WSU business school to launch executive education arm

In order to better serve the business community in Southeast Michigan and beyond, the Wayne State University School of Business Administration is in the process of developing a new executive education enterprise. Interim Dean Margaret Williams has appointed a task force of SBA faculty and staff to develop a limited set of course offerings for spring 2014 while developing a long-term business plan for executive education.

The committee will be chaired by Marcus Dickson, a professor of organizational psychology at WSU, who has extensive executive education experience both within the U.S. and internationally. Dickson will serve a one-year, part-time appointment as the school’s director of executive education.

Executive education is not an entirely new arena for WSU or even the School of Business Administration: Programs are offered through the university’s Division of Educational Outreach and International Programs and individual programs are offered from time to time within various units of the business school – such as this new partnership between the Global Supply Chain Program and the Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG). This is, however, SBA’s first initiative in a decade aimed at offering a coordinated executive education curriculum.

While early offerings will likely be open-enrollment "short courses" or custom programs developed in partnership with companies specifically for their employees, the task force is also evaluating opportunities for developing executive-level degree programs.

As Dean Williams spoke with various stakeholders about executive education during the development of the school’s most recent strategic plan, she became convinced that there’s no time like the present.

"I’ve had numerous conversations with our faculty, WSU administrators and our partners in industry," Williams said. "There is clear consensus that we can and should begin to operate in this arena while we develop a longer-term plan."

Dickson says his Executive Education Task Force is comfortable with the two-part charge.

"We know that there is capacity within the School of Business Administration and a market in the business community," he said. "While we begin to offer the programs that can and should begin now, our ultimate goal over the next year will be to lay the groundwork for an executive education enterprise that the school can sustain and grow over the long term."

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