Last updated: February 24. 2014 8:59AM - 742 Views
By William Laney wlaney@civitasmedia.com

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BLUFFTON — For years, Bluffton University provided a general master’s in business administration for its students, linking leadership abilities with accounting, manufacturing, marketing and human resources.

University officials decided to expand the program after discussions a couple of years ago with area executives shared they needed more specific MBA training.

Bluffton University responded and now offers five concentrations for the Bluffton MBA, including health care management, accounting and financial management, manufacturing management, sport management and leadership.

“A couple of years ago we talked to a lot of hospital executives. We don’t want our people to get a master’s in health care administration, for example, because we like the broad interdisciplinary and even a different type of core students, but there are some health-care courses we would like you to offer,” said Dr. George Lehman, who is a business professor and the director of the graduate management programs. “A couple of years ago, we began offering a concentration in health care management within our existing MBA program. That has gone well, so we have put together other concentrations with that same broad MBA emphasis for much of the program but has for each student a three-course concentration that they might find themselves.”

Three of the programs started this fall, including the manufacturing, sport and leadership management.

“The exciting thing about the program for me is the students will come in and have the opportunity to still get the opportunity to take advantage of this broad cohort-based program,” Lehman said. “We think that mix will work nicely for people.”

The program keeps the same students together throughout the courses, which is specifically laid out.

The program also is offered over a sophisticated live-video system, which enables students in classrooms in Piqua and Archbold to participate. Bluffton has agreements to lease classroom space at Edison State Community College in Piqua and Northwest State Community College in Archbold.

The sport management concentration prepares the student for leadership roles in a range of sport-related settings including educational institutions, recreation and fitness programs, professional sport organizations and sport oversight organizations.

The health care management concentration prepares the student for leadership roles in hospitals, medical clinics, public health agencies and retirement related organizations.

The accounting and financial management concentration prepares the student for leadership in the functional areas of finance and accounting for both profit and nonprofit organizations. It is primarily for students aspiring to serve as controller or chief financial officer.

The manufacturing management concentration prepares students for positions in operations management, industrial research and design and supply chain management within the manufacturing context.

The leadership concentration is designed for students who are preparing for executive leadership roles in a wide range of organizational contexts.

Specific classes meet once a week for six weeks, and there are typically three classes each semester.

“The world’s problems are too complex to have individual heroes solving all of them. You really need to have a workplace where people work together to solve a problem,” Lehman said. “We try to model that in our classroom activities, and we hope our students model that in their work places.

“The MBA programs have been a significant program for the institution and provides significant leadership for the area.”

University of Findlay

FINDLAY — Faced with a national trend of decreasing enrollments, the University of Findlay initiated two steps: A more concentrated effort to attract international students and to enter the world of online education.

Findlay has witnessed a 45 percent increase in international enrollment to 423 students in the spring of 2014 from 291 in the spring of 2013. The university increased its international recruiting staff and focuses on adding articulation agreements with schools in places such as China, India and Saudi Arabia. It is looking at articulation agreements with Brazil, Vietnam and South Korea.

“The students would study for three years in their native country and study here for one or two years,” marketing and communications director Rebecca Jenkins said. “There is a lot of prestige in coming to the United States, getting immersed in the culture. They like West Central Ohio, rural America, because they live in communities similar to the size of Findlay.”

To help international students, the University of Findlay offers welcome houses, attentive graduate assistants, activities and tutoring services.

“With fewer high school students graduating because of a decline in the birth rate, we have to shift some of our focus on providing educational experiences for non-traditional students,” media relations coordinator Brianna Peterson said. “We still offer post-secondary and dual enrollment options, where the teachers teach the students at their high school.”

While the university is not new to online learning, it made a change to asynchronous programs this year.

“We recognized the need to change how we offered our programs in order to accommodate adult learners who may be working and raising a family, and this allows them access to the lecture online,” Peterson said. “The programs we offer entirely online included business degree, an MBA, a master’s degree in education and a master’s degree in environmental safety and health management.”

Two new buildings should bless the campus by the spring of 2015. The university is in the midst of raising $8 million for a 5,000-seat, open-air stadium to be located at the site of Kremer Field, behind the Koehler Fitness and Recreation complex. The stadium will have a lighted playing surface, approximately 500 chair-back seats, a two-floor press box, five suites, an electronic video scoreboard and locker rooms.

The stadium is to be the home of the lacrosse team, which should be able to open its season in the spring of 2015, and the football Oilers, which plans to open its season on the turf in the fall of 2015. Construction is to begin this fall.

A new College of Business building, estimated to cost $15 million, will be built when the funds are collected. It will include green space and additional parking.

Wright State Lake Campus

CELINA — Things are transpiring faster than expected at Wright State University Lake Campus, Dean Dr. Bonnie Mathias said.

University officials continue to work on changing the mindset of local people who believe the campus to be a two-year technical school. Mathias said the strength of the campus’s programming is in the eight bachelor degrees offered and can be completed at the campus, with between 75 to 80 percent of the students seeking a four-year degree.

“The most exciting news is this fall we are going to be able to offer our ninth bachelor’s degree in business,” Mathias said. “This is something that has been sorely needed and been overwhelmingly requested for a number of years. We are working with the College of Business on the Dayton campus.

“We have enough students already that we could start already with the third year as well as recruiting for the first year, so we will be able to offer classes so students who have started with us and planned on transferring to Dayton or going to other four-year schools can stay here and finish their degrees.”

The focus of the program is still being defined, but she said it will likely start with a general business degree, as well as something in management. There are a lot of requests for accounting.

This spring, Wright State-Lake Campus will offer a food science degree because there are jobs available in the field working for food manufacturers and food processors.

“There is a great need and we went ahead and hired a person with a doctorate degree in food science,” Mathias said. “We spent the fall looking at entire region and developing the courses we need. It will start with the spring semester offering our food science associate of technical studies degree and we feel it has great potential to grow in the future.”

She explained it has underpinnings of agriculture, but it is a science program of studies.

This complements the expansion of another program, she said.

“Our engineering program is going very, very well,” Mathias said. “We had a business plan for getting our program up and sustainable that we would need 25 students each year for four years, and we would have 100 students at the end of four years. We are just in our third year, and we have more than 120 students already.”

The engineering program focuses on mechanical engineering and manufacturing. Seven students will graduate in April, and six of them have jobs lined up already. The seventh student intends to attend graduate school at the main campus in Dayton.

Mathias said the campus recently participated in the Ohio Means Jobs program, where students earn money and work part-time as they take classes.

“I think it is really critical that we pay attention to the placement of our students and what happens to them afterwards and not just on spending a lot of time and effort in recruiting them,” Mathias said. “We are going to be reviewing all of our programs and tracking who is graduating, where are they going and what type of jobs do they have. Going to school is more than just getting a job, it is making you an educated citizen. If they want to go to grad school, we will try to help them find the pathways to that.”

The dean also said plans call for renovating some of the buildings. Future plans call for connecting the engineering and business enterprise building back to the main campus building, but that is only in the planning stages and likely will not happen for three or four years.

She said they are finishing their second housing unit, which will double the housing population, resulting in 64 students living on campus.

Along with growth in student housing, Mathias sees growth in overall student population as more and more local students, including top students, stay to take advantage of the programs available.

This year they also welcomed eight new faculty members and 10 new staff members.

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