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Oct. 25, 2000
 
BUSINESS PROFESSORS' BOOK
KEY TO INNOVATIVE COURSE
OSWEGO -- When Dr. Paula E. Bobrowski and Dr. Pamela L. Cox of Oswego State's School of Business were putting together a new introductory course for freshman businesses students two years ago, they couldn't find a textbook that fit their vision. So they wrote one -- "Gateway to Business," published in 1999 by McGraw-Hill.
After a pilot year of the course and seeking feedback from Pacific Crest, which was on campus to conduct a curriculum development seminar, they saw how they could make the book better. So they revised it.
The second edition of "Gateway to Business" came out just in time for this fall's course. Now published by Pacific Crest, the book is three times longer than last year's edition. Laura Helferty of the English department served as their editor.
"Pacific Crest saw what we had done and liked it," Bobrowski said. The professors and their publisher aim to get other colleges to adopt the text.
"It's a new, innovative concept. We're on the leading edge," Bobrowski said of the course. "It's a freshman experience to help students make the transition from high school to college. It ensures a basic level of skills. It also builds a sense of community and loyalty to the school itself."
The book has 23 chapters. Many sound as if they would fit right into an introductory management text: "The External Environment -- Analyzing Industry Forces" and "Global Business." Others are aimed frankly at giving first-year students the basic skills they need to succeed in college: "Improving Your Learning Skills" and "How to Get Started in Research."
"A lot of this is exposure to things that will be important to them," Cox said. "There are so many resources available on this campus."
The course also integrates Oswego's general education requirements in writing across the curriculum and critical thinking. The textbook addresses critical thinking as it applies to management, Cox said. "We found there were a lot of critical thinking books, but they didn't talk about business," she said.
All freshmen in the School of Business are enrolled in the course. One day a week these 160 to 180 students meet in a lecture section. It will often feature a guest lecturer, from Oswego's own faculty and staff, from business and industry or from other schools, like Syracuse University.
Then two days a week, the class meets in six recitation sections of 25 to 30 students each, where "they do more experiential things," Cox said.
Four faculty, 12 teaching assistants and one graduate assistant make the course go. "It's a huge commitment" for a school to take on, said Bobrowski, who coordinates the whole course.
Students work in teams and are expected to make presentations using current technology, and to dress for them. "We are grooming them to be professionals," Bobrowski said.
The two professors said they expect to see the biggest results of the new course when the students in the course last year and this year become seniors and graduate. "We want to send these students out into the world and have people say, 'Wow, we hired an Oswego grad -- what a well-prepared individual!'" Cox said.
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