Not gone, reinvented — Integrated Business Curriculum receives face-lift after 19 years

University of Idaho business students will no longer fearfully anticipate their junior year as the College of Business and Economics program — Integrated Business Curriculum — is being reinvented into a four-year curriculum for Fall 2013.

Mario Reyes, CBE dean, said the reason for the change is two-fold.

“Over the years we’ve addressed some questions. Freshmen say that they don’t get to see business until their junior year, and so over the years we’ve been trying to think about that,” Reyes said. “The other (reason) is that we’ve taught IBC 1.0 (what we are calling it, since the new curriculum doesn’t have a name yet) since 1994 and businesses and organizations reinvent themselves and it’s time to reinvent the curriculum.”

He said they do not want to get away from the brand IBC has built for itself.

“We don’t want to get away from the award- winning curriculum,” he said. “We know very well that we’ve gained some good reputation as a result of the cross functional approach to teaching and we will keep that perspective in the new curriculum, except now spread over four years. I think that’s the next step in the evolution in our curriculum.”

Because IBC is a one-year program for juniors, Reyes said implementation could go one of two ways.

“We are looking at different scenarios. Starting this fall, that’s one scenario,” he said. “Phasing it this fall, which means we have to offer IBC 1.0 one more time. Faculty will be looking into the design of the curriculum, but one factor to consider here is advising begins Friday, Vandal Friday, so we have to have something to advise students with.”

Interim Associate Dean Jeff Bailey said in either of these scenarios, the new program will start for freshman and sophomores next fall.

“The scenario Mario refers to is what to do with the juniors,” Bailey said. “We’ve been seeking student input all last year and this spring, so a lot of the new programming is based on student input as well as businesses. So we’ve got input from businesses, from students and from faculty. And we know from feedback the teamwork, we have students working in teams, we know is very valued from employers and students, we know the cross discipline approach is very valued, so it’s reinventing and also keeping the really good aspects of it.”

And the continued emphasis on experiential learning, he said.

Reyes said the CBE faculty met Wednesday to discuss which approach they will take moving forward, and while they are not currently looking for student input due to the short timeline, there will be information sessions scheduled in a few weeks for students.

He said this change will not affect Summer IBC, if enough students sign up by the March 31 deadline.

“Right now we have 28 students signed up, we need 36,” he said. “We’re going to have one more push to encourage students to take it. But we’re very encouraged by the 28 signed up.”

He said even though IBC is being redesigned, this does not mean there will not be Summer IBC in the future.

“We’re in business, if there’s demand for a product, we will look into that,” Reyes said.

Bailey said he thinks the new design is better for students overall.

“It will prepare students, in my view, better for the work place than we’ve ever done before,” Bailey said. “It’ll be better for students to fit into their schedules. Because it’s spread out a little more, so that’s another advantage.”

But Reyes said what is comes down to is it’s time to reinvent.

“We’ve been delivering this program for 19 years. Businesses reinvent themselves. This is the next step in the evolution,” he said. “We have done the cross functional in the junior level. It’s time to spread it. The next step in the evolution is reengineering the curriculum.”

Katy Sword can be reached at arg-news@uidaho.edu


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