Teaching Excellence

Tech Lunches

The TEC had originally recommended 10-minute presentations at the school assembly meetings for the spring semester.  Because those agendas were very full, the Dean's Office suggested the lunch approach, which appears to be well received.

The first "Tech Lunch" took place on April 23, 2010. The topic was "All About Blackboard". During the lunch, attendees learned about the results of the Smith instructors survey and Smith students survey, regarding usage and perception of use of technology for teaching and learning. Both surveys indicated a wish on both sides to learn more and use more of Blackboard. The presented topic was therefore a brief overview of some basic blackboard functions like the gradebook.

The Smith School Redefines the MBA Experience with New Business Plan Course

The Smith School’s new Business Plan Course is not just for entrepreneurs – it’s for everyone. BUSI 691 starting in the spring is a capstone course for the full-time MBA program that offers a great example of how the school is progressively pushing boundaries on the traditional MBA experience.

The ability to respond quickly to changing market conditions – an essential skill for global business leaders – also demands high levels of flexibility and creativity. The Business Plan Course is a unique course that cultivates innovative thinking, while integrating the knowledge from the MBA program and principles from core courses into one final project. Designed and taught by Bob Baum, associate professor of entrepreneurship, the course reflects the Smith School’s core values and commitment to innovation as key to business education in the modern world.

“Entrepreneurship involves commercialization of innovation,” said Baum. “The business plan involves students in their own ideas – and forges a valuable link between core classes and projects.”

During the course students will form three-person teams that will create a business plan to commercialize an innovation. The plan can involve creation of independent ventures or ventures within an established business and Baum estimates that about 50 percent will be within an established company. Other essential course components include real-life case studies taken from the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship and an analysis that will test the feasibility of the proposed business plan.

The course will last a total six sessions, featuring a guest speaker and lecture for each session. The line up of guest speakers includes Asher Epstein, managing director of the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship; and Melissa Carrier, director of venture investments and social entrepreneurship. Epstein will share the Dingman Process and ideation, a systematic approach to identifying opportunity and creating new ventures; while Carrier will help students explore ideas in social entrepreneurship and ethics.

Other guest lecturers include:

  • Smith School MBA ‘05 Matt Fleisher, CEO of Hook & Ladder, a successful microbrewery that got its start at the Dingman Center
  • Seth Goldman, CEO and founder of Honest Tea, a Bethesda, Md.-based firm that produces organic beverages
  • Doug Britton, senior business development officer at Lockheed Martin and a current part-time MBA student.

Students will have an opportunity to showcase all they have learned with a real business plan competition on May 8. Students will be charged with delivering 10-minute oral presentations that will lead to eight selected finalists. Smith School faculty and industry practitioners will serve as judges.

“This is one competition where everyone will win,” said Baum. “The knowledge and experience gained in class will bring career-long rewards.”