Through leadership development, community connections and experiential learning, Purdue North Central’s School of Business continues to impact the business community.
Cynthia Roberts, PhD, interim dean of PNC’s College of Business, said the school is linked to the business world through students, faculty and region projects.
“We don’t work without the business community,” she said. “Our strength is our engagement and being a good neighbor.”
In the classroom, students and faculty bring real-world experience to their roles providing a platform for a higher level of learning.
“Our faculty members come from practical backgrounds before they have pursued additional degrees, which is not the traditional route. They spent years in business prior to academia and are able to convey the practical side while adding cutting edge theory.
“Also, many of our limited-term lecturers are working in the community. By day, they have various positions in areas such as HR, law, operations. They work full-time in their jobs and teach at night bringing in their practical experience. It’s a natural connection to the business world.
“A lot of our students are working too so they bring their experience from the business community right into our classroom and take what they learn in the classroom back to the job. It’s symbiotic.”
Students and businesses both benefit from the experiential side of the learning process. Students have worked on marketing projects and HR manuals for area businesses. They have also participated in VITA, Volunteer Income Tax Assistance. Other courses incorporate service learning, which assists in the non-profit sector.
“We’re providing quality employees this area needs but we can also leverage our expertise here to help individual companies through consulting,” Roberts said. “We’re not in an ivory tower—we really want to help companies get to the next stage of development.”
Roberts said PNC strives to prepare students to become strong leaders.
“We do have formal course work on leadership but our general education component helps with critical thinking: strong ethics, effective communication, teamwork. So regardless of the major they are still getting what they need to be effective leaders.”
PNC also continues to bolster outreach into the community by creating regional connections through project participation. The school has been an instrumental component of the Regional Council of Economic Advisors.
The initiative unites university economists as well as community and business leaders to create a data-based snapshot of the region’s economic state that can be reviewed annually to help plan for the future.
“It’s a really cool collaboration. No one entity has the answer. It’s the shared leadership model: every entity brings something of value and a perspective to take into consideration. You can’t know everything, there is too much out there,” Roberts said. “It’s exciting to see it in action. The process is really unique. Now, we are at, how do we keep the excitement and momentum going?”
NW-ISBDC Regional Director Lorri Feldt said she is looking forward to future developments from the partnership.
“We are seeking to establish a stronger partnership with PNC by working with faculty on class projects and workshops and in the future offering regular business counseling on campus,” Feldt said.
“It’s another opportunity for collaboration as we try to launch more programming to develop entrepreneurs. The SBDC has tons of resources and we share a mission to support entrepreneurs,” Roberts added. “Now we need to work on: How do we leverage connections and resources to make a difference and promote the growth of small businesses?”
PNC offers a Bachelor of Science degree in Business (with specialization in Accounting, Economics, Management or Marketing), a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Leadership, a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Resources, ), and Associate degrees in OLS and Human Resources. Students can also earn certificates in leadership, human resources, and organizational administration.
The college launched its Masters of Business Administration in 2004.
“It’s on Saturdays and specifically made for working adults. We are in the process of revising it and will launch changes in the fall of 2013,” said Cynthia Roberts, PhD, interim dean of PNC’s College of Business.
The changes will provide a uniform preparation for all students, regardless of background, as well as provide the opportunity for exploring an area of interest.