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CIBRE: Center for integrated Business Research and Education

It is incumbent upon a research institution to drive thought leadership dedicated to addressing complex organizational challenges through the development of new methodologies and insights.  At the same time, with rapid changes in the business world driven by globalization and technological advances, it is imperative that universities prepare students to successfully compete in the global marketplace.  The School of Business Administration (SBA), consistent with its theme of Excellence through Integration, has established the Center for Integrated Business Research and Education (CIBRE) to advance the research mission and provide our students the learning experience needed to be successful business leaders.

Mission:  CIBRE’s mission is to bring academic scholars and business leaders together in support of thought leadership to excel in applied research and educational innovations to enhance student learning. Specifically, the center will

·         Actively engage business and institutional partners to help support on-going research and educational innovations, while anticipating future  challenges in both research and education through executive insight, and

·         Support the SBA mission by advancing knowledge and linking theory to practice.  

CIBRE, through engaged business partnerships, also will support many elements of the Oakland University’s 2020 Vision. For example, the center will

·         Use business partners to advance curricular innovations and applied research

o   Enhance Student Capabilities: Support student centric education by enabling students to combine their functional area expertise with their business professional skill breadth (e.g. networking, technology, career development, leadership, experiential learning, and global understanding skills) 

o   Promote Excellence in Research:  Link OUs research-intensive efforts (e.g. academic theories and frameworks) to practice by addressing complex business challenges.

o   Build Global Partnerships: Leverage SBA’s interactions with over 40 international universities in 17 countries, its physical facilities (e.g. virtual collaboration rooms) and partnership activities (e.g. faculty/student exchanges) to enhance student’s global experience and OU’s international research.

·         Help both SBA and OU raise financial resources to support the center’s activities

·         Allow SBA’s extensive set of outreach activities (e.g. conferences, symposia, workshops, etc.) help OU continue to gain a national prominence.

Lastly, by differentiating SBA’s innovative educational programs (e.g. integrated skills), cross-disciplinary programs (e.g. linking business education with legal, health and engineering education) and international programs (e.g. graduate programs), SBA will support OU’s growth regionally, nationally and internationally to meet its 2020 enrollment goals.

 Action Plan

The framework for the center, shown in Figure 1, identifies three components to support the research, education and outreach missions of the school. The discussion below highlights the past activities and pilot projects SBA has undertaken, as these successful initiatives lay the foundation for the center and help advance the mission of the SBA and Oakland University. 

Research
SBA faculty members have worked on applied research projects for many years in partnership with businesses in the Oakland County and Southeast Michigan (e.g. GM, Comerica, Chrysler, Beaumont Hospitals, Compuware, etc).  Last year, SBA began several new initiatives such as:

·         Cross-disciplinary Research Projects: SBA developed cross-disciplinary research proposals that link information technology, human resource management, business strategy and health care management.

·         Institutional Partnerships: SBA plans an alliance with the PLM Institute to explore cross- disciplinary research between engineering and computer science and business. In addition, partnerships with other entities on OU campus are underway. These include: Pawley institute (in lean management), health care management research (in partnership with School of Health Sciences, School of Nursing and the Oakland University William  Beaumont School of Medicine), global business research (in partnership with College of Arts and Sciences), and legal and intellectual property research (with Cooley Law School).

The research component of the center will continue to support the applied and cross-disciplinary research interests in partnership with businesses (through SBA’s Business Research Council) and other universities and institutions (OU, national and international)

Education

SBA has long recognized the value of collaboration between faculty and practitioners in supporting the education of its students. One such collaboration has led to the establishment of a highly successful Applied Technology in Business program (ATiB). Founded in 1997, this program partnered with over 75 companies, who generously donated over $3.5 million, to support an innovative educational model that made students solve business problems using information technology. Encouraged by this success, SBA started several new initiatives such as

·         Scholars Program:  Select students who are academically strong are given opportunities to practice team work, mentoring and community practice (Program started in Fall 2007).  

·         ACHIEVE Program: All business students, starting from their freshman year, are required to engage in a select set of skill-based activities that enhance their career and professional development skills. Program started in Fall 2008.

·         Theme-based and Team-based Projects:  SBA has begun piloting global team, entrepreneurship, and theme-based projects. These pilots, initiated in Fall 2008, are all supported by external sources of funding (e.g. Chrysler, private foundations and donors, and by the OU’s Provost Office).

The education component of the center will continue to further integrate the professional skill-based student education into academic curriculum through greater integration of academic skills delivered through courses with professional skills delivered with the help of external partnerships (educational councils, alumni and other interested donors).   

Outreach

Recognizing the importance of mutual learning through shared knowledge, SBA has used the Gorlin lectures, Issue forums (e.g. a recent forum on Green Business) and Conferences (e.g. ATiB Annual Conference) over the last 10 years to bring academic and practitioner community together. To further enhance the shared learning that can provide insight into research and education, SBA has piloted many new initiatives. These include:

 

·         Business Futures Council:  Bring executives from multiple disciplines (e.g. manufacturing, entrepreneurship, global business education, IS leadership, health care management) to shape future business research and education. The first forum was piloted in 2008 and a total of five are to be completed by 2009.

·         Business Issue Forums:  Several focused forums (e.g. global issues - global cultural sensitivities, economies of Brazil, and global competitiveness of automotive industry) were organized in 2008, and an International speaker series will be piloted in 2008-09.   

·         Business Leadership forums:  Leadership conference to discuss lean management healthcare & information systems is planned for the fall 2008.

·         Institutional Partnerships: SBA partnered with AIS (an international IS organization) to bring a major conference to Detroit in 2011, and is partnering with AIS and a major corporation (CA Inc.) to organize an international case competition in 2008.

 

The business outreach component of the center will help streamline and consolidate our knowledge sharing activities and ensure that the insights gained form such events has maximum impact on both the research and education missions of the center.

 

Additional details on the center structure and specific planned activities will be discussed in the winter quarterly.