|“The Faculty Fellows program is a great resource for any company to tap into and capitalize on,” says faculty fellow sponsor and alumnus
Tom Mauss (right).
|Technology & Operations Management professor Henry Co and department chair Hassan Halati are working with Mauss to improve and streamline the company?s warehouse operations.|
|“We want our students to learn by doing, so we should be teaching by doing,” says faculty fellow Henry Co.|
Louis and Company realized that to continue its substantial growth as a leading cabinet hardware distributor, the company would need to discover innovative methods of warehousing millions of dollars of products. Company President Thomas Mauss, a '96 MBA alumnus, could have hired a consulting company to tackle this challenge but instead chose to partner with Cal Poly Pomona's College of Business Administration (CBA) Faculty Fellows program.
CBA launched the Faculty Fellows program this year, allowing regional businesses an opportunity to tap into expert resources, including faculty and eager students, to meet their business administration and management challenges. Bridging the worlds of practice, theory and research, these faculty and student teams are available to tackle the everyday business challenges faced by small and large businesses.
Brea-based Louis and Company became the first business to sponsor a faculty fellow, professor Henry Co of the Technology & Operations Management department. During the 2005-06 academic year, Co and department chair Hassan Halati are researching ways to improve and streamline the company's warehouse operations. They are evaluating current methods and developing specific recommendations for operations improvement, eliminating inefficiencies and increasing productivity and operational quality.
The partnership appealed to Mauss because, he says, university faculty have a greater awareness of new knowledge and methods than industry consultants.
“Because Cal Poly Pomona is a polytechnic university, not only do we receive academic support, but also the help were getting is coming from faculty who are experienced in working with companies in the industry,” says Mauss, who serves as president of the college's alumni chapter.
As a faculty fellow sponsor, Louis and Company donated $12,000 to CBA, a portion of which is considered a charitable gift to the college with the remainder supporting research expenses and faculty development.
In exchange, Co and Halati will have the chance to publish their research and also use the experience as a real-life, valuable case study, an important contribution to their teaching and the academic experience.
“We want our students to learn by doing, so we should be teaching by doing,” says Co. “Doing something in the real world allows us to transfer what we've learned to our students. If we don't do, we can't teach. Books are never enough.”
The Faculty Fellows program finds solutions to real-life business questions and projects while drawing upon the expertise of the faculty and offering students a real-life-based learning experience. Halati says the experience definitely transfers back to the classrooms. In fact, one student is already conducting a senior project on the research at Louis and Company.
In addition to Louis and Company, CBA is in the process of negotiating several other faculty fellows projects — including evaluation of new software security programs, enterprise software systems, business processes and logistics — to support lean manufacturing and distribution systems in highly congested traffic areas.
The college continues to seek additional faculty fellowship opportunities. Other areas of faculty expertise include accounting, computer information systems, e-business, finance, real estate & law, human resources management, international business, marketing and promotions, and strategy and logistics.
Several fellowship sponsor levels, from $12,000 to $25,000, are established at the college, each with varying company benefits. In return, companies will receive business solutions grounded in research and best practices from faculty and students.
“It's an extraordinary service that the university can provide to businesses,” says Mauss. “The Faculty Fellows program is a great resource for any company to tap into and capitalize on.”
Fellowships such as these are vital at Cal Poly Pomona, where the colleges are faced with dwindling budgets and increased need for scholarly research, says Halati.
“There is a demand that research become relevant to real-world experience, which will contribute to the advancement of knowledge,” he says.