Transformed programs. Crafted opportunities. Changed lives. The first named college at Clemson University. These aren’t the grand aspirations of a business school on a projected five-year plan. They’re the principled realities of the Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business. Thanks to a $60 million gift given in October 2020 by philanthropists Wilbur “Billy” O. and Ann Powers and to the leadership stewarding this gift, the College has advanced its mission and the reputation of Clemson University.
When one college is strengthened, the entire University benefits, whether through the collective intellectual power and expertise of the faculty and staff, the expansion of interdisciplinary studies or a stronger Clemson Experience for students. The gift from Billy and Ann Powers is working to achieve the College’s mission. With Dean Wendy York at the helm, the plan has been set in motion, starting with new program launches and the expansion of existing programs.
Launched in Fall 2021, the Dean’s Global Leadership Program (DGLP) focuses on global awareness and leadership through academic coursework and experiential learning that help students gain cross-cultural understanding and develop the management skills needed to work on multinational teams in international environments. DGLP expands Clemson’s global learning and service, building on existing international business perspective courses, global engagement and leadership programs.
As part of the DGLP, two new courses, global business negotiations and global leadership lessons, instill confidence and a global mindset in students, positioning them to compete and succeed in today’s modern economy.
Following a successful pilot in Spring 2021, the College has also launched the Leadership Signature program, which will be approved in the Fall through the University curriculum committee and with the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education in Spring 2022. Under the guidance of Col. Keith Balts, USAF (retired), the Powers Executive Director for Leadership professor of practice, the program will provide academic coursework and experiential learning for students that address leadership theories, ethical decision-making, leading from the heart, intellect, assessment and more.
Students start with foundational courses, but as they progress through the program, they have an opportunity to lead portions of course training for younger students, providing hands-on opportunities to learn leadership and take an active role in teaching it.
Global business negotiations, taught by senior lecturer of legal studies Judson Jahn, builds self-assurance and communication skills for effective contract agreement, while global leadership lessons, taught by Jahn and Dean Wendy York, exposes students to global business issues, allows them to interact with organizational leaders and provides them with hands-on experience to undertake leadership roles in the future.
Upon completion, students will receive Certificates in Leadership. The Spring 2021 pilot is now the cornerstone practicum course of the Leadership Signature Program and is currently available for students seeking practicum credit hours in the DGLP.
Along with global knowledge and leadership, understanding business analytics is crucial to the success of organizations in today’s world. The ability to collect, examine and interpret data to measure efforts, create actions and report on results improves process from hiring to supply chain management. A new Business Analytics Signature Program is in development and with it a directorship to navigate the program. Along with growing the College’s research prominence, the program will provide students with enriched courses that teach in-demand skills.
To address high enrollment in the areas of management — the College’s largest major — and marketing, Clemson hired four faculty members in Fall 2021. Together, they will add 2,400 credit hours to the College and expand the courses offered to students.
In addition, $360,000 in support grants were created for Summer 2022 to accelerate research productivity. In August 2021, a call for proposals was issued. Currently, over 50 research proposals are being reviewed by the college grants committee and will be awarded in late Fall 2021.
The new faculty members are:
In addition to recruiting and retaining world-class faculty and the new rising stars of their fields, investing in them is essential. The expectation is set for faculty to continue producing leading-edge, R1-level research and graduating students who are equipped with leadership mindsets and the skills to innovate industries and address tomorrow’s challenges. The work happens in a variety of settings, from state-of-the-art classrooms to virtual meetings, but the exceptional commitment from faculty is consistent.
The Powers Fellows were created in 2021 to recognize performance excellence in teaching, research and academic service. In this inaugural year, seven highly productive faculty members have been designated as either Powers Distinguished Fellows or Powers Emerging Fellows, dependent upon whether they are senior or junior faculty.
These recipients were chosen from among 21 outstanding faculty nominations.
This year’s Powers Distinguished Fellows include:
This year’s Powers Emerging Fellows include:
A new scholarship program was developed to identify and reward merit- and need-based support for exceptional students in the Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business. Sixty thousand dollars in scholarships have been awarded to 30 outstanding recipients in 2021. Each of the scholarships was given to students now known as Powers Scholars.
One of the new Powers Scholars is Caleb Hannon of Buffalo, New York. When an injury ended his plans to play professional hockey, Hannon decided to relocate to the Clemson area after visiting his parents, who had moved to Seneca, South Carolina, five years prior. After he met some of the students, saw what campus life was like and attended a few football games, he decided to enroll for at least a semester and is now in his third year. An Honors College student majoring in management, with Spanish and travel and tourism minors, he had planned on graduating in three and a half years but decided to stay for an extra semester to study abroad and further enrich his college experience.
Designed to serve
Many articles have been written about the award-winning, five-story, state-of-the-art building that houses the Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business and stands as a gateway to Clemson University and global enterprise. At 176,000 square feet, it nearly doubles the size of the College’s previous Sirrine Hall location. However, one of the biggest benefits to business students is that it allows them to take 92 percent of classes for their majors in one location compared to 40 percent at the previous location.
“Walking through the business school and seeing any one of the 120-odd members in the business fraternity and kids that I’ve had classes with and faculty that I’m able to see in the halls and just talk about class and life, it’s finally become like a central point on campus for me and sort of like a home base,” said Hannon. “I get to see so many people that I know in there, whether it’s faculty or anyone from freshmen to seniors — all kind of relating on the same level at the same place. It really is truly a family community.”
In addition to being in the heart of campus and a two-minute walk from downtown Clemson, the building houses a restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating, a fireplace lounge and nearly 22,500 square feet of study space — creating places for relaxation, informal meetings with classmates and quiet areas to study.
Good things are just beginning
Along with time, transformations take leadership, collaboration and backing. Through supporting these signature programs and the innovative research and initiatives of the faculty and staff, the gift from Billy and Ann Powers has provided life-changing resources to students who endeavor to change the world. This generosity will continue the impact that the Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business has on the state of South Carolina, the nation and global industry.
The example set by Billy and Ann Powers and other supporters of the College demonstrates the power of gifts to transform buildings, departments, fields of study, industries and, most importantly, lives. These are the lives of first-generation college students who thought higher education was out of reach for them, the lives of professors on the verge of research breakthroughs that will propel their fields of study and the lives of millions of people impacted by the existence of Clemson University. Through these gifts, Clemson University has made a significant difference in the world, and through gifts like these, it will for generations to come.
Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business at a glance:
On the Rise
Since 2020, there has been a:
8.7% increase in undergraduate enrollment.
2.3% increase in graduate enrollment.
There were 10,680 undergraduate applications for Fall 2021 admission.
Since 2020, the first-year to second-year retention rate has grown from 92.8% to 93.8%.
Graduation rates have grown from 85.7% in 2020 to 89.3% in 2021.
38,411 living alumni.
Students currently enrolled in the College.
Staff are employed by the College.
Instructional faculty teach for the College at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
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