About Lerner College

College Strategic Path to Prominence Contributions Report

The Lerner College of Business and Economics
Strategic Path to Prominence Contributions

One of President Harker’s top priorities was to assess and develop some guiding principles that describe the University’s strategic priorities. In conjunction with these principles, entitled “The Path to Prominence,” the Lerner College prepared this report to complement and support the goals of the institution while enriching the programs and objectives within the College. The report below is a combination of the principles of the University and College priorities and enumerates how the leadership and expertise of the faculty and staff along with academic enhancement strategies will lend themselves to the attainment of the stated goals.

UD Guiding Principles: What We Value
(UD’s Strategic Priorities)

In discussions across the University community, we identified five guiding principles that represent our commitments to the world:

  • Delaware First – Our first commitment is to be the flagship of higher education for the State of Delaware – ensuring that every Delawarean has access to a top-quality education and applying our strengths to benefit the greater Delaware community.
  • Diversity – We will foster a robust educational environment in which all people are welcome and feel welcome – one that supports critical thinking, free inquiry, and respect for diverse views and values.
  • Partnership – We will create innovative partnerships for economic and community development, building knowledge and promoting ideas that serve the critical needs of the state, the nation, and the world.
  • Engagement – We will engage students, faculty, staff, and alumni in the most compelling social, cultural, artistic, and scientific challenges of our age – taking our place among the world’s leading universities.
  • Impact – Our job is not done until our ideas, our expertise, and our students are given the opportunity to make a significant difference in the world. To succeed, we must assure that the University’s innovation and accomplishments are publicly known throughout Delaware, academia, across the nation, and the world.

UD’s Strategic Milestones: How We Will Excel

Six strategic milestones define the aspirations and key initiatives that will propel us (UD) on the Path to Prominence:

I: A Diverse and Stimulating Undergraduate Academic Environment

  • Attract and Support Students from Delaware and Diverse Backgrounds
  • Enhance Curriculum Flexibility, Intellectual Exploration, and Discovery Learning
  • Create a Stimulating First-Year Experience
  • Recruit and Develop Highly Talented Undergraduates

B&E Response to UD’s First Strategic Milestone:

A major strength of the Lerner College of Business and Economics is the undergraduate program which is ranked among the best in the country. The Lerner College has the highest student application per faculty than any college in the University and has experienced record numbers of entering freshman and transfer students during the last three years. This allows the college to be highly selective and provides increasing opportunities to enhance the diversity of the student body. The Lerner College will also ensure that commitments to Delaware First and to Diversity will provide opportunity to a diverse student population and to Delawareans.

Toward this end the Lerner College will:

  • Evaluate and enhance its efforts to provide support and opportunities for students from diverse backgrounds and ensure that every student admitted into the Lerner College has the support necessary to be successful in their programs.
  • Expand offerings of internships and other discovery learning activities through enhanced corporate and community partnerships so that every student has opportunities for experiential learning outside of the classroom. This will include improved career counseling and job search support and enhanced engagement with executive mentors and alumni.
  • Develop flexible, high quality, academically rigorous, and intellectually stimulating academic programs to facilitate student engagement in learning and discovery of their talents and interests. Create flexible program structures to allow students to pursue multiple degrees, majors and minors, within the Lerner College and across colleges, and encourage high achieving students to create their own rigorous course of study through the Dean’s Scholars Program.

Specific Action Steps:

  • The Lerner College Undergraduate Advising and Academic Services Office will work with faculty and staff to ensure that all students, including those from diverse backgrounds, are provided with the appropriate advising, mentoring, and other academic support.
  • The Lerner College will partner with the Career Services Center to house a career services coordinator in the college dedicated to supporting B&E students in job placements, internships, discovery learning opportunities and engagement with corporate partners and alumni.
  • The Lerner College academic departments will examine existing curricula, propose new programs and engage faculty across academic units within B&E and academic units outside the Lerner College to enhance the flexibility, high quality, academically rigorous and intellectually stimulating curricula and further student learning.
  • Identify and encourage high-ability students to participate in the Honors Program, Dean’s Scholar Program and Executive Mentors Scholar Program.

