JU's Davis College of Business Has Groundbreaking Today; the Business School Also Plans to Seek Accreditation, a Move Designed to Boost Its Reputation

By Kormanik, Beth | The Florida Times Union, November 19, 2003 | Go to article overview

JU's Davis College of Business Has Groundbreaking Today; the Business School Also Plans to Seek Accreditation, a Move Designed to Boost Its Reputation


Kormanik, Beth, The Florida Times Union


Byline: BETH KORMANIK, The Times-Union

Ceremonial shoveling of dirt this afternoon will mark the start of more than a new home to the new Davis College of Business at Jacksonville University.

Beyond bricks and mortar, the school will make curriculum changes and shift the school's focus to leadership and "applied, engaged learning," said Dean Bill Rhey. The business school also plans to seek accreditation, a move designed to boost its reputation.

The changes were enabled by a $20 million challenge grant from the Davis family, founders of the Winn-Dixie supermarket chain. JU matched the grant three years ago and has been planning the new school since. The donation was part of a $60 million capital campaign.

At 55,000 square feet, the new building will be the second-largest structure on campus, after Swisher Library. JU estimates it will cost $6 million.

But the Davises also intended to shape what happens inside the building and earmarked $2 million to endow a faculty chair in leadership.

"Leadership is part of what will characterize the college," Rhey said. "It's the element we hope will be the focus of the school."

It will take the form of mentorship programs pairing students and faculty with business leaders, tests to measure students' personalities and role play of mock office situations in which students are graded on decision-making, ethics and team leadership.

"We will train students in how to relate to one another, how to influence one another and how to operate with integrity," Rhey said.

JU also will shore up what Rhey calls "customer relations management/demand chain management." A new center and director will conduct research using data from the marketplace -- grocery scanner information, for example -- and advise companies about how the information affects ordering, shipping and stocking.

The changes will reach to future faculty. Instead of hiring academics who focus on "esoteric research" destined for scholarly journals, JU will recruit faculty who want to do hands-on research in the business community, Rhey said. He envisions university-sponsored training seminars for business managers and projects on workforce development.

The school's success in meeting that vision will be tested when the school seeks accreditation from AACSB International -- The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. …

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