Are," where he escorted actress Brooke Shields through Newark's Ironbound, while he helped her trace her Newark roots.

Working on the same campus has its perks, say father and son. Occasionally they drive in together, since they live near each other in South Orange. Tom gets lots of free lunches whenever he dines with dad who likes to pick up the tab.

The downsides are few - and humorous; on occasion Don has gone online to review the teaching evaluations his students have posted, and found himself reading Tom's reviews, which according to Don, are "notably better than" his own. Phone calls are sometimes misdirected. And because the family resemblance is so strong, Tom has been mistaken for his father, whom he laughingly calls "the ghost of Christmas future."