October 21 to 23 I attended the American Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU) Business School Deans meeting. Creighton University was the host, so of course it was fun to return to the campus and see so many people that I used to work with! For example, I saw my first soccer game at Michael G. Morrison, S.J. Stadium, which is one of the best college soccer venues in the nation. [Creighton beat Bradley 1-0 on an early penalty kick, and the Jays were the better team.]
Fr. Morrison was President of Creighton for 18 of my 19 years there. I recall that when I visited Creighton as a job candidate, my schedule included a meeting with Fr. Morrison. Can you imagine -- the university President meeting with some last-minute 25 year old job candidate?? It was April, and the only reason I was there is because they had made an offer to someone earlier in the year and he had accepted and then changed his mind, forcing them to scramble back into the market!
This meeting was different in that it included associate deans and marketing directors. Susan Weihrich also attended the meeting, but Barb Hauke did not (could not find out what the meeting agenda was). Deans from 13 Jesuit business schools were there, and there were an additional six schools represented by an associate dean. So, 19 of the 28 Jesuit universities participated (four Jesuit schools do not have business schools, so would not be expected to attend). Some parts of the meeting included everyone, some broke us up into the three groups.
Much of the meeting was devoted to technology and how higher education is changing. I am a firm believer that going forward there will be a need for much more collaboration between institutions so that we can leverage what we do best. Our Jesuit network, both in the US and around the world, gives us an advantage in forging partnerships with other institutions. The deans talked about ways that our schools might collaborate. For example, if St. Joe's has a Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Marketing MBA (they do), perhaps some of their online specialty courses could be offered to our students. Or, perhaps there is a way to partner across several schools to deliver our Health Leadership EMBA program. Such collaboration would require us to move much deeper into online course delivery than we currently do.
Our group has long wrestled with whether we want to do a joint branding campaign. We have experimented with this, but no one has ever been satisfied with the effort. At this meeting, we finally concluded that we don't have the resources or shared goals necessary to make this successful. Going forward, we will make sure to keep our website, Jesuit Business Schools (http://www.jesuitbusinessschools.net/), up to date, and do some search engine optimization for it, but not much else beyond occasionally sponsoring an AACSB event. We will also work on developing some common language to explain Jesuit business education and develop a logo that we can use for mutual benefit.
This meeting was in the Midwest, so it is time for the group to come to the West Coast! In October, 2013, the deans will meet at Seattle University! Let's pray for a little unseasonably dry October weather!