Pitt Business Magazine

FALL 2022

Learning by Doing

New center focuses on putting theory into practice

// Centers Update

Pitt Business has long emphasized that learning by doing enables students to put into practice the theories discussed in class. The newly created Center for Integrated Learning will more effectively bring together interdisciplinary faculty experts and external local, national, and global partners to drive research, experiential learning, and community-based work for students.  

Sara Moeller, associate dean of Graduate Programs and Executive Education, said the new center’s goals include “a more cohesive organization of our primary principles.” 

“We want to stretch our value proposition to pre-admission and post-graduation, provide a suite of opportunities for individual and corporate engagement, and, as a result, further establish Pitt Business as business experts,” she added. 

The center recently received a $771,359, three-year grant through the Southwestern Pennsylvania New Economy Collaborative for the Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Robotics Expansion Project. The funding enables Katz to expand its relationship with Catalyst Connection, a not-for-profit that helps small companies accelerate revenue growth and improve productivity. Katz will provide more than 100 Pitt students for technical, strategic, and market consulting to 27 small- and medium-sized businesses in various industries. Read this article for more details.

Strategy: Three Key Elements 

While the center will initially focus on Katz’s graduate programs, it will promote learning excellence throughout Pitt Business. The strategy is focused on enhanced consolidation of these three elements in a student’s experience: 

Integrated Curriculum

Core courses are coordinated to serve as the foundation, i.e., economics and accounting courses share the same case study or challenge question. The Integrated Learning Academy challenges students to analyze an industry-specific issue while “Game Changers” are condensed courses to explore a topic disrupting business in a faculty member’s area of expertise.  

Experiential Curriculum 

Examples include Consulting Field Projects that partner students with a client organization and get support from a faculty mentor and an executive coach to learn management consulting through a real-world problem. The “Six Sigma: Theory and Practice” course put students in teams guided by a Black Belt mentor. Other courses engage companies with needs related to commercializing new technologies, customer journey mapping, and data analytics, among others. 

Beyond the Classroom Experiences

For additional ways to engage with business professionals and work on real-world challenges, the Katz Invitational Case Competition (the 2021 topic was equity, diversity, and inclusion in the workplace), Super Analytics Challenge (2022 topic: hunger and food security), and Bridge Program (for experience-rich internships) are among the annual opportunities offered to students. 

“This new center will drive instructional innovation by extending and enhancing partnerships across academic units, public-sector employers, nonprofits, and private industry,” says Moeller. “This will ensure that our learning objectives are relevant and the knowledge and skills are transferrable to help our students succeed in today’s business world.” 

Learn more about the Center for Integrated Learning.




Katz Invitational Case Competition winners