Lane, Paul; Farris, John; Fauvel, Anne Marie
October 2008
Marketing Management Association Annual Conference Proceedings;2008, p76
What Could You Create If There Were No Restrictions? For decades faculty members have been sending students into the community for projects, for research, for service learning, and even to engage segments of the community of particular interest. This is for many students an improvement in pedagogy well beyond classroom discussion. Given the chance to do something different the idea of taking the whole class out into the community for semester surfaced as something to try. Here was the opportunity for three faculty members and students to all learn from those who are practicing! Not in the classroom but seeing them on their site. The dynamic of senior living changes when you wander the seven stories of a building meeting people who look both aged and young and active as you go. As the course idea developed the authors held to an important tenant of creativity, not to focus on, "why not," but instead focus on the dream. The topics of the course were aging, sustainability, and globalization as it impacted the community in which the course was being offered. It was quickly figured out that if community was to be visited it would require larger blocks of class time than normal. The course was listed with seven six-hour sessions and one three-hour wrap up session. The Challenges of Community Involvement! The idea of going out into the community sounds great in a discussion until you get into the logistics. First you have to select some targets that make sense to the course. In the area of aging it was determined that the focus would be active agers who (60-75 and actively doing things some working, volunteering, etc.). Where do you find these people? Not in nursing homes or assisted care, as they are out and about doing their part to make the world a better place. Once you have the idea of some places you face the second challenge. What is the schedule of the community people who want to be involved? The question of practitioner schedules and a class, and the third item topic alignment are really complex. One executive who responded with excitement over the project, quickly replied with a date and time and a request for a bus to tour the operation and said he could spare an hour. In fairness three generations of this family spent time with the students on the day of the visit. The time and the date did not throw off the faculty as much as the request for a bus! As you might imagine it was a game of juggling to get it all to work on time and come up with a schedule that appeared coherent. With gas topping $4 it was essential that an effective method be developed to get from one place to another. Further it was important to develop a kind time training program. Looking at the third area topic alignment became the challenge of the faculty. A very busy store manager in the middle of a complete remodel of a huge big box store welcomed the class with an appointment to talk about store design for active agers. On the day he greeted the group with three phones one on his belt one in each hand and an assistant panting after him and hastily introduced us to a new person at the store who would take the group around. The guide also an executive with the retailer had been at other stores in this chain, and had a long tenure at another large retailer. Now suddenly it was the correct questions that would bring out the information on the topics desired. Another example would be lunching with seniors at a church and trying to be sure that the students were assisted in getting the conversation back to the topics of importance to the class. There was no lack of discussion between seniors and youth the challenge again was the topic. The longer class schedules became critical as a fourth challenge. It was made clear to the class at the Electric Company with the President.…


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