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Class Notes: Brenau president, Tumblr founder discuss MBAs
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Brenau University President Ed Schrader joined Tumblr founder David Karp and others on a panel Friday addressing the usefulness of master of business administration programs.

The panel was part of the Let’s Get Real Conference in New York City, a daylong symposium sponsored by Brenau and the Atlanta-based Oxford Center for Entrepreneurs.

Schrader called for an “academic shake-up” during the symposium, saying leaders should explore individually customized programs that have been “unbundled” from traditional college degree tracks.

Karp, who had an engineering job by age 18, said college was something he did not have time for, according to Brenau’s website.

Schrader said at the symposium that Karp’s story illustrates why customized programs may be a better fit for some entrepreneurs. For some, he said, “getting the degree is not the point. Getting the information they need to know how to do what they have to do is the point.

“A CEO of a multimillion-dollar enterprise who does not have time for or the need for a full MBA program ... would benefit greatly from being able to carve out the financial portion of that,” said Schrader. “With unbundling, the student can develop portions of programs that are relative to their needs and desires.”

Schrader said “unbundling” is not a new concept, but could be used in a new way.

“Earlier models of the unbundling and rebundling concept primarily addressed the problem of helping colleges and universities reduce costs,” he said. “What we envision, however, is development of a new model in which colleges and universities add greater value to what they offer students by finding ways to forge learning relationships with individuals.”

He said students could also “rebundle,” or combine different aspects of more than one program to shape a customized degree.

“We have the best higher education system in the world,” Schrader said, “but when you have institutions that still are tied to models that date back to before our country was founded, you need to take a hard look at what you need to be doing for the rest of the 21st century to maintain that leadership.”

UNG students attend volunteer fair

Hundreds of University of North Georgia students and dozens of students from Flowery Branch High School flocked to the university’s Gainesville campus earlier this month for the annual Volunteer Fair.

Students visited with 50 different nonprofit, private and government community service providers to learn about volunteer opportunities, marking the fifth year the event has been held in Gainesville.

The university launched a new community service initiative called The Year of Engagement earlier this year. University President Bonita Jacobs said in August the initiative calls for “an increasingly productive exploration of our responsibilities to our students, our colleagues and to our region.”

UNG is one of only two public universities in Georgia to earn the Carnegie Foundation’s classification for community engagement. The event is the only one of its kind in the region and has grown steadily, according to event organizer George Danns, a sociology professor at the university.

Danns said in a news release the fair helps to “bring the community to the campus and takes the campus to the community.”

“The fair also expands the economic impact of UNG in the community” by connecting volunteers to organizations, he said.

Participating organizations included the Hall-Dawson Court Appointed Special Advocates, part of a state organization involved in advocacy for children in foster care. Staff attorney Susan Rigdon, who coordinates CASA volunteers, said the organization exists with the help of volunteers.

“As someone who knows the importance and invaluable contribution that our volunteers make, it’s just amazing to see everyone here today,” Rigdon said in a news release. “All the organizations represented in this room know that volunteers are the heart and soul and we wouldn’t be able to do anything without our volunteers.”

 Jennifer Jacob Brown covers education issues for The Times. Share your thoughts, news tips and questions with her:

jbrown@gainesvilletimes.com

facebook.com/jennifer.thetimes

@jjbgainesville

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