Wisconsin Business School

Culture and Curriculum Change at the Wisconsin School of Business

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The Wisconsin School of Business (WSB) is in the midst of transforming its business school curriculum to integrate innovative student-centered pedagogies that stimulate learning and focus that learning around the development of qualities necessary for thriving in the workplace and contributing to the wider community.

The school is in the process of aligning programs and courses around a new framework of learning outcomes—Knowing, Doing, Being, Inspiring, and Networking (KDBIN).

University of Wisconsin students talkingThe framework stems in part from alumni feedback on what aspects of their education helped them succeed beyond the classroom. While the “knowing,” “doing,” and “being” components have been happening in other business schools, WSB’s emphasis on developing reflective, emotionally intelligent practitioners led to the more innovative “inspiring,” and “networking” outcomes.

To infuse KDBIN throughout the school’s curriculum using evidence-based pedagogies that improve student learning, WSB is partnering with learning specialists in the Wisconsin School of Education as well as education researchers in CIRCLE.

CIRCLE’s Role in WSB’s Curriculum Transformation

In 2015 WSB faculty began a conversation with Mark McDaniel, professor of psychological and brain sciences and co-director of CIRCLE, about their curricular innovations. WSB has since brought in the CIRCLE team to evaluate student learning and skills development related to the KDBIN framework. The CIRCLE research team is working with University of Wisconsin faculty and staff to design pre- and post- course surveys, interviews, and other evaluative instruments to reflect the student learning outcomes of their innovations.

McDaniel shares how the project fits into CIRCLE research:

This project is exciting for CIRCLE researchers for a number of reasons. First, some of the studies in the project will allow us to replicate and extend current experimental work investigating interventions to improve learning and retention in college-level courses.  

And while many of our experimental and quasi-experimental studies at CIRCLE have involved STEM departments, the Wisconsin School of Business project allows us to establish generality of our and others’ findings within a new area of courses and students. 

For example, some studies in the project allow us to expand our range of investigations that have focused on learning of discipline-based content (e.g., chemistry, physics, biology, psychological sciences) to learning of communication, networking skills and other components of emotional intelligence that are essential for success in the business world.

Studies Underway

In addition to the “Personal and Professional Foundations of Business” course study, CIRCLE researchers are beginning to discuss other evaluation studies of WSB innovations with the WSB faculty. Over Skype, we will be discussing with the faculty the different types of innovations they are interested in implementing in their courses and working with them to set up evaluation studies to determine the effects of these innovations.

For more information about our collaboration with the University of Wisconsin – Madison Business School, please contact the CIRCLE project manager Yolanda Alovor (email: yalovor@wustl.edu).