With a 157-year tradition of anticipating future trends, Bryant University continues to adapt and innovate its curriculum and teaching practices to ensure students are prepared for success in a rapidly changing world.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, dedicated faculty teamed up to develop a new course to help students be better prepared to meet this unprecedented moment. Navigating a Crisis is a virtual Honors seminar for the fall 2020 semester that will address the leadership, communication, economic, and financial challenges associated with an unexpected crisis.
From conception to at-capacity in eight weeks
Nimble Bryant faculty, who practice the innovative principles they teach, developed the course in just eight weeks, beginning in June. The class is now at full capacity with 15 undergraduates and 15 alumni signed up, and will be taught by an interdisciplinary group of faculty members (listed below), each leading an in-depth discussion based on his or her area of expertise.
“We are trying to look at the pandemic from many angles, from a range of disciplines."
“We are trying to look at the pandemic from many angles, from a range of disciplines,” says Michael Roberto, D.B.A., Trustee Professor of Management, who led the development of the course with support from fellow faculty members, Provost and Chief Academic Officer Glenn M. Sulmasy, JD, LL.M, College of Arts and Sciences Interim Dean Wendy Samter, College of Business Dean Madan Annavarjula, and the Office of the Registrar.
This is not the first time Bryant faculty were quick to rise to the current challenges. Just this summer, when many jobs and internships were cancelled, 35 faculty members volunteered their time to organize the Virtual Summer Research Village, a program that provided experiential learning and research opportunities for 75 students.
Designed for undergraduates and alumni
One of the many distinctive elements of the class is that alumni, all with at least five years of experience, will participate in the class. “We are going to be in class together, as equals,” notes Roberto. “There are a lot of ways that alumni interact with students, but this is different.”
"We are going to be in class together, as equals. There are a lot of ways that alumni interact with students, but this is different.”
Each student will be paired with an alumnus who, in addition to participating as a student, will also serve as a mentor throughout the semester. This is an invaluable opportunity for students to learn from the experience of the alumni and hear their strategies for navigating the landscape.
According to Roberto, this is the first class where undergraduates and alumni are learning together. “We are asking the alumni to do all the readings, participate in each class session, and in the discussion boards.”
Alumni will receive a certificate of completion through the Executive Development Center and continuing education units for their participation, which shows their commitment to lifelong learning.
By the end of the course, students will be well-prepared to face the many obstacles caused by a global health crisis, or any other unexpected crisis. Students will be able to structure and lead teams in high-stakes, high-stress conditions; analyze important economic data; make strategic decisions based off ambiguous information; manage mission-critical projects; understand how to resolve major disruptions to global supply chains; and more.
Navigating a Crisis faculty:
The course instructors represent diverse industries, including labor markets, banking, financial technology, supply chain, and leadership.
- Laura Beaudin, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Economics
- Allison Butler, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology
- Lori Coakley, Ph.D., Professor of Management
- Robert Massoud, MBA, Lecturer of Management
- Teresa McCarthy, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Marketing
- Peter Nigro, Ph.D., Professor of Finance and Sarkisian Chair in Financial Services
- Kathryn Ostermeier, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Management
- Michael Roberto, D.B.A., Trustee Professor of Management
- Edinaldo Tebaldi, Ph.D., Professor of Economics