By Erin Shanahan
The Gabelli School of Business (GSB) was recognized by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) for its socially conscious business education opportunities. GSB was selected as a winner of the 2017 Innovations That Inspire competition.
This recognition was due to GSB’s contribution to and support of the Fordham Social Innovation Collaboratory (FSIC). The Collaboratory is an interdisciplinary innovation on campus: a network of students, faculty and other community members who work together to innovate new solutions to society’s most pressing issues. This group’s initiatives include social justice, social entrepreneurship, inclusion and environmental sustainability.
“I am very proud of the transformational work our faculty administrators and students are doing,” said Donna Rapaccioli, dean of the Gabelli School of Business. “Our pragmatic multi-faceted approach is being noticed globally.”
A total of 315 international applications were submitted to AACSB Innovations that Inspire competition. Fordham is one of only 35 submissions to be awarded this distinction.
The FSIC was highlighted in the Engagement Across Disciplines category due to the Collaboratory’s efforts to bridge disciplinary divides. This was led by the visionary work of the Collaboratory’s management board, consisting of 10 faculty members from not only the Gabelli School of Business, but also from Fordham College Rose Hill, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and the Graduate School of Social Service.
Among other projects, The Collaboratory has supported the creation of six interdisciplinary practicums focusing on solving societal issues through innovation. The practicums offer a self-directed learning experience supported by a network of alumni and industry experts as mentors.
The Collaboratory was also recognized for its work in spearheading the Gabelli School Social Innovation dual and secondary concentrations. In addition, the group was awarded a grant from the Verizon Foundation and is currently operating practicums focused on food and entreprise, UN cookstoves, sustainable fashion and sustainable food practice. It is in the planning stages of a Refugee Dinner series.
According to Dean Rapaccioli, these initiatives were spearheaded by various members of the Fordham community including Network Leader of FSIC Max Lynch, GSB ’19 and Fieldwork Design Leader of FSIC Olivia Greenspan, GSB ’19, as well as Associate Professor Michael Pirson, Social Entrepreneur in Residence Patrick Struebi, Director of Sustainability Initiatives Carey Weiss and Associate Vice President in the Office of the Provost Ron Jacobson. In addition, alumnus Brent Martini has dedicated a great amount and time and effort to the practicum.
“The Collaboratory allows students from all facets of the university to learn beyond their selected academic ‘language,’” said Greenspan. “By working on teams of students, faculty, administrators and industry professionals with highly diverse areas of expertise, students of all majors learn to use their coursework to engage with people outside of their chosen discipline -a skill that is becoming increasingly valuable not only in ‘changemaker’ fields, but in the entire range of vocations.”
The AACSB International Innovations That Inspire initiative was created to shine a spotlight on a variety of ways that business schools are changing the face of business education. The organization as a whole is the world’s largest business education network and nonprofit membership organization. The organization works to provide the latest in business education intelligence and provide quality assurance of business school programs to prospective students. The organization is interested in fostering engagement, accelerating innovation and amplifying impact in current business education.