Eller College revamps undergraduate curriculum
Team project interweaves core classes for 400 business juniors.
TUCSON, Ariz. – November 29, 2005 – The big picture. It’s the missing element at many large undergraduate business programs, with students taking unrelated courses in marketing, management, and finance that are not integrated as they must be in the real world. Not so at Eller. In a model more like that of a small, private college, Eller has revamped its undergraduate curriculum, integrating core courses in a single project — creating comprehensive business plans — that spans the semester.
Undergraduate students at The University of Arizona’s Eller College of Management will showcase the results of the integrated curriculum project at the College’s first Undergraduate Core Project Expo, Friday, Dec. 2, 2005. More than 70 teams will exhibit their business plans and compete for top honors in a variety of categories in the culminating event of a semester-long program.
The idea to integrate the curriculum for Eller College juniors was conceived and initiated as a result of student suggestions to provide more continuity among the core courses of business communication, management and policy, and marketing. The goal of the junior-year initiative is to enable more coursework continuity and more interaction among instructors and students, as well as to provide a team concept comparable to current business models. The program model is intended to emulate the group interaction and course integration offered at many small, private colleges and MBA programs. The challenge is to successfully accomplish this with 400 students.
“The success of the student business plans is the culmination of student initiative, faculty collaboration, and a vision for more real-world experiences at the undergraduate level. Although the Expo is a requirement of the program, student enthusiasm and the resulting project quality suggests that course integration is working,” lauds Pam Perry, associate dean of Eller’s Undergraduate Programs.
The Expo will begin with a morning “trade show” where student teams display their business plans and discuss key elements with judges comprised of a cross-section of College and community leaders. Following the trade show, teams will divide into 12 industry groups to “pitch” their ideas to judges playing the role of investors. To be effective, teams will draw on the knowledge and key skills learned during the semester in core courses. The culminating project duplicates the real-business world experience of launching a new product idea.
Technology ideas lead the way with projects ranging from a TV remote locator to a multifunctional ATM to a digital textbook reader. One student group has proposed a plan for a light rail system called Arizona Sunrail that state planners might want to take a look at.
Accounting major, Stephanie Lewis, comments, “We get to experience the overlap of concepts. I am an accounting major, but am now able to develop and implement marketing strategies and incorporate management styles into my work.”
Sponsors: Wells Fargo Bank is the corporate event sponsor. Arizona Bookstore has donated prizes for “Best in Industry” and “Best in Show.”
The Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona is internationally recognized for pioneering research, innovative curriculum, distinguished faculty, excellence in management information systems, entrepreneurship, and social responsibility. U.S. News & World Report ranks the Eller undergraduate program #11 among public business schools and two of its programs are among the top 20 — Entrepreneurship and MIS. U.S. News & World Report ranks the Eller MBA Full-Time program #48 in the U.S. The College is among the leaders of business schools generating grant funds for research. In addition to a Full-Time MBA program, the Eller College offers the 25th ranked Evening MBA program, the Eller Executive MBA and the Online MBA. The Eller College of Management supports more than 5,800 undergraduate and 750 graduate students on the UA campus in beautiful Tucson, Arizona, and a satellite campus in Phoenix.
Liz Warren-Pederson, Eller College of Management
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