The 21st annual International Association of Jesuit Business Schools (IAJBS) World Forum took place July 19th to 22nd in Montevideo, Uruguay, with Universidad Católica del Uruguay hosting the event. There were 240 participants representing 49 universities from 23 different nations . The theme of the conference was Leadership and Innovation for a Sustainable World, and the agenda included a number of panel discussions and paper presentations. For example, Marinilka Kimbro, Assistant Professor of Accounting in the Albers School, presented a paper with a Corporate Social Responsibility theme - "Standardized Matching: Collaborators and Commonalities for Global CSR."
IAJBS convenes this meeting every year, and it is good opportunity to meet and interact with Jesuit business school deans from outside of the US. Schools from Spain, Latin America, Korea, the Philippines, and India participate in significant numbers. Every other year, the meeting is held jointly with Colleagues in Jesuit Business Education (CJBE). This was a year for a joint meeting. CJBE is more faculty focused than IAJBS, which is more focused on deans and other administrators.
This year I talked to a number of schools who are interested in student exchange agreements, and a few schools are interested in 3+2 programs built around some of our master's degrees. In 3+2 programs students earn an undergraduate degree and a master's degree in five years rather than the normal six (four years of undergraduate study followed by two years of work on the master's degree). With affordability becoming a bigger and bigger issue for private higher education, we have to find ways to add more value to what we charge for, and programs like this are one way to do it (we also need to do more of this with our own SU students - and you will be seeing more of it!).
I participated in a panel discussion, serving as a commenter for a presentation by Dr. Stephen Fox, Professor of Organizational Learning and Leadership at Queen Mary University of London. He was advocating for more "learning by doing," which is definitely the trend in business education. His views also align with the practices of Ignatian Pedagogy, something close to home to the audience, with its emphasis on Experience and Reflection.
During the business meeting of IAJBS, it was announced that the next meeting will take place outside Nairobi, Kenya in July, 2016. The theme will be emerging economic trends in Africa, with an important part of the meeting devoted to discussion of the Jesuit initiatives in Africa around establishing business programs on the continent. There are nine different initiatives in play, including one along the Rwanda-Burundi boarder that we have discussed contributing to. The 2017 meeting will take place at the University of Namur in Belgium, which is the last remaining Jesuit university in Europe outside of Spain. Namur is heading up the Rwanda-Burundi initiative.
Several IAJBS representatives were at the recent Jesuit university presidents meeting in Australia. They reported with great pride that IAJBS was called out as the most effective Jesuit affinity group operating on a global basis. While we tend to think of ourselves as a shoe-string operation, and focus on all the things we could do but do not do, it is nice to get a more positive perspective from others!
I've served on the IAJBS Board of Directors since 2011, and at the meeting was appointed Vice-president and President-elect for 2015-16, with the expectation that I serve as President in 2016-17. No doubt they were running out of options to get to my name! It does mean I need to make plans to go to Kenya in 2016 and Belgium in 2017! Let's hope IAJBS survives my time in office and makes it to 2018! :}