From the Stanford Report, July 21, 2014

Inspiring Stanford humanities majors to consider business careers

This summer was the first time that Stanford provided funding – with support from the Office of the President – to help Stanford students majoring in the humanities and the arts take part in the Summer Institute for General Management at the Graduate School of Business.


On a recent summer morning, a lecture hall at Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB) was filled with students from around the world who were ready to analyze the fall – and subsequent resurrection – of an American kidney dialysis company.

To prepare for the lecture, titled “A Deep Dive into Company Culture,” the students had read a GSB case study that described a company, Total Renal Care, which was once plagued by financial, operational, regulatory and morale problems.

Sarah Soule, the Morgridge Professor of Organizational Behavior at the GSB, stood facing the class of dozens of students majoring in the humanities, engineering sciences, economics and finance, law, social sciences, and natural and life sciences.

It was the third week of the Summer Institute for General Management (SIGM), a month-long program designed for exceptional college students – rising juniors and seniors –majoring in non-business fields and recent graduates with non-business degrees. The program is now in its 11th year.

“Let’s begin in 1999, when Total Renal Care was a very troubled kidney dialysis company,” said Soule, one of a dozen MBA faculty members who taught the SIGM students.

“What were the problems with the company?” she asked.

Sitting in the third row, Stanford junior Natasha Mmonatau, a history major concentrating in 20th-century African history, offered the first observation.

“They had acquired a lot of companies, similar dialysis centers, and they had trouble integrating them into their existing model,” said Mmonatau, one of eight undergraduate humanities and arts majors at Stanford who received university funding to take part in this summer’s program.

Read more at Stanford News

Is "Flipping the Classroom" New? What’s Good About It?

In this post on Tomorrow’s ProfessorMarilla Svinicki, University of Texas at Austin, asks “Flipped Classrooms— Old or New?” She describes the technique, notes its roots in conventional practices, and suggests three concrete benefits.

Flipped Classrooms— Old or New?

“So is flipping the classroom a new or old teaching strategy? The principles are old and valuable, but they haven’t been usable because of constraints of time and effort on the parts of both students and teacher. It is the possibility of implementing these key principles that is new, and often enabled by technology’s ability to capture their essence. Now we have to reframe the mindsets of both instructor and student about the role of face-to-face class time. Is it a time to receive information or to use it? I vote for the latter. That would be the new part. “

There has been a lot of buzz in higher education lately about the flipped classroom model for teaching and learning….

Perhaps the most important assumption of the flipped classroom … is the idea that learning is strongest when the learner is actively involved in the creation of understanding and the application of understanding to real problems….

Is it a new technique? Not really. Instructors have been assigning readings and asking questions in class for a long time. But the quality of work students can do and the ability to monitor the students’ actual outside of class learning has been greatly enhanced through technology….

Which leads us to the second idea of the flipped classroom – coming to the learning with a prepared mind. This idea derives from the principle of learning that having a preview of what is to be learned before attempting to use it makes for a much deeper level of organization in which to insert (or attempt to insert) new ideas and concepts….

One last benefit of the flipped class design is that instructor expertise is used in ways that are most valuable….