by Rachel Heston-Davis
This fall, Greenville College introduced the Experience First educational initiative to bring real-world problem solving into the classroom.
Experience First pairs GC students with business and community leaders for work on real-world, high-stakes projects. Students brainstorm and implement solutions to actual needs faced by their assigned business leaders. They gain skills and confidence to navigate the working world beyond classroom doors.
“The Experience First initiative is all about meaningful work,” says Suzanne Davis, founding dean of the Briner School of Business and assistant professor of business management. “Not only does it give the students the experience they need to enter the workforce, but it also provides a platform for Christian business leaders to leave a lasting impact and legacy on the next generation.”
Experience First was launched as part of CORE 401, Greenville College’s required capstone course in which senior student groups complete a semester-long project.
Prior to fall semester, seniors interested in Experience First applied for spots in five Experience First CORE groups. Faculty interviewed applicants and selected just over 20 for Experience First. They guided students in addressing the assigned problems throughout the semester, culminating in five Experience First CORE presentations on December 6.
The five challenges presented to the student groups included:
- How to promote customer traffic to Eckert’s Farm in Belleville during winter;
- Creating promotional videos for the Simply Amish furniture line;
- Designing a new product utilizing “pop-up” technology;
- Investigating how to boost sales of a specific dog food brand;
- An initiative to share knowledge about geothermal products with young homeowners.
Assistant Professor of Music Business Danara Moore says of the projects, “We are very pleased with the outcome of our inaugural Experience First projects. We had high expectations and the Experience First groups exceeded them.”
Business partners participating with students in the initial Experience First semester include GC alumnus Enoch Poon ’86, president of global trade company Innovative International; Kevin Kauffman, owner of furniture manufacturer Kauffman Brands; Alex Melvin, CEO of Rural King; Angie Eckert, VP of retail sales for Eckert’s Family Farms; and Steve Smith, CEO of Enertech Global, a Greenville-based manufacturer of geothermal heating and cooling equipment.
For more on how Greenville College prepares students for real-world success:
“Mock-R-View” Prepares Future Job Hunters
“Great Jobs, Batman!” – Dynamic Duo Uncovers Clues to Rewarding Work Experiences
Prepared to Prepare: GC Alumnus Talks About Transitioning from College to Career
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This story was published on December 12, 2016
Posted by Robert Weston