The School of Business prepares students for positions in our complex and dynamic economy by creating diverse learning experiences in a student-centered environment.
Our Value Proposition
- highly qualified teacher-scholars
- market relevant programs and curriculum
- affordable quality education
- small classes for more individualized attention
Our Competitive Advantage
A realistic student centered educational experience, and a credible claim to educational and academic excellence as manifested in our accreditation, provide the Fort Lewis College School of Business Administration with a difficult to imitate (and therefore somewhat sustainable) competitive advantage. We will continue to build our vision for the future around this competitive advantage.
The School of Business Administration has a core competence in student centered undergraduate education. There are, of course, many other institutions that may claim to have the same core competence. That is, most institutions, even the really large ones, will claim that they provide a student centered undergraduate education. Some claims are more credible than others. Of the population of institutions that can make a convincing claim to a truly student centered undergraduate educational experience, the Fort Lewis College School of Business Administration is one of the very few that can also point to AACSB accreditation as an external validation of the excellence of the educational experience.
Our AACSB accreditation and scholarly productivity are key aspects of our claim to excellence. Unless we can make a credible claim to scholarly excellence, at least to the extent demanded by our accreditation, we are just another small state college. Our strategic niche is the undergraduate student focus of a small school AND the intellectual and academic excellence commonly regarded as the province of large research institutions. Our teacher—scholar model separates us on one end from the other small state colleges, and on the other end from the larger, more well-known universities.
Student Centered and Excellent
There is a natural relationship between being student centered and excellent. In fact, virtually everything that we do now or that we might want to do in the future can be related to these two themes. This relationship is especially important in SOBA where the close interaction between faculty and students is not only at the core of its mission, but one of its strongest selling points. By being student centered, we create diverse learning experiences in and out of the classroom, in Durango, around Colorado and the United States and around the world.
These diverse learning experiences are leveraged by a student – faculty interaction:
- Professors often know students on a first name basis, which allows close professional relationships to be developed.
- Professors are willing to speak directly to students which foster a sense of an open door policy.
- Professors are usually enthusiastic about giving guidance to students about classroom projects or any other questions they might have.
- Professors have a deep professional interest in the career success of our students.
What this means is that our overall emphasis is in providing diverse and personalized learning experience for our students. This stands in marked contrast to the practices of many of our larger competitors. We leverage our professional relationship with our students to provide diverse learning experiences through the quality of our faculty, our small classes and a unique international program.
Quality of the Faculty
The School of Business faculty is highly qualified where most have PhD’s and years of business experience. This stands in stark contrast to larger institutions where full-time faculty often focus on MBA and Ph.D. students and leave many of the undergraduate classes to be taught by TAs.
Our faculty is engaged in scholarly activity to identify and address important business and economic issues through discovery, integration, application, and dissemination of knowledge. This is exactly what we expect of our students in the classroom as well as for our faculty. Our teacher-scholar model encourages inquiry that leads to new understandings that address questions of interest to students, the business community and the public. It is also worth noting that while our AACSB accreditation demands scholarly output, our primary focus is teaching, unlike our larger brethren where research productivity often counter-balances poor teaching. Teaching is our priority and it is reflected in our compensation, promotion, and tenure policies.
Small Class Size
The student centered culture within SOBA values small class sizes that allow students to work with each other and get to know one another. Group work is frequently assigned and students are often able to function well as a group and individually participate. There is a sense of camaraderie among the students that sets aside cliques and students often interact outside the classroom.
Many professors feel that the best part about teaching is the feeling of knowing that they have gotten through to their students. With such small class sizes in SOBA faculty really have a chance to get to know all of their students and reach out to them in an individual way. In larger institutions faculty rarely know their students on a name basis, much less have conversations with them regularly.
A Unique International Program
Our Junior Trimester Abroad and Innovative Month program formats provide a unique and affordable educational experience to our students. Are we known for our leadership in international education? To argue for that would put us in direct competition with the larger universities that do it on a much grander scale. What we are able to argue is that these programs are unique in their student focus and high quality due to the direct participation of School of Business Administration faculty. We don't trust our students to the uneven quality of the faculty at other universities; we insure a quality experience through our own direct participation. They are student centered diverse learning experiences that allow graduates to experience the world to be better able to change their world.