School of Management Newsletter
This summer, from June 1 to 27, 2014, Marist College's School of Management hosted a unique conference titled "The Meanings of Property," directed by Ann E. Davis, Associate Professor of Economics at Marist College. This unique event was funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the result of a proposal crafted by Dr. Davis. "This was the first conference of its kind," said Davis. "It's a particular kind of conference funded by the NEH. I applied for it – there's a national competition (among leading colleges and universities). The NEH is an independent agency of the United States government, and they sponsor higher education [events] in the United States."
"The School of Management was proud to host the NEH conference this year," said Lawrence G. Singleton, Dean of the School of Management. "Marist College was founded in the liberal arts tradition, and initiatives like this NEH conference demonstrate the importance of integrating a robust liberal arts education with strong business education."
Davis chose the theme of property because she "thought it would appeal to an interdisciplinary audience and it was very important." She had to provide an intellectual rationale for her choice of property as a central thread of study; property as a concept is not only relevant to contemporary citizens in advanced countries, but also critical to the understanding of every known civilization. Exploring the concept of property (be it intellectual, environmental, economic, scholarly or innovation, among other varieties of property), aids scholars and educators gain a greater understanding of the role property plays in society and how property can be used to control people's lives.
The four-week interdisciplinary NEH summer institute was held for 25 college and university participants, all of whom had to apply individually for acceptance to the institute. Davis said that the participants came from all over the country. Once at Marist College, the 25 participating college and university professors in the summer institute engaged in dialogue with Mary Poovey, literary scholar at New York University; Alan Ryan, Professor of Political Science at Princeton University; John R. Searle, Professor of Philosophy from University of California at Berkeley; Hendrik Hartog, Professor of History at Princeton University; Stuart Banner, Professor of Law at the University of California at Los Angeles; Kenneth Pomeranz, Professor of History at University of Chicago; and Robert J. Goldstein, Professor of Law at the United States Military Academy at West Point. They also met with Dr. Thomas Wermuth, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty, who is also a Hudson Valley historian and Director of the Hudson River Valley Institute Col. James Johnson, former military historian at West Point. Josh Baron, Senior Academic Technology Officer at Marist College, worked with the participants on the implications of intellectual property for online teaching and scholarly collaboration. Dr. Peter Groffman of the Cary Institute explored the implications of suburban "back yards" for global climate trends. The participants also had the opportunity to explore the libraries at Marist College, Vassar College, the New York Historical Society, and other nearby history sites.
Davis said there were several themes that emerged as part of the application and organically through the small group discussions. "As part of the application, we identified some themes, such as how important is a legal document to property ownership? Does property have to be approved by some court of jurisdiction? Is property the thing itself, or the deed? Is it the language or the object? We began to realize how many types of property there are," she said. One particular theme that arose in the institute was the role of language as a basis for all other social institutions, a method developed by the recent works of presenter Dr. Searle, a linguistics philosopher. Dr. Poovey, a literary critic, spoke about "fiction and money as a form of writing," explained Davis. "She's the kind of person to say 'Hey, gee did you notice?' She'll compare Adam Smith with Daniel Defoe – the distinction between 'Wealth of Nations' and 'Robinson Crusoe' wasn't so clear at the time."
The NEH summer institute was such a success that Davis said she would personally like to apply to host another one. "This time, one of the subthemes was property of the Hudson Valley," she said. "Another subtheme was the environment. For example, should water be privatized? There should be some consideration of the environment. We could do it in a more thorough way. We could also explore the history of money as a form of property and writing. Is it the same as other kinds of property, like lands and ideas?"
On June 25 and 26, 2014, the Marist College School of Management hosted “2014 Renewable Energy Conference – A Leadership Forum on Energy Policy: Changing Federal and State Energy Markets and Impacts on Renewable Supply” in partnership with The Hudson Renewable Energy Institute (THREI) and the Business Council of New York State (BCNY). This year marked the third year the conference has been held at Marist College, and is considered the premier energy conference on the East Coast. Energy policy in New York State (and the nation as a whole) has been undergoing significant changes that impact renewable energy companies. Considering the New York Energy Highway Blueprint, the New York Green Bank, a new NYISO capacity zone, or the roll out of Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Order 1000, the energy landscape is changing. The conference endeavored to examine the impact of these policies on the competitive bulk electric market, including the associated impacts on the use, development and pricing of renewable energy sources.
“The School of Management strives to be recognized as a thought leader in the renewable energy space for the State of New York and the nation,” said Lawrence G. Singleton, Dean of the School of Management, “We value our relationships with the Business Council of New York and THREI as part of that process. We were pleased to once again host this important conference.”
Partnering with Marist College and THREI was logical, said Darren Suarez, director of Government Affairs of the Business Council of New York State. “I had attended the conference in multiple years,” he said. “We saw value in partnering with THREI and Marist to bring the conference to more of our statewide members. It’s traditionally held in March, but this year we held it in June. BCNY helped to develop the conference in concert with THREI and Marist in terms of agenda, speakers and overall content. We were always working towards continuity with the themes out there: opportunities for renewable energy to enter the market place. Because of the multitude of the speakers, this conference was a unique opportunity for all of the different parties to have a real discussion and dialogue. The Hudson Valley is well known as the birthplace of the environmental movement, and married with the school’s (Marist’s School of Management) commitment to business and the economic well-being of business [it was the right match].”
