Camper (1950-1955): Jr. 5 (Davis), 19 (Hillegas), 25 (Salmon); Sr. 3
(Kresge), Pioneer Unit (Koons, Rice);
Staff (1956-1960): Jr. 5; Senior (x); Pioneer Unit (2 years); Assistant
Liberty High School, Bethlehem, PA: 1958,
Yale: B.S. 1962, Ph.D. 1966.
Married Charleen Frankenfield Alderfer 1962; children: Kate—born
1969; Benjamin—born 1972, both adopted. Each married with children:
Kate and Mike Candela (3 girls); Ben and Sara Alderfer (1 girl and 1
Faculty positions at Cornell (1966-68); Yale (1968-1992); Rutgers (1992-2006),
and consultant to public, private, and not-for-profit sector organizations.
Director of Professional Studies, Yale School of Organization &
Management; Director of the Doctoral Program in Organizational Psychology,
Rutgers Graduate School of Professional Psychology.
Human Needs in Organizational Settings (1972); with L. David Brown,
Learning from Changing (1975); The Practice of Organizational Diagnosis
(2011), plus multiple journal articles and book chapters. Editor, Journal
of Applied Behavioral Science (1990-2003).
Major Developmental Experiences associated with Camp Miller:
1953. The event was facing my fears and learning to
swim. At age nearly 13, I could not swim and was embarrassed by that
fact. During that summer I was at camp for eight weeks and with much
effort managed to pass the Red Cross Intermediate Swimming test. I consider
doing this probably the single most important decision I made as a young
person. The key issue was facing and working through my fears. In the
years following that summer, I became a very good swimmer and to this
day swim regularly for exercise in the late spring, summer, and early
fall. Learning to swim well was an important step. Choosing to wade
into (rather than flee from) difficult emotions was crucial to every
facet of my subsequent life.
1955. The event was the flood. As a 14-year-old, I
witnessed the chaos that enveloped Camp as some staff responded competently
and heroically and others were not up to the challenges. On realizing
what was occurring, I took the hands of two younger campers, walked
through the field between Camp and the road, climbed the hill at the
entrance to Camp, and with others followed the road north to Camp Ministerium,
where I and others lived for a week in the clothes we were wearing on
flood day. During the stay at Ministerium, I was impressed by the generosity
of some and the self-serving actions of others. Living through the range
human behavior evoked by the flood was a major maturing experience for
1960. The episode was making a major error while Assistant
Director. A counselor from the senior area became upset and left his
cabin assignment, while Ernie was away and I was acting director. On
learning what occurred, I became enraged and yelled at the fellow, which
of course did no good. It was a serious mistake, and I was aided in
working through my feelings by John Adams, a good friend, who was office
manager at the time. The pain of realizing the mistake has stayed with
me through life, during which I have had a number of academic administrative
jobs, and throughout parenthood. Both situations regularly posed significant
emotional challenges. Having made the mistake at Camp in the summer
of 1960, I became quite good at dealing with the emotions set off by
crises and managing interpersonal conflict.
I believe that the opportunity to be a camper and staff member at Camp
Miller provided me with significant developmental opportunities during
childhood and adolescence. At 70, I feel extremely fortunate for the
family, friendship, scholarship, and professional events I have lived
through and benefited from. There is no doubt in my mind that events
at Camp, when I was between 9 and 19 years old, shaped in important
ways how I navigated adulthood. To take one example: the behavior and
attitudes of the senior area counselor who left his cabin assignment
had much in common psychologically with that of faculty during the times
of academic-organizational change with which I was actively involved.
What I learned about myself from the 1960 event helped greatly during
subsequent administrative challenges.
Head of Pioneer Unit, AD