The 'curriculum connection' is a strategic initiative of the Doermer School of Business that is intended to support the mission of the School to achieve excellence in education and contribution to regional economic development. The Doermer School does so by connecting the learning of the curriculum to the practice of business in Northeast Indiana. The businesses are Northeast Indiana firms that seek our contribution to a study of a problem, an analysis, or an implementation of a current business situation in operations, distribution, marketing, strategy, or innovation. At the undergraduate level, we place projects that address these situations in upper level courses in operations management, marketing management, marketing strategy, policy/capstone, or a related elective course(s). We assign the same to MBA courses. Projects of the 'curriculum connection' that require a greater maturity level are assigned to MBA courses.
The projects are significant grading components of the courses. Generally multiple teams of students investigate the business situation. They spend the semester working with members of the host company executive team in understanding the business situation. In doing so, they engage in critical thinking, analysis, strategic thinking, and problem solving. They are focused on the end-of-the-semester deliverable - the oral and written reports to the management team of the subject company.
At times, the projects have been sufficiently complex to require the subject matter of more than one business course in or outside the Doermer School of Business and spanning more than one semester. The EcoVehicle Project was sufficiently broad in scope to require the simultaneously contributions of our business students and those from the IPFW School of Engineering Technology and Computer Science (ETCS) as well as the School of Visual and Performing Arts (VPA). The subject matter was ‘taking the EcoVehicle to market.’ The product was the vision of the entrepreneur John Dabels who applied fuel cell technology to powering an electric vehicle. Our business students researched the commercial potential for the vehicle in markets the entrepreneur envisioned and those he did not. The students of ETCS performed some engineering studies of the vehicle. The students of VPA produced new designs for new markets identified by our business students.
We appreciate the cooperation of northeast Indiana companies in the learning of the 'curriculum connection.'