II: A Premier Research and Graduate University

  • Develop Faculty Leadership in Key Intellectual Areas
  • Lead High-Profile Research Initiatives
  • Build an Excellent Research Infrastructure
  • Increase the Profile and Growth of Graduate Studies
  • Provide Full Support for Graduate Students

B&E Response to UD’s Second Strategic Milestone:
The hallmark of a top business school is high quality and high impact scholarship. Such scholarship requires hiring, retaining and supporting a diverse faculty capable of producing the best quality scholarship. A major support for scholarship in many top business colleges is research-focused doctoral and post-doctoral programs that can provide intellectual stimulation and high quality research assistants to support high impact scholarship. This will enhance and build upon the success of the Economics doctoral program in supporting high-impact scholarship.

Toward this end the Lerner College will:

  • Improve current levels of support for graduate programs and research, including financial, technical and staff support (e.g., staff for technical facilitation of research and for application and administration of external contracts and grants.)
  • Explore a college-wide Ph.D. program in Business with specializations or concentrations coming from participating departments. Review and identify current graduate programs for enhanced support for greater national and international prominence.
  • Develop and enhance the research expertise of college, department, and centers (e.g., WCCG, CEEE, HRIM-HART) to further elevate their national and international stature.
  • Participate in interdisciplinary research efforts in support of high profile research initiatives (DBI, Law, Health, Energy, Environment) at the University level.

Specific Action Steps:

  • Form a faculty committee to study and design a college-wide Ph.D. program in Business.
  • Consider strategic hires of new and diverse faculty, particularly in specific doctoral training program areas to attract highly qualified doctoral candidates and to support the research expertise of college/department centers and high profile research initiatives at the University level.
  • Increase the number of distinguished and named professorships in the college including the establishment of named term professorships and faculty research fellows.
  • Consider assignment of staff positions to support technical, financial and administrative requirements in support of all college graduate programs, research, contracts and grants.

III: Excellence in Professional Education

  • Establish the University of Delaware Law Institute
  • Create the University Health Initiative
  • Launch the Educational Leadership Initiative
  • Strengthen Education in Business and Corporate Governance
  • Achieve Excellence in Non-Degree Continuing Education

B&E Response to UD’s Third Strategic Milestone:
The Lerner College of Business and Economics seeks to be the preferred provider of business related professional education to the state, region, nation and the world.

Toward this end the Lerner College will:

  • Plan for a state-of-the-art facility for professional and executive education, improve faculty work environment, and offer advanced technology-based learning classrooms for students.
  • Establish annual Weinberg Center conferences and seminars in corporate governance and continue the highly acclaimed Directors’ College.
  • Establish the Venture Development Center as an entrepreneurial hub on campus; Organize University-wide entrepreneurial forum and business plan competition.
  • Expand role for Small Business Development Center and Center for Economic Education and Entrepreneurship in promoting growth of entrepreneurial endeavors and economic development in the state and region.
  • Evaluate professional graduate programs (e.g., MBA, MS in ACCT, IS&TM, HRIM, Finance, Economics, OEDC) for relevance to current professional and societal needs. Develop a long-range plan to elevate professional graduate programs into national and international prominence.
  • Explore offerings of professional degree and non-degree programs with other national and international institutions/organizations through strategic partnerships (e.g., use of the Exelon Trading Center, offering an International Financial Reporting Standards program).
  • Focus college summer grant program to support high profile University research initiatives.

