McDermond center prepares for year of change and movements to include more of campus

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DePauw University is undergoing change in all corners of the campus, both on the surface and internally. The McDermond Center for Management and Entrepreneurship is no exception.

“I think it’s going to be an exciting year for the Management Fellows program and the McDermond Center,” said Dr. Michelle Villinski, director of the McDermond center.

Last year, in the same announcement that Villinski was named director, President Casey announced the formation of a McDermond center task force. This group was composed of faculty members, members of the board of trustees and alumni.

Casey charged the task force with looking at the McDermond center and Management Fellows program and assessing what are the strengths and weaknesses as well as what can be improved. The main goal was to make both of them stronger.

Last May, David Becker, chair of the task force, gave recommendations to the Board of Trustees.

“What’s ahead of us this year…is looking at the recommendations of the task force and deciding how we want to move forward with those recommendations,” said Villinski.

A focus for the year will be considering possible revisions to the Management Fellows curriculum. Students in the program currently have a series of courses including Introduction to Economics, a business writing course, semester long internship and a senior capstone project.

One of these potential changes is being tested this year in the pilot of a course introducing new students to the usefulness of a Liberal Arts degree in the world of business and entrepreneurship. This semester is a test to determine whether or not this a course that can be incorporated in the future.

Some changes to the McDermond center have already been implemented. These are primarily related to new programming being offered; this includes industry insight sessions and sessions on entrepreneurship.

While Management Fellows are a key audience for the McDermond Center, due to their interests in business, entrepreneurship, the center is not limited to just them.

The McDermond Center's events, workshops, and programs are free and open to all DePauw students—regardless of their major—and are often partnerd with other programs and departments on campus.

“Over the last four years, including this year's graduating class, Management Fellows have represented 18 different majors,” said Villinski in a follow-up email.

One instance of collaboration is the trip to New York last fall break where Media Fellows and Management fellows converged for a career exploration trip. 

“I enjoyed being with the member of the Management Fellows program too,” said junior Media Fellow Elizabeth St. John. “Even though we are in different programs, they are very much the same and attract the same qualities in their members.”

Sophomore Media Fellow Laurel Tilton agrees with St. John and sees a benefit in the fellows programs coming together for trips such as these.

“On campus it may seem like our respective fellows programs aren’t related,” she said, “But once we were all in New York together you could really see how the two intertwined in the ‘real world’.”

In the coming year similar trips to Chicago with the Economics & Management Department, and another to San Francisco with the Computer Science Department in spring are in the works. 

There is also teamwork among programs in selecting various speakers and workshops that will take place.

Apart from Management Fellows, there are a number of other programs affiliated with the McDermond center.

The consulting club has emerged for the first time this year, the investment club will officially begin investing this semester and Women in Economics and Business (WEB) is now a student-run organization with its first leadership board.

“This year, we hope to increase [Women in Economics and Business]’s network so that we may design events particular to the female perspective,” the first student president of the organization, sophomore Chelsea Conard said, “equipping young undergraduate women with the skills necessary to lead in any industry.”

Conard’s mission for WEB aligns with potential changes to the McDermond Center programing that are intended draw in students from outside of the Economics department and Management Fellows program.