Offering Feedback and Inspiring Change
Students, faculty, and College of Business leadership work together to further the College’s strategic vision to prepare graduates for a global business environment.
The Dean’s Leadership Council (DLC) acts as an integral part of this collaborative effort to inform decision-making processes and discuss challenges that the College faces. The DLC is composed of 12 student ambassadors who represent many disciplines in the College of Business.
“I thought joining the DLC would provide a great opportunity to give back to the College that has invested so much in me,” says Maggie Schaller ’21, a marketing major and DLC ambassador. “Our goal is to establish a good line of communication between students and Dean Erhardt.”
In the fall semester, the DLC met virtually to discuss various topics that are important to the College’s guiding principles. Their two largest points of focus were making online learning more engaging and advancing diversity and inclusion initiatives.
“Our conversations surrounding these topics were an open dialogue between the DLC and Dean Erhardt,” says Jack Meyer ’22, a finance major and philosophy minor. “For online engagement, we discussed ways to simulate the characteristics of an in-person education in a virtual environment. We love Valpo because of the small class sizes, engagement with our peers, and faculty members who build relationships with us. We wanted to find out how to encourage those factors in a remote capacity.”
The DLC brainstormed action steps to increase engagement while classes were delivered remotely, ranging from break-out sessions to an increase in live video conferences. The College of Business also sought to keep students engaged over the extended winter recess by offering virtual badges in business basics that students could earn.
While they addressed an immediate need with online engagement, the Dean’s Leadership Council also discussed long-term efforts to increase diversity and inclusion within the College.
“The conversation on diversity stemmed from bias incidents affecting our community,” Maggie says. “Many business students were made aware of these incidents from faculty members in the College, and we wondered if we could make these intentional conversations part of the curriculum. We discussed adding content and classes designed around diversity and inclusion that would help prepare students for future work environments. I then presented our discussion notes to a faculty and staff meeting, so they could continue this conversation at a higher level.”
DLC ambassadors are encouraged to interact more with programs and events offered by the College of Business. In the fall, ambassadors were given the opportunity to sit in on interviews for new faculty members.
“The experience allowed me to better understand the interview process,” Jack says. “We asked the candidate questions and they asked us about our time in the College. I realized that every job should have this two-sided exchange and reciprocity.”
Ambassadors were also asked to help with the admission process and served on information panels to discuss the College with prospective students.
“When we first met with Dean Erhardt, he told us that the College of Business is Valpo’s best kept secret,” Maggie says. “We’ve talked a lot about overall recruitment strategies and how we can implement the Valpo story into the College of Business’ admission process. By communicating with prospective students, we can make sure the College is as personal and inviting as the entire University community.”
Although the Dean’s Leadership Council was recently established, its efforts to increase communication and best serve students in the College of Business are already evident.