Experiential learning plays a key role in Business Consulting course

Brick wall with Marietta College

Marietta College faculty are always looking for ways to add an experiential learning component to their courses.

Dr. John Fazio, Assistant Professor of Management, has found the perfect way to blend time in the class with experience in the real world in his Business Consulting course (Management 454). During the 2021 spring semester, 22 students were divided into four teams and they independently worked to solve problems and improve performance at four local nonprofit organizations.

Marietta’s Director of Civic Engagement Maribeth Saleem-Tanner said her office has partnered with Dr. Fazio’s class for the past six years to support service learning in the course.

“It’s a great learning experience for the students, who get to work alongside passionate nonprofit professionals and volunteers as they develop their ability to successfully partner with clients to create positive outcomes,” she said. “It’s also a wonderful opportunity for nonprofits, who get the experience of presenting their organizations and projects to the students and working alongside the student team. Each year, we’ve ended up with a competitive process because so many local organizations are interested in the chance to work with students on these projects. We can tell by the response that it’s an opportunity that the nonprofits are enthusiastic about and need. It’s a good learning experience for the students, too, which is the gold standard for a ‘win-win’ in service learning.”

Extensive experiential learning, professional opportunities and integrated leadership training allow students to apply the broad knowledge and in-demand skills gained from studying the arts and sciences.

This year’s students completed consulting projects at four southeastern Ohio nonprofit organizations: O’Neill Senior Center, Boys and Girls Club of Washington County, Ohio River-Valley Red Cross and the Ohio-West Virginia Youth Leadership Association.

The student team of Kyle Gallagher ’21 (Chesterland, Ohio), Justin Harvey ’21 (Canal Winchester, Ohio), Maguire Morris ’21 (Dover, Ohio), Troy Pontius ’21 (Salesville, Ohio) and John Powers ’22 (Somerville, Ohio) organized and marketed a golf fundraiser for the O’Neill Senior Center. They also generated $800 to help with the purchase of a new vehicle to help with transporting area senior citizens.

Cheyenne Barker ’21 (Belpre, Ohio), Bailee Brooks ’21 (Akron, Ohio), Jason Ellis ’21 (Marion, Ohio), Gage Giovengo ’21 (Benwood, West Virginia) and Tay Pryor ’22 (Canton, Ohio) helped the Boys and Girls Club of Washington County by preparing a marketing plan that included social media, posters, brochures and a video to help the organization gain greater exposure to local youth.

The local Red Cross has worked to incorporate college students as members of the organization’s internal committees. The consulting team of Audrey Albright ’21 (Moraine, Ohio), Dylan Albright ’21 (Florence, South Carolina), Nick Brown ’21 (Kenton, Ohio), Stephen Harris ’21 (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania), Embrey Roberts ’21 (Marietta, Ohio) and Logan Vietmeier ’22 (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) prepared a detailed marketing plan incorporating point-of-contacts, recruiting materials and recommendations for the most effective means of recruiting college students.

“Our end goal is to have one to two student volunteers from each college that falls into the Ohio River-Valley Red Cross Region they cover,” said Audrey Albright. “The student volunteers would be a ‘silent member’ on one of their six committees to give advice on tasks, bring a new point of view to the board, and gain leadership experience.”

The final group helped the Ohio-West Virginia Youth Leadership Association develop a social media marketing plan, as well as organize a 5K race. The student team included Jacey Barth ’21 (Lowell, Ohio), Kaitlyn Carpenter ’21 (Pickerington, Ohio), Eli Egyed ’21 (Gibsonia, Pennsylvania), Will Rafferty ’21 (Moorestown, New Jersey), Sam Rojas ’21 (Bronx, New York) and Manning Shaw ’21 (Hollywood, South Carolina).

“It was a fantastic opportunity to help the youth of our communities,” Barth said.