Web conference showcases new business curriculum

VANCOUVER — Business professors at Washington State University Vancouver have developed an MBA program with curriculum designed around “stakeholder theory” and will host a web conference on the new curriculum Oct. 18.

Stakeholder theory teaches that long-term business success in creating competitive advantage requires recognizing the vital interdependence between businesses and critical stakeholders such as employees, investors, customers, suppliers, and public constituencies.

“Our new curriculum includes the traditional courses of any MBA program, but it is also unique in the United States,” said WSU Vancouver marketing professor Joe Cote, one of the new program’s architects. “Unlike other MBA programs that offer a few social or environmental classes, all of our courses stem from stakeholder theory. We teach an executive-level perspective in making decisions and taking actions that sustain strong relationships with these stakeholders.”

Jerry Goodstein, WSU Vancouver management and operations professor, said that students of the program, many from local industry, seem to find the approach “unique and refreshing.”

For curriculum design guidance, Cote and Goodstein turned to the Aspen Institute, an organization that maintains resources for teaching social issues in business, and which has prompted inclusion of more issues in many of the nation’s top business schools.

“We believe that business leaders need to be trained to take a long-term approach and include social and environmental sustainability as part of core business strategy and practice,” said Judy Samuelson, executive director of the Aspen Institute Business & Society Program. “The new curriculum at WSU [Vancouver] is directly in line with our beliefs and hopes for business education.”

The Web conference on the new curriculum, conducted by WSU Vancouver business faculty, will begin at 11 a.m., Oct. 18. To participate, e-mail corporategovernance@aspeninstitute.org.

Goodstein and others will present an information night on the new MBA program at 6 p.m., Oct. 11, in the WSU Vancouver Student Services building, room 129. Free parking is available in the Orange 1 lot.

Further information on the new WSU Vancouver MBA program is available through the Aspen Institute’s CasePlace Web site, http://www.caseplace.org/references/references_show.htm?doc_id=409777,
and at http://www.vancouver.wsu.edu/programs/bus/mba3.html.

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