Experiential / Reality-based Learning / December 17, 2021

Innovating and Collaborating Globally at Maryland Smith

Innovating and Collaborating Globally at Maryland Smith

Students returned to in-person classrooms this fall, but one Maryland Smith class broke the boundaries of geography by collaborating (virtually) with students from Elisava University School, the Design and Engineering College of Universitat de Vic, Spain.

J. Gerald Suarez, professor of the practice in systems thinking and design, teaches BMGT468Z: Create the Future through Systems Thinking and Design. He brought global business to the classroom through a project to improve patient healthcare experience at Adventist Healthcare.

Suarez’s integration of collaborative online international learning (COIL) into the class allowed students to put theory into practice in an international business setting.

“During our initial research, our collaboration… proved to be integral in gaining diverse insights,” says student Madison Spiotta, who is slated to graduate in 2022. “Working with students from Spain opened the team’s eyes into what healthcare looks like in different countries, further pushing the team to use a global mindset during the brainstorming process. Overall, this class provided us with an amazing opportunity to collaborate with diverse, global perspectives, allowing us to integrate innovative ideas towards our final project.”

After eight days of preparation, teams of UMD and Elisava students presented their ideas to a board of Adventist Healthcare executives, including Jonathan Sachs, MBA ’18, vice president of experience transformation at Adventist. Sachs says he was impressed by several proposed solutions.

Suarez’s partnership with Elisava this semester follows an earlier collaboration in the fall of 2020, when virtual learning such as COIL was especially imperative during the implementation of virtual learning. “The global engagement added a great dimension to the course,” says Suarez, who is also a fellow in Maryland Smith’s Center for Leadership, Innovation and Change.

BMGT468Z: Create the Future through Systems Thinking and Design, is a Fearless Ideas Course, in which students practice innovative thinking to create solutions in a variety of fields and disciplines.

The global content learning of this class is supported by the Title VI CIBE grant awarded to Maryland Smith’s Center for Global Business and administered by the U.S. Department of Education. CGB’s #KeepGlobalSmith Grant, which supports teaching innovations in global learning for the online classroom, was awarded to Suarez in fall 2021 as ongoing support for his virtual student opportunities in global business education.

– By Beth Rendely, graduate assistant, Center for Global Business

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About the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business

The Robert H. Smith School of Business is an internationally recognized leader in management education and research. One of 12 colleges and schools at the University of Maryland, College Park, the Smith School offers undergraduate, full-time and part-time MBA, executive MBA, online MBA, specialty master's, PhD and executive education programs, as well as outreach services to the corporate community. The school offers its degree, custom and certification programs in learning locations in North America and Asia.

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