Management & Entrepreneurship looks to keep curriculum current

When Baldwin Wallace University created their business graduate program in the late 1970’s, technology was in its early stages of development. Now, in 2019, the business and technology worlds are changing faster than ever. The Management and Entrepreneurship Department is continuing to make sure that they adapt to the changes.

The invention of technology and the recent impact of social media on business has many students moving toward online classes and developing an interest in entrepreneurship on the internet and social media.

Because there are a great number of adult students in the Organizational Leadership major, the Management and Entrepreneurship Department is looking to make a few changes by offering most of the major’s courses online to make it more accessible for students with full-time jobs and/or families.

With the growth in technology happening so rapidly, the department is focusing on preparing students for jobs that have yet to be invented while still teaching the fundamentals of their field.

“We like to make sure that our curriculum stays relevant to the external world,” said Dr. Lori Long, chair of the Management and Entrepreneurship Department. “Our goal is to provide our students with a good foundation of theory and practice in the discipline that they’re studying but also to help prepare them for the relevant job market once they graduate.”

Technology has made it easier to find, apply for, and receive jobs, thus creating a growth in the gig economy.

The gig-style economy, for many, has become the new norm and the department must take that into consideration. This gig workstyle involves being hired for a temporary job, completing it, and then moving onto the next company. The gig movement in business is influenced by the luxury of creating one’s own career. This flexible workstyle is growing with the accessibility the internet provides to entrepreneurs, making it simple to find and create work.

The Management and Entrepreneurship Department is always thinking about the future due to the ever-changing nature of the business and economic world.

Long said the department goes through the standard annual assessment process where professors update their course content and syllabi, but every couple of years they take a closer look at the curriculum to ensure it aligns externally.

This year, in the Human Resource, Health Care Management, and Management Majors, advisory boards are being established to keep the department up to date.

According to Long, the boards will be comprised of a group of professionals from each particular discipline, discussing current events, the outlook of the job market, the courses available, and the relevance of the content, so they know what each major should be more responsive to.

Dr. Mary Pisnar, professor in the School of Business, was involved in the discussions surrounding advisory boards. She says they are critical for improving the department.

“These advisory boards will provide feedback on the nuts and bolts of the curriculum,” said Pisnar.

The advisory boards are led by professionals from different backgrounds, including large companies to small local businesses. Having a group of people with diverse experience in the community ensures the advice that the department is receiving truly reflects all that is happening in the local business world.

Pisnar, along with Long, is a member of The Cleveland Society for Human Resource Management (CSHRM for short). Pisnar said it is important to be involved in human resource management outside of campus to understand firsthand what is happening in the field and the current challenges people are facing.

“We have to report to National SHRM (National Society for Human Resource Management) and they have to review our curriculum to say it is aligned,” said Pisnar.

As members of CSHRM and NSHRM, Pisnar and Long are updated on new changes in the human resource management world that they should consider when discussing their department. However, Long said putting these changes into place is more difficult than it seems.

In the external world, anyone can choose to make a change and implement it at their desired time, said Long. When a department wants to make a big change at BW, it typically takes about a year to implement. This is because BW is a university that intentionally implements changes at the beginning of semesters.

Business is progressing so fast that it could cause departments to fall behind, said Long. It is because of this that Long said, “the challenge of today’s world is preparing students for jobs that are going to be there in the future.”