Small to mid-size business schools, like the Providence College School of Business, certainly have more modest resources than their larger counterparts that can pose challenges to innovation. Yet according to Tricia Bisoux’s article “Thinking Big” in this month’s BizEd magazine, and the testimonial of Dean Sylvia Maxfield, Ph.D., the effective leveraging of these small-school resources can spur innovation.
According to Bisoux, the size of small business schools offers access to close-knit communities that can more easily engage in collaboration and more quickly reach group consensus regarding change. Under the guidance of Maxfield, this has proven to be true for the PCSB.
Shortly after her arrival to the PCSB in 2012, Maxfield implemented the Innovation Fellows Program to crowdsource new teaching ideas from students. The program encourages students to approach professors with innovative ideas to improve their courses, and each year up to five fellows are selected to work with faculty in making initiatives operational in the classroom.
Through the program, faculty have been receptive to revising their teaching materials, incorporating games into their syllabi, and assigning a national marketing case competition as a project. In fact, Maxfield has heeded the advice of one of her own business ethics students, incorporating the Pixar movie “Monsters Inc.” into her course syllabus in order to help students better relate to moral reasoning frameworks.
In the BizEd feature, Maxfield explains how this collaboration has “flipped the coaching model so that our students essentially coach our faculty” and allowed students to take ownership of their learning experiences.
Find Maxfield’s full commentary on innovation at the PCSB, and the advantages size creates for small business schools, here.