NEW UNDERGRADUATE CURRICULUM IS UNVEILED FOR FIRST-YEAR STUDENTS
| steve sartori|
Professor Clint Tankersley helped revise the undergraduate program.
To better prepare students to prosper in the ever-changing global economy, the School of Management introduced sweeping changes this fall to the undergraduate curriculum. First-year students are the first to experience these changes.
"This is a real exciting program," says marketing professor Clint Tankersley, former associate dean of the school's undergraduate program. "We really believe this program will add value to a student's experience here."
The changes reflect the school's emphasis on four major themes as it enters the 21st centuryentrepreneurial management, globalization, technology management, and leadership. For the first two years there are required skills-based courses that will benefit students throughout their academic careers. These classes stress such skills as computer and information management, organization strategy and leadership, writing, team building, and speech and presentation. "Our students are constantly working on team projects and doing formal presentations of their work," Tankersley says. "We wanted to give them the formal training up front and then reinforce the skills during the next three years."
Students must also complete an internship and a community service project during their four-year program. About 60 percent of current students already participate in internship programs, Tankersley says. The community service requirement was added to encourage students to volunteer their time and talents to help others. "We want students to realize they are part of the larger community and to make contributions to it," Tankersley says.
Another requirement, regardless of major, is a course in entrepreneurship that capitalizes on a $450,000 grant that faculty received two years ago from the General Electric Fund to develop new courses in entrepreneurial management and integrate entrepreneurship into existing courses.
As sophomores, the students will take a newly developed course in global business and two liberal arts courses that reflect an international or diversity theme, such as a foreign language or international relations.
As juniors, they will study corporate finance, marketing, and operations management during the same semester. The curriculum integrates common projects and case studies in all three courses to teach students about the interrelationships among the three areas. "Our new undergraduate program is unique," Tankersley says. "I don't know of any other school that is doing all the things we are."
ALUMNI BRING THEIR EXPERTISE TO THE OFFICE OF CAREER AND ALUMNI SERVICES
The Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs has long maintained an office to help its graduates get started in their careers. And that effort has always included one of the school's most valuable resources: its alumni.
Ann T. Phelps, director of Maxwell's Office of Career and Alumni Services, says many alumni recruit students for their firms, serve on career panels, and give presentations at the school. Phelps hopes to strengthen the alumni network by offering more opportunities to connect with the school. "We provide a great deal of programming and services for the students," she says. "Now we see that alumni can benefit from some of our services."
The office handles career services for about 300 students, primarily from Maxwell's graduate programs in public administration, international relations, and executive education. It helps place graduates in government, nonprofit, private, and international institutions in the United States and abroad.
"I had wanted for many years to work with the dean's office to develop more concrete alumni relations," Phelps says. "As a school we had done very little for alumni, but we are now seeking ways to strengthen this area and offer some services and programs."
Phelps established a special e-mail address so that alumni could easily update their addresses and notify the school of their job changes and accomplishments. Meanwhile, the Washington, D.C., Maxwell alumni associationthe school's only official alumni organizationestablished an alumni listserv that reaches Maxwell graduates around the world. The association, which has about 1,500 active members, has long sponsored an annual career day for students during spring break. "Alumni affiliated with the listserv have agreed to network with and assist current students and each other," Phelps says. "Whenever they get a call or an e-mail from another Maxwell person, they do what we've always done a good job ofhelp each other out. Our alumni are very loyal."
Phelps contacted 2,300 public administration alumni who graduated between 1970 and 1995, asking them to help set up a mentoring program for current students. "I've heard back from many people interested in mentoring in their specific areas of expertise, so we're starting to connect them with students. They're in positions to help, and they believe this is a great way to give something back to the school."
The alumni network isn't just a valuable resource for students and recent graduates, Phelps says. "When alumni are looking for new positions, they have a ready-made network at hand. When they're moving somewhere, they'll often e-mail or call to ask who they should talk to. They continue to check in long after they have left Maxwell."
Phelps and Robert McClure, Maxwell senior associate dean, are meeting with alumni coast to coast to set up workshops and activities with both a professional and social focus. In the New York City area, where close to 1,000 Maxwell graduates live and work, a new formal association similar to the Washington group may emerge.