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Keep It Real

January 2014

Give real-life situations in courses.
Teach about real business situations.
Have real business people speak to classes.

These are some of the suggestions of improvement we have heard from students in recent semesters. I'll summarize them this way - keep it real. They are right on the money. As a strategic direction for the College of Business, we call it Connect Education and Practice. While we have a ways to go, it is already a reality in some of the St. Ambrose business, leadership, and communication students' experience. It happens in a few ways.

It happens in courses that connect concepts, realistic examples and practice. Our new undergraduate course, Quantitative Reasoning in Business, is a great example. Students learn how to conduct analyses to provide clear insight and solve business problems. They do the analyses using Excel. They also use the program to clearly display their findings in tables and graphs; this helps turn data into decision-making information.

Advanced communication students just completed a Campaigns class, in which they studied the media coverage for a local non-profit, Career Connections of the Quad City Area, and then developed an integrated media campaign. Students in an undergraduate special topics class, Quad Cities Economic Group, will work on economic development issues for Quad Cities First in the spring semester. As detailed in this edition, grad students are immersed in teamwork as they learn about effective group structure and process while serving non-profit organizations in our community.

Undergraduate students have a great opportunity to learn from real organizations in our vibrant Marketing club, as detailed in this newsletter. We also encourage students to pursue internships while here at St. Ambrose. A survey of recent alums of our undergrad programs shows that about one-third had internships while students in our college, in organizations ranging from John Deere to Lee Enterprises to the Quad City Mallards.

As a college that is aimed toward practice, we will continue to find ways to keep it real.

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