“I chair The Hudson Renewable Energy Institute (THREI) which was the organizer of all three conferences,” said Alan Page, who also is a principal with A. Page & Associates LLC. “The mission of the Institute is to promote the use and development of renewable energy through competitive market mechanisms. The Institute looks to educate on ways to develop renewable energy by eliminating restrictions which have accrued over the years based upon antiquated ways of approaching the market place requiring subsidies.
“This immediate past year marked the first year that the conference brought on partners who have the same educational philosophy of a competitive market place for promoting renewables. For this year's conference, Marist and BCNY decided to sponsor the conference along THREI. Prior to this year, Marist would be the conference host and THREI would pay foray Marist out-of-pocket costs. Now Marist, the BCNY, and THREI help in the development of the conference and share the proceeds of any net margin above costs.”
Page said the conference examined The New York Energy Highway initiated by Governor Andrew Cuomo when he took office. “The New York Energy Highway is structured to modernize the energy systems in New York State. The conference also examined the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's (FERC) Order 1000, which looks at planning by regional electric transmission system entities such as a Central Hudson or a New York Independent System Operator (NYISO).”
Page praised Marist College’s contributions to the conference of the past three years. “Marist has provided world class facilities and educational resources to support a conference, which looks to
examine ways to improve on renewable energy delivery. This year, the Dean of the Marist School of Management (Dr. Lawrence G. Singleton) provided his leadership to direct parts of the conference towards integration with the Marist community, as well as contributing to the direction of educational content in the conference for participants outside the Marist community.”
The speakers brought in by THREI, BCNY and Marist College proved to be enlightening. “The speakers on the New York Energy Highway, FERC Order 1000, and the New York Energy Czar Richard Kauffman provided their insights for what would be occurring in the future. Such insights were instructive and provided participants with expert thoughts to use in the future.”
Page said that he was pleased with overall effectiveness of the conference this year. “Many of the participants indicated to me that the conference was unique in its intellectual content. Most conferences are geared to a middle of the road approach which will be attractive to middle of the road participants. This conference at Marist is geared to those who would care to provide renewable energy leadership in the future. As such the conference, while answering questions for participants, also leaves them with questions which require their continued thinking and active participation in the energy market place.”
He sees the partnership between Marist and BCNY as fruitful. “From my standpoint I was delighted to see the participation of Marist’s School of Management and the Business Council and as a consequence the quality of the conference definitely improved. Dean Singleton's leadership was also very much welcomed.”
High school students take over Marist College!
For two weeks every summer, Marist College hosts high school students from around the country for an intensive introduction to college life. For students interested in pursuing business in college, Marist College’s AACSB-accredited School of Management offers an exciting, jam-packed introduction to the world of business and the practice of management. AACSB International accreditation places Marist among a very elite group - less than 5% of the world’s 15,671 business programs hold AACSB accreditation. Students follow a course of study based on the Marist courseBUS100, Introduction to Business and Management, where they learn the nature of managerial work, the history of managerial thought, planning and decision-making and an introduction to financial analysis. All of this is accomplished through the designing of a business plan for an imaginary theme park, challenging the students to create a business from the ground up.
Over the two weeks, the students are confronted with the growing challenges of the business world in the 21st century, are introduced to ground-breaking technology, are encouraged to examine the concept of business ethics in a modern workplace and gain an appreciation for the dynamics of management in real, thriving businesses courtesy of company visit field trips.
The 2014 Summer Business Institute (SBI) occurred from July 13 to July 26, and upon successful completion of the course, each student was able to earn three transferable college credits for BUS 100. “For the entire two-week period, the students worked extremely hard, keeping in step with being AACSB-accredited. The biggest complaint we get is that we work them too hard,” said Professor Kenneth Coletti, Director of Internships, Marist College School of Management, Senior Lecturer of Accounting and Management and Director, Summer Business Pre-College Program.
“It’s a pleasure to host these highly motivated high school students on campus every summer,” said Lawrence G. Singleton, Dean of the School of Management. “We have an excellent opportunity to show them what Marist College’s School of Management can offer, and the students get an inside look at what their freshman year at college will be like. We also take advantage of the industry resources in the Hudson Valley to introduce the students to the real business world.”
Twenty-seven students participated in this year’s SBI, said Coletti, including three scholarship students from the Success Academy located in the Bronx. When asked how challenging it is to squeeze an entire semester-long class into two weeks, Coletti laughed. “It’s extremely challenging, but gratifying, because you see improvement in the students every day. The students come in thinking they understand what business is about. The reason we use the amusement park [design] as the final project is to remind them that business is still fun even though it’s still about maximizing shareholder profit.”
Coletti taught with co-educators Professor Rena Hill and Professor Scott Willmen. The students would learn about organizational behavior during the first half of the day, break for lunch, then return to study financial analysis and strategy in the afternoon. Students were largely responsible for developing their theme parks in small groups outside of class time. Into this schedule, the professors included several company visits.
“We visited the IBM Executive Briefing Center,” said Coletti. “We saw an excellent presentation about ‘Watson’ (the cognitive computing system), and the technology behind ‘Safe City,’ which worked well for the students’ final projects as it included safety procedures for parks including GPS for kids and license plate readers. We went to Lake Compounce (an amusement park located in Bristol, Connecticut), where Gerry Brick, general manager, gave an operations discussion. We also used the Cisco TelePresence in the Hancock Technology Center on campus to have a conference. We went to the Hudson Valley Renegades stadium to give the students an idea of the competition for discretionary, disposable income – how people make money by doing things that are fun.”
The fun must be easily accessible for the students – Coletti said that upwards of 90% of the high school students who attend SBI apply to Marist College. Only five or six students are actually accepted, however.