The USC Marshall School of Business community sees new opportunities to think creatively and to act nimbly and proactively to shape the future of the school.
Now led by Dean Geoff Garrett, who thinks in terms of “challenging opportunities” rather than just “challenges,” the Marshall School is in a strong position this fall 2020, even as we face headwinds. With this disruptive moment comes the freedom to innovate and grow. We need to be brave and take risks to push higher education truly into the 21st century.
Leveraging Online Successes
Fortunately, Marshall’s online learning team is experienced and passionate about the high-quality education that is and can be delivered in that format. While this fall semester will necessarily take place online, even after the pandemic business education will be an advantageous blend of online and on campus. The online model presents many opportunities—for getting our students in the “room” with industry leaders and thinkers around the world, for delivering our Marshall education to international audiences, and for developing truly global friendships and professional networks.
Launching New Courses
Over the summer, Dean Garrett worked closely with Marshall’s faculty and online teams to help create two new classes that bring together the very best of the Marshall School and leave students with critical thinking skills and practical tools to go out into the workplace and enact needed changes.
“If Not You, Who? The Future of Leadership,” led by Professor Sarah Townsend, focuses on questions of leadership, leading through uncertainty and crisis, with a major emphasis on building, managing and leading diverse and inclusive organizations.
“If Not Now, When? The Future of Capitalism,” led by Professor Chris Parsons, examines the disconnect between Wall Street and Main Street, the ramifications behind the rise of remote work, and the relentless rise of technology.
These classes were made available to undergraduate and graduate students across USC, regardless of major. Dean Garrett is taking part in the teaching. Speakers included Marshall alumnus, USC Trustee and Executive Chairman of United Airlines Oscar Munoz, and USC President Carol Folt.
Enhancing Diversity, Equity and Inclusivity
Another challenge we intend to meet head on is creating a business school ready to train the next generation of leaders to acknowledge the value of a truly diverse and inclusive workforce.
Along with USC Marshall’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion’s Community Connections series, Tommy Talks series, small business and entrepreneurship webinars, and executive education and lifelong learning workshops, Geoff Garrett launched the first episode in a new series of “Dean's Dialogues” and featured Sharoni Little, Vice Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion; Shaun Harper, Provost Professor of Management and Organization; Clifford and Betty Allen Chair in Urban Leadership; USC Race and Equity Center Executive Director; and Sarah Townsend, Kenneth King Stonier Associate Professor of Business Administration & Associate Professor of Management and Organization.
While Marshall has invested in diversity, equity and inclusion programming for many years now (we were the very first West Coast university to be a member of The Consortium for Graduate Student Study in Management, founded in 1967, to help Black and other underrepresented students access an advanced business education, for example), there is much more to be done.
Dean Garrett has made it a priority to invest in and amplify programs that make cultural awareness a core skill set for our students. We are developing new and revising course materials to more prominently integrate diverse leaders and organizations. A priority is to increase the number of Black students and faculty. We are engaging in consulting projects with Black-, brown- and women-owned enterprise via a partnership with the California African American Museum, across the street from campus in Exposition Park. These are just three examples of the kinds of action we are working to implement in the upcoming academic year.
Additionally, we will be expanding Marshall’s leadership curriculum. Marshall students must be leaders, not merely ready for business when they graduate. And we are excited to strengthen our ties with Southern California business, and those in the Pacific Rim as well.
There are so many opportunities for our students and the Marshall School right now. We hope you will join us in support and participation.
Your gift to Marshall, no matter the amount, will help propel our efforts to ensuring an excellent educational experience this year and create a business school uniquely suited to the times. Achieving our goals requires broad and deep leadership and commitment throughout the school and our community, and we are proud and grateful to see so many people stepping up to join in on this collective effort.
Thank you for all you do to help make even more opportunities possible.