Monday, April 15, 2013

New Business School Building and Revised Curriculum

From Sunday’s Palm Beach Post, an article on the Lynn University College of Business new building, written by Emily Roach.

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer


As it revises its business curriculum, Lynn University is building a compatible home for the College of Business and Management, one with an open and bright design that reflects the school’s mission of collaboration and innovation.

The 34,000-square-foot, platinum-level LEED certified International Business Center is expected to open next spring. The new curriculum, which Dean Thomas Kruczek said incorporates writing, critical thinking, presentations and seeing the organization as a whole, kicks off with incoming freshmen this fall.

“I think those are some of the core pillars of our College of Business, so we tried to incorporate those into our classes,” Kruczek said. Practical preparation for employment and the core principles “get them ready to be able to get that job when they leave here.”

It’s quickly evident how excited Kruczek is about the $14.5 million building. A poster board of the design sits in the middle of his office, and his window overlooks the mostly empty space where ground work has started.

Accounting for 47 percent of the student body with its 1,000 students — 800 undergraduate and 200 graduate — the business school is an integral part of Lynn.

The new building has gained a lot of interest, and been fully funded by donations. A $3 million challenge grant was met at the groundbreaking last month.

Students will be able to see into, and out of, the new building with its open, multiple-window design. Inside space will be set aside for a Venture lab, where budding entrepreneurs will develop their own businesses with the help of faculty and community advisers, as well as team rooms and a technology classroom.

Again, it all complements the new curriculum.

In addition to the traditional classes like economics and accounting, students are required to take courses that will help them develop a career.

During their freshman year, business students will learn about being an entrepreneur and developing their own brand. Sophomore year features career preparation. Junior year advances to professional career development and juniors and seniors have a required internship.

“We want our students when they come here to have a sense of what the business world is like,” Kruczek said. “So when they get out of here, when they’re ready to leave, it’s not a surprise,”

Groundbreaking last month was a huge affair, with VIPs, beribboned shovels and a flight overhead by the school’s associated Burton D. Morgan School of Aeronautics airplanes.

Kruczek is used to the handshaking, as he works to build relationships with local businesses and business leaders.

“They wanted me to be an outward-facing dean,” Kruczek said.

Business school alum and advisory board member Jeremy Office recently engaged the MBA students in a project for his Delray Beach business, Maclendon Wealth Management. Office said he has worked with universities across the country and had dozens of interns. While he thought young business-minded students could help determine if his clients want him to use social media, he was “leery” of the time commitment and ultimate outcome.

“I was overwhelmed with the quality and thought they had put into the effort and assignment,” he said.

Successful projects between the school and local businesses expose Lynn to more people in the community. And they help the advisory board’s efforts as Office described: “to develop bridges within the community.”

In fact, the new business school will have space for businesses to work at the school.

Office credits Kruczek with pointing the school in this direction and said university President Kevin Ross also is steering the curriculum in an important direction.

“They are doing things in very small, measured steps that are opening up opportunities and paths that have not been available to students in the past,” he said.

Celebrating its 50th anniversary, Lynn has revamped its entire curriculum in recent years. And with the prestige of hosting the final presidential debate last year came the reality of spending hundreds of thousands to upgrade technology, specifically the wireless network. This fall incoming freshman will get an iPad-mini downloaded with course materials.

As a small, private college, Lynn can be responsive to changes in academia and the business climate.

Part of Kruczek’s mission meshes well with the undergraduate Dialogues of Learning, a recent curriculum emphasis that incorporates liberal arts ideals and writing and reading into most classes. Kruczek said employers have stressed that graduates need to be better writers, better presenters and better team members. They need to be able to view their organization as a whole, he said.

“Business schools across the country are going through a transition,” Kruczek said.

The president of the college’s accrediting body, Dennis Gash, agreed. The changes are aimed to supply graduates that have skills employers want.

“We have noticed that over the years that business schools and management schools have been transitioning from more theoretical curricula to more hands-on experiential curricula,” Gash said.

The 229-member International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education just re-accredited the business school last year.

Gash said employers want graduates who can “communicate effectively and work in team, especially cross-functional teams.”

In other words, employers want people who know enough about all functions of the business that they can function in a global business environment, working on teams with people around the world.

Lynn’s international student body makes that even easier, Kruczek said. Recently in class, he heard students talking about wages not just in terms of U.S. conditions, but in the various countries around the world that were represented by the students.

And the new business world is very entrepreneurial. So it helps that Kruczek has overseen entrepreneur centers at other universities as well as being an entrepreneur himself.

Features of the International Business Center

34,000 square feet

11 classrooms

12 collaborative rooms

2 conference room

1 entrepreneur center

2 recycling stations

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