Office Space: Matt Shatzkin, Assistant Professor of Supply Chain Operations Management
Written by: Emma Simpson '23
The way a person decorates can say a lot about them. In the Office Space series, we go beyond the résumé and get to know York College faculty and staff members through the objects they like to keep close.
Dr. Matt Shatzkin joined York College as an Assistant Professor of Supply Chain Operations Management in 2018. He is a retired U.S. Army Colonel with 28 years of active service and has led logistics support for emergency operations in Iraq, New Orleans, and Haiti. Dr. Shatzkin earned his Ph.D. in Transportation and Logistics from North Dakota State University in 2014 and published the book Understanding the Complexity of Emergency Supply Chains in 2017. When not fighting the “war on knowledge,” Dr. Shatzkin enjoys spending time with his wife, two sons, and two dogs. You can follow his adventures on Instagram @mattshatzkin.
1. Warrior Wall
On the last day of class, Dr. Shatzkin’s students take a class photo. He posts them on his “Warrior Wall” and has been doing this since his second semester at York College. Being able to see the many “Warriors” that he has had the privilege of knowing and working with helps keep him focused on what really matters: their development and success in life.
He calls students “Warriors,” for several reasons. For one, knowledge isn’t free, one must work for it, and therefore, one must fight a “war on knowledge.” Otherwise, knowledge will evade people, leaving them unknowing and unprepared for life’s challenges. Furthermore, “Warriors” is compelling and empowering. Dr. Shatzkin has a saying, “Once a Warrior, always a Warrior,” and states, “If we do it right, once we walk the battlefield of knowledge together, our lives will never be the same.”
Batman appears at least 14 times throughout Dr. Shatzkin’s office, in figures, posters, and signs. He even has a Bat-Signal. He has been a Batman fan since the age of six. Most importantly, Batman appears throughout his classes. Batman possesses no superpowers, he is who he is due to his incredible confidence, determination, and perseverance. These character attributes contribute to his “mad skills” of unprecedented intellect, critical thinking, decision-making, and physical prowess. Dr. Shatzkin says, “Granted, Batman has a lot of resources, but I think he would be the same way if he didn’t. In theory, anyone could be Batman, if they applied themselves the way he does. There is an old saying, ‘Always be yourself unless you can be Batman.’ Here in Warrior land, students aspire to go after the knowledge with the never-ending goal of achieving Batman-like ‘mad skills.’”
3. Ammunition Can
During his first semester of teaching, Dr. Shatzkin began playing music before every class period. It just seemed like the right thing to do. Also back then, he relied heavily on writing on whiteboards. Sometimes he would be in the middle of teaching, only to find markers that didn’t work. So, he got in the habit of carrying markers to class. At first, he used a Nike shoebox that Warriors made fun of, so Dr. Shatzkin dug an old ammunition can out of his Army things and has carried it to class ever since. Along the way, he has decorated it with some fun stickers, all designed toward building the hype of the Warrior Way.
4. Obituary, John Guthrie Ford
Dr. Shatzkin never planned on being an educator, it just kind of happened. But in the back of his mind, he knew that if he did become an educator, he wanted to be like Dr. Ford. When Dr. Shatzkin was a first-year student at Trinity University, he had no idea what he wanted to do, other than commission into the Army after four years of college. He took an Introduction to Psychology class in his first semester taught by Dr. Ford. After two weeks, he went to Dr. Ford and said, “I want to be a Psychology major, and I want you to be my advisor.” In the classroom, he says, “Dr. Ford was captivating and constantly had everyone laughing. As an advisor, he was essentially my parent on the ground. Over the next four years, I went to him with big decisions in my life. Dr. Ford always listened, never judged, and had time for me. Unfortunately, Dr. Ford passed away before I thanked him.” Dr. Shatzkin keeps his obituary in his office to stay focused on how he would like to teach and advise York College Warriors, in the way that Dr. Ford did for him and many others.