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Mihaylo Dean Funds Curricular Innovation in Business

Grants Program Promotes Faculty Creativity and Instructional Development

Jan. 10, 2013

Business students this spring may be surprised to find that the usual lectures are not on the syllabus in some courses. That's because 10 Mihaylo College educators are trying new forms of teaching, thanks to initiative grants awarded in Mihaylo College of Business and Economics.

"Our faculty do a good job in the classroom, but they teach the same courses year after year. Our goal is to encourage them to think of new and hopefully, better, ways to increase student learning and understanding of the course material," said Anil Puri, dean of Mihaylo College of Business and Economics, who is supporting the new initiatives with $5,000 project grants. A college committee selected the 10 grant recipients in December from the more than twenty full-time faculty who applied.

Innovation in instruction can include technology but it wasn't the overall goal, Puri said.

"Our emphasis is on student learning and doing something different from what they have been doing. And we want to measure whether such innovation brings success. If it does, we hope to extend these methods to other faculty," he said. "We're continuing the college's longstanding support for faculty research and extending it to include curriculum development as well."

Proposals include jointly teaching a course with faculty members in Japan, using the format of a "press conference" as a means of students learning how to stand and deliver on a dilemma, and integrating digital media for marketing and promotion.

The inaugural recipients of the grants, and their proposals are:

Nimer Alrushiedat, lecturer in information systems and decision sciences, will use anchored online discussions as part of the Quantitative Business Analysis: Probability and Statistics course. Alrushiedat recently co-presented a paper on the subject at the 18th Americas Conference on Information Systems in Seattle. The paper, "Anchored Asynchronous Online Discussions: Supporting Learning Conceptions," was published in the AMCIS 2012 Proceedings.

Catherine Atwong, associate professor of marketing, and Yuna Kim, assistant professor of marketing, plan to create opportunities for experiential learning in the area of analytics and social media strategies.

John E. Barbuto, associate professor of management, will combine both case analysis and experiential learning "as students are faced with a dilemma and must decide what the best course of action is – and be prepared to defend their position."

Susan Cadwallader, associate professor of marketing, will implement a consumer-centric collaborative student project, geared toward consumers over the age of 50, in her Contemporary Topics in Marketing course. "Student groups will focus on housing, health and wellness, leisure and entertainment, and the financial aspects of retirement as related to one of the largest demographic populations in history: consumers over the age of 50," Cadwallader said. 

Jennifer D. Chandler, assistant professor of management, will implement a semester-long class competition that bridges classroom theory and the real world by pairing student groups with industry executives.

Chiara Gratton-Lavoie, lecturer in economics, will introduce McGraw-Hill's LearnSmart adaptive technology, a new interactive online technology, into Principles of Microeconomics classes. The software system assesses students' initial knowledge and confidence levels, and presents questions and concepts accordingly," Gratton-Lavoie noted. "It provides constant real-time feedback to both the student and the instructor, who is able to obtain detailed progress reports for each student at any time."

Mahamood M. Hassan, professor of accounting, will introduce a research project in an Advanced Cost Accounting class that requires students to integrate the knowledge gained from macroeconomics, statistics and sales forecasting in an attempt to develop core competencies described in the American Institute of CPA's Core Competency Framework.

David Leibsohn, assistant professor of management, will video tape 10-minute team presentations so students can see their specific style and effectiveness during the Seminar in Strategic management course, the capstone strategy seminar.

Dipankar Purkayastha, professor of economics, will develop a special course, Japanese Economy and Society, to be taught jointly by faculty from Mihaylo College of Business and Economics and Kagawa University in Takamatsu, Japan. The course will be a part of CSUF International Programs and Extended Education. It will be offered during the January intersessions each year."

Samuel C. Yang, professor of information systems and decision sciences, intends on implementing a new project component in the Telecommunications and Business Networks course. The project component, he said, "would combine the course topics (i.e., business telecommunication services) and statistical analysis (i.e., sampling, analysis of variance, etc.) integrating formal, field-based statistical analysis with the topics covered in the course."

By: Pamela McLaren, 657-278-4852

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