Building On Business Excellence

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News Article

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Campus Unit

College of Business & Public Administration


Exactly a century has passed since a business school came to life at the University of North Dakota.

Now, as part of one of the nation’s Top 25 Most Innovative Schools, the UND College of Business and Public Administration (CoBPA) is preparing for the next 100 years – with sterling rankings, plans for a new state-of-the-art space, and the opportunity to secure a new captain to guide the next generation of Leaders in Action.

Last week, the CoBPA was rated 216 out of 250 ranked schools in the 2018 U.S. News & World Report’s list of Best Undergraduate Business Programs, making it the only ranked program in the state. The standings are determined by deans and senior faculty of peer institutions.

“The recent recognition of our business school as the best in the state, amongst the best in the nation, showcases a century of dedication to educating tomorrow’s business leaders,” UND President Mark Kennedy said.

UND announced the formation of a search committee this week – led by Cindy Juntunen, Dean of the College of Education and Human Development – to find a new dean for the CoBPA. The helmsperson will replace Margaret Williams, who left the post this spring.

“The growth and positive changes in the business school have been phenomenal over the past three years,” said UND Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Tom DiLorenzo. “We’re looking for a dean who can capitalize on those changes and help us to continue moving in that direction.”

Commenting on the unique combination of business and public administration in one college, CoPBA interim dean Steve Light says the College is positioned to make a special contribution to the state.

“There’s no succeeding in business without understanding that business works hand-in-hand with public policy and government. And that partnership is seen in our name,” he said. “Our graduates can work across business and government toward the economic and social vitality of the state of North Dakota.”

On campus and online

The CoBPA is no stranger to recognition. It was recently re-accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International, placing it among the top five percent of business schools in the world. But it’s not coasting on its achievement.

“The College is working hard to strengthen existing programs, such as our core set of classes that all business majors take, while strategically building new programs,” said CoBPA Associate Dean of Academics Jason Jenson. “We are particularly interested in increasing our portfolio of high-quality online programs.”

The CoBPA has already seen explosive success with its online master’s programs. The recent U.S. News report ranked UND number 29 (a tie) for Best Online MBA, and it tied for 43rd place in Best Online Graduate Business Programs (excluding MBA). College Choice ranked UND number 7 in Online Master’s in Business with an Entrepreneurship Focus.

“I believe the online graduate programs have been successful because of our synchronous course delivery, dedicated faculty and student support services,” said Executive Director of Graduate Programs & Accreditation Michelle Garske.

The College is building on that online strength. The MBA curriculum has been revised to include modules in executive management, business analytics, strategy and financial/economic analysis. Garske said the revised program launched this fall has been well-received by new students – total MBA enrollment has grown by 26 percent.

Experiential leaders

The CoBPA campus experience is also unmatched – with an abundance of hands-on learning experiences, student-centered faculty and staff, and plans for an innovative new learning space.

“We are doing a lot to strengthen the CoBPA student community and experience, by focusing on high-impact practices, as well as retention and recruitment to get and keep the best students,” Jensen said.

This spring, several students placed in national and international challenges that put them in the driver’s seat of business and policy. An MPA student took first place in a worldwide food security simulation, two business undergraduates placed first at a national ethics competition, and a team of MBA students finished in the top 6.2 percent in an international trading challenge.

Students also have access to real-world business experience through the Dakota Venture Group – the only student-managed investment team in the nation. Beyond that, the College offers more than 25 professional student clubs and organizations.

The skills picked up in and outside of the classroom are what make the country’s pro sports marketing groups, software business giants, and largest accounting firms look to UND for recruits.

“UND Accountancy has a long track record of graduates who are successful in global public accounting firms and business,” said Accountancy Department Chair Katherine Campbell. “Many recruiters are attracted by the success of our graduates and our program’s reputation for rigor, career preparation through internships and experiential learning, and incorporation of current technologies.”

A brand-new or renovated building will support the CoBPA’s forward-learning curriculum. The State Legislature and State Board of Higher Education have already approved plans to raise up to $70 million for the project. No concrete construction plans have been determined, but the UND Alumni Association and Foundation will soon kick off a major fundraising campaign.

“The new business school building is amongst our highest fundraising priorities as a centerpiece for the renewal of our main campus,” President Kennedy said.

With a new building, a new dean, and a continuous stream of new leaders to mentor, the next 100 years are set to be a new era for the UND College of Business and Public Administration.