Specific Action Steps:

  • Initiate the planning process for the construction of a new B&E building (as part of University-wide facilities plan) to accommodate increasing enrollment and to provide top-notch facilities for professional and executive education programs.
  • Continue active support to the Weinberg Center, Venture Development Center, Small Business Development Center and Center for Economic Education and Entrepreneurship as vehicles for outreach and engagement.
  • Lerner College faculty will examine existing professional graduate programs to focus on thematic areas of excellence where the college can be competitive and achieve global/national brand reputation.
  • Offer enhanced professional and executive certification programs and coordinate certificate programs with degree opportunities.
  • Appoint “Professional Practice Faculty or Distinguished Scholars in Residence” whose roles may include outreach, research and instruction particularly in professional non-degree executive programs.
  • Collaborate with the Division of Continuing Studies in offering professional and executive education programs.

IV: The Initiative for the Planet

  • Lead Path-Breaking Environmental Research
  • Become “The Green University”
  • Develop and Demonstrate Alternative Energy Technologies; Institute for Alternative Energy
  • Integrate Environmental Programs within the Curriculum

B&E Response to UD’s Fourth Strategic Milestone:
Business and industry is becoming increasingly aware of their impact on the environment and the necessity of developing sustainable products and processes. The Lerner College of Business and Economics will be a thought leader in business sustainability through its research, educational, and outreach activities.

Toward this end the Lerner College will:

  • Consider integrating business sustainability within the curriculum including the offering of environmental business and economic courses.
  • Support the HRIM department’s efforts to accelerate initiatives to conduct research and teaching in sustainability using the Courtyard by Marriott Hotel and Vita Nova Restaurant to test the very latest green technologies in real-world settings.
  • Stimulate and support University-wide interdisciplinary research and instruction in sustainability issues.

Specific Action Steps:

  • Examine the feasibility of offering business sustainability/environmental courses and programs and integrating these courses in the curriculum.
  • Focus Lerner College summer grant program to support University-wide interdisciplinary research and instruction dealing with business sustainability and the environment.
  • Explore possibility of constructing the new college building as a “green” facility.

V: The Global Initiative

  • Establish the Institute for Global Studies
  • Educate Engaged Global Citizens
  • Extend Our Geographic Reach
  • Develop Strategic and Active Global Partnerships

B&E Response to UD’s Fifth Strategic Milestone:
Business is global. Lerner College research, instruction and outreach must address business and economic issues from a global perspective. Knowledge must be disseminated to an international audience to have an impact on global business and policy. Lerner College educational programs must prepare students to function in a global business environment.

Toward this end the Lerner College will:

  • Be an active participant in the Institute for Global Studies by increasing study abroad opportunities for both undergraduate and graduate students.
  • Support interdisciplinary faculty research and teaching on global topics including the appointment of faculty with expertise in this area.
  • Develop executive education programs and short course certificates with a global focus.
  • Identify specific opportunities for global partnerships including targeted strategic international partners for possible collaborations including faculty/student exchanges and 4+1 and 2+2 agreements.

Specific Action Steps:

  • Explore funding sources to ensure that Lerner students are provided the opportunity to study abroad with subsidized cost; establish support for merit and need-based scholarships.
  • Expand possibilities of exchange programs to increase international undergraduate enrollment in the Lerner College.
  • Initiate International Visiting Scholar program for distinguished international scholars to conduct collaborative research, instruction and outreach with B&E faculty and students.
  • Focus college summer grant program to support research and instruction on global issues.
  • Identify strategic international partnerships for long-term collaborations (e.g., international programs and certificates).

VI: The Engaged University

  • Inspire an Engaged Student Body
  • Promote Lifelong Engagement with Alumni
  • Cultivate a Culturally and Socially Engaged University
  • Engage the Community as an Impetus for Innovation
  • Strengthen Public Education in Delaware and Beyond
  • Partner with the City of Newark
  • Increase the University’s Presence and Engagement in Southern Delaware

B&E Response to UD’s Sixth Strategic Milestone:
The Lerner College of Business & Economics strives to have an impact on the state and region, nationally and globally. The Lerner College aspires to be the primary choice of business and government leaders for knowledge and assistance in business, technology, and policy decisions.

