||The International Assembly of Collegiate Business Education (IACBE), MUM’s accrediting body for business education, held their annual conference for the Midwest region at Maharishi University of Management on September 27th, 2013.
The theme of the conference was sustainable business. Dr. Paul Ventura, director of the Sustainable Business MBA at Marylhurst University in Oregon, arrived early so he could walk around MUM’s campus. He admired the pocket prairie MUM had, with some 300 species of wildflowers and grasses. He said, “Boy, I feel like that prairie. I feel like I am a part of this little pocket of sustainable business in the larger field of business management and MBAs. I feel a little bit isolated. This (sustainable business) is not something we need to be isolated in. So, I’m hoping that what we are able to do today is really grow the prairie, grow the sustainable prairie in a sustainable way.”
Dr. Ventura presented the keynote address: "Assessing Student Learning Outcomes in Sustainable Business." A concern of universities that offer sustainable business MBA programs is that there are no commonly used standards for assessing student learning in sustainable business programs. Ventura went on to say, “I hope that this conference will be the beginning of an ongoing dialogue around assessing the specific competencies that we want our graduates to have around sustainability and sustainable business.”
There were some suggestions by participants during Ventura’s workshop on possible metrics for sustainable business programs. At the end of such programs, students should:
• Be articulate about sustainability
• Be able to analyze technology for feasibility studies
• Understand sustainability measurements and the reporting of life-cycle analysis
• Understand trends in sustainability, such as integrative reporting
• Be able to read the latest research on sustainability in academic journals
• Value environmental, social and economic goals as legitimate purposes of business.
Dennis Heaton, professor at MUM, led off the conference with his talk “Curriculum Resources for Teaching Sustainable Business”. Dr. Heaton provided valuable links and websites for teachers and presented a wholeness statement regarding sustainable trends in business:
“Business school students and faculty are increasingly integrating social and environmental responsibility into the study and practice of business, to move from negative to regenerative impacts for people, planet and profit. Developing the full potential of human consciousness provides the ground for holistic business practice in harmony with the laws of nature.”
Scott Herriott, co-chair of the MUM Business Department, spoke on “How the Business School Can Help Its Institution with the HLC’s New Quality Initiatives.” He presented the various approaches to accreditation and encouraged business schools to offer faculty as trainees for Quality Initiative teams.
David Goodman, professor at MUM, talked about “Online Teaching Best Practices: Continuous Improvement, and Evidence-based Learning.” He discussed disruptive trends in education and MUM’s online programs, their strengths and weaknesses.
Deanna Klein from Minot State University informed everyone about the IACBE’s new journal, the Journal for Excellence in Business Education (JEBE). The journal is dedicated to continuing improvement in advancing the practice of teaching business and to striving for excellence in business. She encouraged conference attendees to ask their faculty to submit articles to this journal.
All conference attendees participated in a roundtable discussion about how to differentiate core business courses across the bachelor’s and master’s degrees. They recognized that subjects such as finance and accounting will be taught in much the same manner for BA and MBA students. However, even introductory courses will look different at the MBA level in subjects where work experience matters, such as organizational behavior and marketing.
The conference ended with attendees touring two leading-edge companies in Fairfield, Cambridge Investment Research and Sky Factory. Todd Herseth, from National American University commented, “IACBE is a remarkable organization, and thanks to Maharishi University of Management, everything went smoothly.”
“MUM was very pleased to host this assembly,” said Dr. Herriott. “We met some great people from around the region, and they enjoyed getting to know us. It’s important for business deans and department chairs to have a chance to talk to each other and share best practices.” Business school deans and department chairs attended the conference from six states: Iowa, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Kansas.