Academic journal article Academy of Educational Leadership Journal

Cross-Level, Cross-Disciplinary, Cross-Cultural Collaborations in Action: A Public Service Educational Initiative Integrating Health, Engineering and Entrepreneurship

Academic journal article Academy of Educational Leadership Journal

Cross-Level, Cross-Disciplinary, Cross-Cultural Collaborations in Action: A Public Service Educational Initiative Integrating Health, Engineering and Entrepreneurship

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

QAccording to a recent report of the AACSB International Task Force on Business Schools and Innovation (2010), a business school's mission should include fostering innovation. One of the models suggests that a way to integrate innovation is to develop cross-disciplinary collaborations both within and outside of the Business school. This paper outlines such collaboration. The program includes students at three levels of education: stage 1 involves high school students, stage 2 involves undergraduate engineering students and the final stage involves MBA students in entrepreneurship. The project focus for all three groups is on helping the community of Calhuitz, Guatamala.

In spring 2009, Global Public Service Academies (GPSA) issued a request for proposals titled Innovative Experiences to Promote Science, Engineering and Math Majors to High School Students Self-Identifying as Being Interested in Health Careers. Faculty from Florida Gulf Coast University's (FGCU) Bioengineering and Nursing programs collaborated to submit a proposal for a study abroad experience for high school students. FGCU engineering faculty were interested in the grant opportunity as a potential resource for finding future student design projects to be used in an upper level undergraduate class, which would incorporate challenges of international engineering design. The faculty members were specifically interested in design projects for a developing country. Since none of the interested engineering faculty had experience with international programs, a nursing faculty member was asked to join the grant team as she had experience taking college students to Guatemala as well as Peace Corps experience in Guatemala. The nursing faculty member specialized in maternal and child care as well as health care delivery in the developing world.

The grant was awarded to FGCU for a four year GPSA summer program. The engineering faculty would deliver an engineering design curriculum for high school students through a course entitled "Problem Solving and Design for Developing Countries". Included in the curriculum is the engineering design process and needs assessment. The nursing faculty would teach the high school students how to conduct health assessments on pregnant women and children. The final grant team consisted of three engineering faculty members and one nursing faculty member. The goal of this paper is to discuss how this project is being implemented in order to demonstrate how different schools, programs and colleges can work together not just to benefit themselves but also to engage in a type of social entrepreneurship, benefiting others throughout the process.

BACKGROUND

The recent AACSB International Task Force report points out that innovation is needed more than ever to reenergize our economy and add value to our society. Utilizing a new conceptual framework for education, they suggest Business Schools can be a vehicle for innovation through new process and product design. New product design must use innovative processes to be successful and sustainable. The recommendation is for Business Schools to integrate innovation into their learning outcomes whenever possible, which will require academics to link with communities. The challenge in management education is to design new curriculum to support the gap between innovation and implementation. The report suggests various models universities can utilize to support innovative thinking in their curriculum. One of these is teaching managers communication, collaboration and ways to build bridges between various fields and industries. In this paper, we present an example of how a project was designed to utilize students at various stages of education (high school, undergraduate and graduate) to develop the skill sets of innovation and implementation among different colleges in one University. The design provides students a valuable learning experience, while seeking to add value to society through learning by doing. …

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