Board hears proposals for two centers of excellence

The board of trustees on Feb. 27 heard a proposal for two centers of excellence uniting longtime areas of strength at BGSU that play important roles in the state’s vitality.

“Developing Effective Businesses and Organizations” and “21st Century Educator Preparation” will be considered for presentation to the University System of Ohio. Introducing the proposed centers were Drs. Janet Hartley, chair of the management department, and Michael Zickar, chair of the psychology department, and Drs. Rosalind Hammond, interim dean of the College of Education and Human Development, and Julia Matuga, associate dean for graduate education and external programs in the college.

Developing Effective Businesses and Organizations
A strong, competitive economy requires the development of effective organizations in the private sector as well as in the nonprofit, health care, social service and educational arenas. Developing talent and fostering innovation have been identified by the state as important factors in making Ohio competitive—and these necessarily involve the human side of organizational performance.

Addressing that need, BGSU has “six programs across three colleges,” Hartley said, that comprise nationally ranked programs in industrial-organizational psychology, in the College of Arts and Sciences; supply chain management and organization development, in the College of Business Administration, and leadership and policy studies, in the education college. Also included are the entrepreneurship minor, the marketing department and its Institute for Service Excellence, and the Dallas-Hamilton Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership in the business college.

On both the undergraduate and graduate levels, they boast eminent and endowed faculty and nationally known researchers in addition to five centers and institutes that partner with the University.

Together, these interdisciplinary programs directly correspond to the guidelines for centers of excellence as set out by the chancellor. “Bringing these together can be a very powerful center,” Hartley said.

“Organizations can’t survive without college graduates who are ready to jump in and start immediately,” Zickar said, noting that in today’s environment, there is no longer the luxury of providing long, on-the-job training for employees. In return, partnerships with businesses and organizations also provide universities with access to data and opportunities for research that in turn help them create yet more new knowledge.

Grouping these six academic areas that focus on organization development into a center will allow them to attain the following goals:

• As a partner for work force development, they can more effectively impact economic development in the state.

• Further, they will help transfer knowledge gained from research to the broader market, helping to improve the efficiency and competitiveness of businesses and organizations. As Zickar said, the center would present BGSU the opportunity to “study locally, impact globally.”

• The interdisciplinary units will provide research and service-learning opportunities to undergraduate and graduate students through applied projects and experiential learning that prepares them to work effectively in a global economy.

• The center can engage in developing talent in undergraduate and graduate students, providing assessment of learning needs and work-related educational experiences to develop future business leaders of the region and nation.

21st Century Educator Preparation
BGSU has for many years been the primary producer of education professionals in the state and among the largest in the region. As such, it contributes greatly to the quality of learning in Ohio’s schools—the foundation of education that all college experience must build on. It also produces specialists in such areas as school counselors, intervention specialists, administrators, speech pathologists and other professionals serving children and parents.

The University is well known for the quality of its educator preparation and has recently received reaccreditation from the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education in both initial and advanced standards. In 2008, six of the Ohio “teacher of the year” awards in various specialties went to BGSU alumni, Hammond said.

However, the University knows, as do all teacher preparation programs, that simply improving students’ academic performance is not enough; the realities of everyday life—from health care to housing to neighborhood and family relationships—impact students’ ability to succeed.

Effectively preparing educators to deal with the students of the future requires that they view teaching and learning in new ways, through a variety of lenses. At BGSU, educator preparation is at its core an interdisciplinary “discipline” and the responsibility of all the University’s colleges, Hammond said.

The College of Education and Human Development works collaboratively with others across campus to prepare teachers with the content mastery and world knowledge as well as the pedagogical skills to be successful professionals.

The primary goal of the proposed center is to meet Ohio’s work force demands by preparing graduates with the knowledge, skills and dispositions necessary to be effective 21st century educators.

The center for 21st century educator preparation will focus on five areas—educators as:
• Researchers, creating new knowledge in the classroom
• Innovators, modeling the promotion of creative thinking
• Global citizens, preparing students to live and work in the changing world
• 21st century learners, able to continue their own education and bring it to their students
• Community leaders and advocates.

“We really want to promote teaching as an art form,” Hammond said.

March 2, 2009