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Williston State business students take the classroom experience on the road

Monday, November 25th, 2013
Posted by WSC Business and Technology; Serena Christianson

Williston State business students take the classroom experience on the road

Williston, ND - When it comes education, teachers are challenged with coming up with innovative ways to keep students engaged and passionate about learning. Recently, some business students from Williston State College visited with business professionals in Minot, N.D. for their Business Ethics course.

"This idea of visiting first-hand with industry leaders was actually the students' idea," Program Coordinator and Assistant Professor of Business, Serena Christianson stated.  For the Business Ethics course this fall, students were introduced to a number of issues pertaining to this subject for the first half of the semester (such as globalization, corporate social responsibility, accounting practices, safety and environmental protection, truth in marketing, workers' rights, and information protection).  After that unit, students applied these concepts to a classic business case study: Starbucks.  While reading about Starbucks, students suggested, in a half-joking manner, that they needed to visit a Starbucks to really experience what they were discussing in class.

"I thought the idea had some merit, so I proposed the idea to the Business Technology Department Chair (Ken Quamme), and he was all in favor of it," Christianson added.  As a group, the class brainstormed how to expand on this idea and developed a list of different industries and businesses they wanted to meet with while in Minot (the nearest city with a Starbucks store).  On November 19, the class, along with Christianson and Quamme, travelled to Minot and visited KK Bold to discuss issues within the marketing and advertising industries, along with other issues relating to work ethics.  Stephanie Schoenrock, Account Services Director at KK Bold shared, "I was impressed by how well informed the WSC Business Ethics students were. Based on their questions and our discussion, it's clear to me these students will take what they've learned in the classroom and apply it to their careers. It was a real pleasure to meet with students who have so much leadership potential."  

After KK Bold, they met with employees at Starbucks Café in Barnes & Noble to hear first-hand accounts of working for both Starbucks and Barnes & Noble, and concluded their visit by meeting with leaders from Dakota Square Mall's management team to discuss decisions regarding safety, leasing, retail, and operations.

Cierra Aamodt, Class of 2014 - Associate of Applied Science in Business Management student from Williston, ND, thought, "The trip to Minot was a very fun experience.  It was a really great way to make real-life connections with what we had learned in class with the real business world."  The students thoroughly enjoyed the trip, learning not only about themselves, but what is expected of a business professional.  "I not only learned new things, but it changed my perspective of the business industry. The leaders at each company we visited showed knowledge and passion for what they do and truly inspired me to do something I am passionate about," added Molly Li, Class of 2014 - Associate of Arts from Red Deer, Alberta, Canada.

This is just the beginning for new and innovative ways of learning to be introduced in the classroom.  "We as a department have talked about how we can integrate other tools and techniques besides traditional lecturing.  Many of the courses at Williston State are using technology for resources, using digital corkboards, presentation tools, simulations, you name it.  It's a lot of fun to take ideas from the students and make it work for the course," added Christianson. 

The business management program at Williston State College includes various options for students looking to go into management, marketing, sales, accounting, IT, international business, corporate fitness, recreation management, finance, economics, and more. Registration for spring 2014 classes at Williston State College is currently underway and the semester beings on January 14. 

If you are interested in learning more about this program, you can contact Program Coordinator Serena Christianson at serena.christianson@willistonstate.edu or 701-774-4526. For any other information about Williston State College, please visit willistonstate.edu or stop by 1410 University Avenue.