(2-6-98) -- A $477,000 grant from the General Electric Foundation's GE Fund "Learning Excellence" program has been awarded to the Carroll School of Management for the development of an innovative curriculum plan promoting interdisciplinary approaches to the solutions of corporate business problems.
The three-year grant - the largest GE Fund gift ever received by Boston College - will support the establishment of multiple pilot courses and programs that will bring CSOM faculty members from various disciplines together with professional corporate managers. They will examine new avenues for planning and implementing successful business strategies.
CSOM Dean John Neuhauser expressed gratitude to the foundation and said, "This reflects well on the many faculty who contributed to a very creative proposal and, indeed, on the aspirations of the school as a whole. As one of the first and certainly one of the largest such endeavors, which will unite faculty and managers in a continuing experiment to improve education, we expect great things and we intend these developments to have a lasting impact in the classroom."
The pilot program, which will be offered to CSOM Honors Program students, will include elective courses that will place undergraduates in direct contact with various department heads of major local corporations and give them a first-hand view of how business leaders solve corporate challenges with a multi-disciplinary approach.
"Today, management schools are realizing the trend that business isn't done by function anymore," said Assoc. Prof. Gregory Trompeter (CSOM), who is leading the project. "Businesses have gotten tired of having accountants who know little about marketing or finance people who don't understand what the operations people are doing. We are now seeing corporate professionals working interactively to plan, coordinate and control their activities."
Trompeter said that a second phase of the program could be a guest speaker series that would bring local CEOs and key corporate decision-makers into CSOM classrooms to discuss multi-faceted strategies and solutions. Trompeter said that a number of major national and regional corporations already are being enlisted for partnership roles in the project.
The grant also could be utilized to support interdisciplinary case writing by CSOM faculty members, Trompeter noted.
"Perhaps we would team up a marketing faculty member with someone from operations and someone from finance, for example, to study a particular problem being addressed by one of our corporate partners," he explained. "Then, when that case is brought to the class, we could have a number of faculty members teach it. We could also bring in the firm's own corporate marketing representative, for example, to give the students a practical perspective."
The grant was presented to Neuhauser by James F. Dore '68, senior vice president for financial market products for GE's Employers Reinsurance Corp.
"Just looking at [the proposal] you could see that it was very close to our corporate philosophy of 'boundary-less management,'" Dore said. "As a corporation, we want to serve the customer rather than the task. Even in our professional recruiting, we look for candidates who have diverse experiences in their college backgrounds."
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