Toward this end the Lerner College will:

  • Explore collaborative opportunities with the Office of Economic Innovation and Partnership in the promotion of entrepreneurial initiatives on campus.
  • Explore the establishment of a Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER) to enable the college to take a more direct and active role in providing educational assistance in the promotion of economic growth and business development in the region. CBER will support the business and public sectors in Delaware and the Mid-Atlantic region by providing expertise, research and analysis including economic forecasting, economic analysis of legislative proposals, evaluation of sustainable business strategies and issues, and overviews of relevant and timely economic and business trends.
  • Expand project-based learning opportunities for faculty and students involving business and industry through formal partnerships with units within the University and the community to enhance service learning, discovery learning and research collaborations opportunities for faculty and students.
  • Promote lifelong engagement with alumni and corporate and individual supporters.

Specific Action Steps:

  • The Small Business Development Center and Venture Development Center will collaborate with the Office of Economic Innovation and Partnership in hosting the President’s Forum on Entrepreneurship and other activities including the use of technology, technology transfer, intellectual property, student and faculty engagement, and market and financial impact analysis.
  • Appoint “Professional Practice Faculty or Distinguished Scholars in Residence” whose roles may include outreach and service to the private and public sectors.
  • Consider funding of CBER from new budgetary sources. Submit a state budget line request to support the establishment of CBER. Explore other funding sources including fee for service activities, contracts, grants, and gifts to establish and sustain the Center.
  • Expand college activities involving the private and public sectors to elevate faculty and staff interaction with corporate and government leaders.

Summary of Lerner College Five Strategic
Contributions to UD’s Path to Prominence

The Lerner College of Business and Economics will actively participate in UD’s Path to Prominence and intends to contribute in five major areas.

  • The Lerner College will continue to offer a flexible, high quality, academically rigorous undergraduate program that is among the best in the country and the world.
  • The Lerner College will evaluate and enhance existing graduate programs. The college will develop new graduate programs including a college-wide doctoral program in Business to complement the existing doctoral program in Economics. These two Ph.D. programs will anchor the excellence of graduate education in the college and enhance scholarship and instruction.
  • The Lerner College will hire, retain and support outstanding world-class, diverse faculty recognizing that its character is defined first and foremost by the excellence of its faculty in research, instruction and outreach.
  • The Lerner College will plan for the construction of new building to provide faculty, students, alumni, and friends a state-of-the-art educational facility and to accommodate increasing enrollment and hiring of additional faculty and staff.
  • The Lerner College will actively pursue high-profile strategic and global initiatives to elevate the visibility of its programs and centers to achieve national and international prominence.

See also: Academic Department Strategic Path to Prominence Contributions

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The Lerner College is home to a state-of-the-art financial trading facility, the $1.5 million student-led Blue Hen Investment Club, a student-managed restaurant and hotel, a high-technology development center of a global bank and a start-up experience for students with new business ideas.

Lerner College faculty - like Meryl Gardner, whose research on foods and moods was recently published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology - are thought leaders who command attention from influential business audiences, economists and policy makers.

All Lerner College departments offer discovery learning experiences and emphasize data-based analytics to enrich the student experience. Here, students at Vita Nova, our award-winning restaurant run through HRIM, joined professional chefs and winemakers in hosting a 2014 Mid-Atlantic Wine and Food Festival event.

The Institute for Financial Services Analytics is a collaboration between the Lerner College, UD's College of Engineering and JPMorgan Chase, and hosts events for academics and the business community designed to address consumer analytics and industry applications.

Undergraduate scholarships, made possible through the generosity of alumni and friends, enable us to support promising scholars. Here, Delaware Gov. Jack Markell and his mother, Leni Markell, join recipients of the William Markell Scholarship (center), which benefits students in Accounting and MIS.

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