The Woodrow Wilson Foundation and the University of Indianapolis are expanding their relationship and their pursuit of better preparing for educators to tackle the business and strategic issues that today’s administrators face in school leadership.
The UIndy School of Education and School of Business are receiving an additional endowment from Woodrow Wilson for the MBA-Education fellowship.
The Woodrow Wilson foundation provides money to academic programs aimed at better preparing future high school teachers who specialize in science, technology, engineering, and math related subjects.
“[The students] spend five weeks during two summers on campus,” said Dean of the College of Business Karl Knapp. “When they are not on campus, throughout the school year, they are working on projects related to the classes that they have been taking, in their district. They are applying what they have learned directly in their districts at the same time [that] they are going to learn about it. ”
The MBA in Education curriculum directly addresses emerging trends in education as the industry is moving from a primarily public school based model to a competitive one.
“The Woodrow Wilson MBA program is designed to help superintendents and school principals to become change agents and transformative agents within the field of education,” said Director of Graduate Business Programs for the School of Business Stephen Tokar. “Many attempts have been made recently to improve the quality of education in the United States, and it’s viewed that training in the MBA curriculum will help guide these managers into improvement in the educational field.”
These funds have been allocated to programs run by UIndy along with two other schools in the state and total nearly $15 million. With this increase in funding, the university will be able to increase capacity in the program from 15 to 35 students.
“It is a $50,000 fellowship that goes to the student,” Knapp said. “The university receives $40,000, and the students get a $10,000 stipend. That $40,000 also includes a laptop, to ensure everyone starts with the same basis of technology, and it includes an international trip. Most of the funding is coming in the form of tuition. We will obviously continue to invest as we do with all of our programs that are growing and healthy . . . It’s all tuition driven. I think there will be a little money that is used to expand some of our technology in the classrooms.”
Both director of graduate programs in teacher’s education and Rachel Smith, coordinator undergrad finance curriculum in the school of business John Somers had meetings with 19 different school districts, informing the administration about the MBA in Education program.
“Their goal was to inform the schools of the program and obtain nominations for teachers that would be able to succeed at the MBA level and also effect real change in their respective districts,” Smith said.
The MBA in Education also is unique in that the classes are co-taught.
“The faculty takes a large part in deciding on what and how it is being taught in the classroom,” Somers said. “In most of the classes being taught in the program, they normally have a professor in business and in education jointly teaching the class. This provides the knowledge of how the business concepts are used in a school setting, along with how it would operate.”
One of the last classes in the program is being taught by professor of international business and marketing Katharine Bohley.
“The graduate students in this 13 month program will take part in a trip that takes them to Geneva, Switzerland in June 2015,” she said. “The students will see firsthand on how the country operates, where the businesses drive the education process and work together to operate efficiently.”
Assistant professor of teacher education Gaoming Zhang said the students have already begun preparing for the trip.
“Meetings have already occurred with the [students] to brief on of the expectations of Geneva, Switzerland,” she said. “Switzerland has some of the top student performances in the world, and there is a lot to learn of the methods that they implement.”
According to Knapp, the School of Business is unique in the sense that students will work with professors with life experience as well as knowledge.
“The University of Indianapolis School of Business stands out compared to other programs,” Knapp said.“Because professors have both doctoral degrees along with significant real world business experience, which marry the theory and practice together.”