TED-Style Talks at University of Chicago

The Stevanovich Institute on the Formation of Knowledge is introducing itself to the University of Chicago this academic year through TED-style talks and a scholarly journal, a full roster of classes and an inaugural lecture by a Pulitzer Prize-winning author.

“Our main focus right now is building up momentum and creating a community of scholars who are interested in the value of dialogue outside disciplinary guidelines and constraints,” said the institute’s director, Shadi Bartsch-Zimmer, the Helen A. Regenstein Distinguished Service Professor of Classics.

The Stevanovich Institute opened at the University in fall 2015 and became fully operational this October. It unites scholars from different fields to study the process of knowledge formation and transmittal from antiquity to the present day, including looking at how that process shapes modern thinking and scholarship.

“If we really want to explore the process of how bodies of knowledge become authoritative throughout time, we need to come at the question from many different angles—historical, sociological, scientific, economic, cultural and so forth,” Bartsch-Zimmer said. “We emphasize that our research goals have to do with knowledge in context—nothing floats around on its own like a Platonic Idea, not even a Platonic Idea.”

The institute supports the research of UChicago faculty and visiting scholars as well as affiliated doctoral and postdoctoral scholars. It draws faculty from across campus and has brought on board its first postdoctoral researcher.

Later this month, some institute faculty will take part in the University’s Discovery Series, which features faculty engaging in panel discussions or short talks geared to a general audience. Although the series typically explores major scientific advances and research, the institute will present a program that explores broader questions about knowledge, said Macol Stewart Cerda, the institute’s executive director.

The free public event, “Against the Norm: Body, Citizen, Constitution, State,” will be held from 6-8 p.m. Nov. 15 in the Logan Center Performance Hall. Moderator Robert J. Richards, the Morris Fishbein Distinguished Service Professor of the History of Science and Medicine, will engage speakers Bartsch-Zimmer (citizen); Judith Farquhar, the Max Palevsky Professor of Anthropology Emerita and of Social Sciences (body); Tom Ginsburg, the Leo Spitz Professor of International Law, Ludwig and Hilde Wolf Research Scholar, and Professor of Political Science (constitution); and James A. Robinson, University Professor, Harris School of Public Policy (state).

This fall, the institute announced its flagship publication KNOW: A Journal on the Formation of Knowledge, which the University of Chicago Press will publish with the first issue due out in April 2017.

Bartsch-Zimmer, who serves as lead editor, said the twice-yearly journal will examine research on the contextual, historical, political and social determination of knowledge and critique of paradigms, although the inaugural volume will be different. Instead of asking for traditional articles, she said, “We’ve invited some of the greatest names in a wide range of disciplines to talk in a personal voice about their relationship to knowledge formation in their field.”

The institute is offering a full roster of 15 graduate and undergraduate courses, including three team-taught core seminars. Two of them are offered in conjunction with the Franke Institute for the Humanities’ Center for Disciplinary Innovation.

On April 20, 2017 the institute will host its inaugural lecture featuring Jared Diamond, professor of geography at the University of California, Los Angeles and author of Guns, Germs and Steel. Next summer, the institute hopes to move into a newly renovated space, and it is making plans for its inaugural conference on Nov. 16-18, 2017.

Loyola University Chicago MBA students create study abroad course in Croatia

Four ambitious Quinlan MBA students created their own study abroad course using the Ignatian Pedagogy framework—a model for teaching and learning with emphasis on experience, reflection, and action—as a guide for their time abroad.

In June 2016, students Abby Annala, Magi Zlatkova, Emily Schroeder, and Amanda Schaumann and management professor Mike Welch spent 12 days in Croatia. There, they consulted with two major Croatian companies and provided market trend research, industry analysis, and information on the American consumer.

Professor Welch advised the students and worked with them to apply the Ignatian Pedagogy framework to their time in Croatia.

“I really admired how the students took ownership over the course and their learning,” said Welch. “They successfully used the Ignatian Pedagogy framework to maximize their time in Croatia and provide their client with an actionable business plan.”

The students also relied on the international connections and insight of information systems professor Nenad Jukić. A native of Croatia, Jukić introduced the group to one of their clients and helped them navigate Croatian culture and customs.

Gaining insights in Chicago

Classwork began well before the June trip. Months beforehand, the students began working with their first client, Kraš, a Croatian company specializing in chocolate. The students researched the company to determine its market share in Croatia, while also analyzing American market trends from the confectionery industry. The result was a SWOT analysis of potential U.S. distribution and operations.

“Our detailed SWOT analysis showed Kraš how serious we were, and it made them open to scheduling Skype meetings with us and sending additional documents to help us better serve them,” said Annala. Ultimately, the students chose to write a business plan for opening a Kraš retail storefront in Chicago.

For an additional perspective on retail operations in Chicago, the students visited World’s Finest Chocolate and toured its local manufacturing facilities. This was made possible thanks to Anthony Gargiulo (MS ’87), a Quinlan alumnus and vice president of human resources at World’s Finest Chocolate.

Hands-on experience in Croatia

Once in Croatia, the students met with representatives from Kraš and their second client, Stemi.

“During the company visit, we met with several members of the supervisory board of Kraš in the marketing, exports, and manufacturing departments,” said Schroeder. “The meetings were extraordinarily useful for us to gain a deeper understanding of the company and the cultural differences of operating a business in Croatia versus in the U.S.”

The students also visited several Kraš retail stores and toured its facilities, which came with the added perk of eating freshly made chocolate.

Their second client, Stemi, is a start-up company focused on educating women and children about STEM. Stemi requested insights on the American education market and consumer, as they are looking to market a build-your-own hexapod robot to American consumers.

The robot kit teaches STEM in a fun and interactive way, as it challenges the consumer to assemble its various parts. However, the students identified a major challenge for marketing the robot to American consumers: a 10-month wait to receive it.

Providing value to their clients

While in Croatia, the students provided Stemi with research on the U.S. education market. They also advised Stemi to shift its marketing focus from individual consumers to educational institutions, such as schools and libraries. These institutions are more likely to wait up to 10 months to receive the hexapod robot.

Following the trip, the students provided Kraš with an actionable business plan to help the organization bring retail operations to Chicago. The plan relied on knowledge gained pre-trip, their experiences during the trip, and group reflection.

“I’m very proud of what we accomplished in Croatia and our deliverables for Kraš and Stemi,” said Zlatkova. “At times it was challenging for us to balance both full-time school and work, on top of creating a study abroad course from scratch, but in the end it was all worth it!”

Group reflection

An important part of the class—and of Ignatian Pedagogy—is reflection. After each meeting, the students created time for focused group reflection and discussion. This time enabled them to brainstorm ideas and work together to meet the expectations of their clients.

“Each of us on the trip came from a different field of study, which meant we all came away from each meeting with a different perspective,” said Schaumann.  “Having the opportunity to reflect throughout the trip helped me to develop a broader business understanding.”

Sharing the lessons learned

In August 2016, the students presented at the Focus on Teaching and Learning Conference, a Loyola conference on effective teaching and learning practices. They discussed their experiences and how this model can replicated by business students and others interested in international experiential learning.

The students all agree that creating their own study abroad course and spending 12 days in Croatia working with international clients were life-changing experiences for them, both individually and as a group.

“This has been a self-actualizing experience,” said Annala. “Our time in Croatia allowed me and my classmates to directly apply skills from the classroom to solve a real-world business problem for a company.”

Picked up story from http://www.luc.edu/quinlan/stories/archive/mba-students-create-study-abroad-course-in-croatia.shtml.