Haskayne creates strategic plan

By Susan Anderson

The Haskayne school of business has created a new strategic plan. Within the next five years, Haskayne plans to be one of the top five business schools, in line with the U of C’s strategic plan to be in the top five research universities by 2016.

“We have three areas of focus: one is ethical decision making, second is entrepreneurship, and third is energy,” said Haskayne associate dean academic, priorities and planning Jaydeep Balakrishnan. “It doesn’t mean that we are giving up on functional areas of business like finance and accounting, but what we are saying is given that we are in Calgary, and the business school is named after Mr. Haskayne who is known for being an ethical business leader, and second given that Calgary is an entrepreneur city and that it’s Canada’s energy capital, that’s what we would like to leverage our business school on.”

Haskayne School of Business Dean Leonard Waverman started the process for the plan when he became dean in January 2008. All the faculty members were consulted, along with staff, students and external business people. The plan is more detailed and long-term than previous plans.

“I think that the strategic plan is a good idea,” said Beverly Osborn, president of the international business association. “Every organization needs to re-evaluate its strategy every once in a while.”

The initial draft of the document was sent to then Commerce Undergraduate Society president Daniela Montgomery in early 2011, who arranged a town hall for students. Students’ Union faculty representative Chris Palmer went around to all the business clubs, and through these actions, Montgomery, Palmer and a third student were added to the committee to draft the document.

“They had a really thorough consultation process. I know I was asked for my opinion on the strategy a number of times,” Osborn said, citing forums, student clubs and her SU rep as ways she was approached. “Personally I was excited about the research component.”

There are many ways Haskayne is implementing the plan, including tighter student-staff-faculty interaction, and enhancing research.

“We’re actually undergoing a BComm review and so we hope that at the end of that process, the BComm will have more emphasis on some of these things, especially leadership and ethical decision-making,” said Balakrishnan. “We are taking steps to improve our reputation in these specific areas because we feel these are the advantages of being a business school in Calgary.”

The BComm review will be completed in the next few months, and will be implemented in fall 2013.

SU faculty rep Chris Palmer voiced concerns that perhaps Haskayne has too many concentrations, “but that’s something that differentiates us from, say, Mount Royal, or even some of the big Canadian schools,” he said.

“They are going to look at the programs and try to streamline them, and make sure they are delivering them in the way students want,” said Palmer.

Haskayne is hoping to get funding from outside the university for more experiential learning in the BComm program such as case analysis, job placement, and field days.

“Any time we can show the student that this exists outside the textbook that’s what the faculty want to do,” said Palmer, adding, “I firmly believe we don’t get enough cases in our programs.” Palmer has competed in case competitions for two years.

Haskayne plans to set up centres for entrepreneurship and leadership. The leadership centre is planned to open next summer. The students asked for more courses involving entrepreneurship and ethical leadership as well.

The strategic plan has four broad keystones noted in the 2011 Report to Community: the Haskayne experience, continuous program improvement, enhanced research, and engagement. The Haskayne experience focuses on ethical leadership, entrepreneurship and energy. Continous program improvement incorporates new teaching tools, learning from prior success in case competitions, and experiential methods to enrich teaching. Enhanced research will help meet president Elizabeth Cannon’s commitment to research and the improvement of ranking results. Engagement creates a culture that encourages participation, inspires innovative contributions, and celebrates achievements.

“We’re tied in well to the Calgary business community,” said Osborn. “Being able to say that we have a focus on energy and entrepreneurship and the environment is a good sales pitch and more than that, it’s true.”

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