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Washington State University
Dividend - Fall 2019 The Next Carson Coug

Success for Every Carson Coug

Story by Suzi Billington and Tom Tripp • Photo by WSU Photo Services

In spring 2018, over 500 high school seniors and their parents visited Pullman to learn about WSU and the Carson College of Business. Their main question: how is the Carson College different from other business schools they visit? The answer is The Next Carson Coug initiative, a major upgrade to business education at WSU.

According to parents and high school seniors, what they find most impressive is that the Carson College begins developing the professional and interpersonal skills of students from their first day on campus, and that our program upgrades will develop competencies that employers value most. Newly emphasized competencies include communication skills, teamwork/collaboration, professionalism/work ethic, and career management.

All of these competencies are incorporated within the new curriculum and through cocurricular requirements (activities that are not part of classes and coursework). As The Next Carson Coug initiative is implemented, the Carson Center team will support student success through the following efforts:

  • Teaching BA 102: Exploring Careers in Business. Seventy-five percent of college students either start college as undecided or change their major at least once. In this career decision-making class required for all Carson freshmen, students participate in activities to help them better understand their interests and values, and to research careers so they can make an informed decision about their major. Studies show that students who make informed decisions based on personal goals and values will be more engaged in college and successful academically, personally, and professionally.
  • Managing the Carson Career Amplifier Program. This cocurricular program increases student participation in activities and programs where they can learn from industry leaders, network with alumni and professionals, develop leadership skills, and strengthen their professional communication skills. Examples include learning experiences like the McKinney Trek, where students learn about business careers in public service, or the Carson EDGE program that supports first-generation college students with peer mentors and specialized academic and career support.

Meanwhile, faculty have been hard at work crafting the new courses and highly interactive in-class experiences Carson Cougs will thrive in. For instance, the faculty teaching the new introductory course met biweekly throughout the spring and summer, including newly hired faculty who had not even officially started at WSU. They are not holding back; their students will experience the case-based approach to teaching that one typically sees in senior-level and MBA courses. Why wait? Indeed, in one class, 50 out of 51 students were speaking up and participating the first week of class. Other faculty are now busy revising the introductory hospitality and business management course, which for years has successfully engaged and socialized hospitality students, for all business students.

As an alumna of WSU’s Carson College of Business (Suzi), and as a 28-year veteran of WSU (Tom), we are proud to be a part of one of the most comprehensive curricular upgrades in the college’s history. The Carson College is well on its way to becoming the top business school in the Pacific Northwest.

Suzi Billington and Tom Tripp