21 Jul 2008
HBS Institutional Memory Web Site Adds New Feature
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BOSTON — Harvard Business School's Centennial Institutional Memory Web site has launched a new feature called "How Do You Educate to Transform?"

The feature (http://www.hbs.edu/centennial/im/inquiry/sections/2/) examines the pedagogies, teachers, classrooms, and technologies that have helped HBS fulfill its mission of educating leaders who make a difference in the world. The interactive, multimedia site, part of the HBS Centennial celebration, tells the story of the School's past 100 years through personal narratives and recollections of generations of faculty, staff, students, and alumni.

"This new feature provides thoughtful perspectives by those who study and practice business education at Harvard Business School on the many innovations HBS has created in teaching. The feature also explains the transformational effect of the School's extraordinary teaching model," said Mary Lee Kennedy, Executive Director of Knowledge and Library Services at HBS.

"How Do You Educate to Transform?" features four parts with links to audio and video materials:

  • A New Way of Teaching chronicles Harvard Business School's long tradition of teaching by the case method, which the School pioneered and established as a primary means of instruction soon after its founding. Visitors will learn how this teaching approach, which faculty have continuously refined, prepares students for the challenges of leadership. By working together daily to confront real-life business situations detailed in their cases, students engage in an intensive interactive learning experience. Through daily case discussions, they experience the realities of decision making, including incomplete information, time constraints, and conflicting goals. When students graduate, they leave HBS with a powerful set of analytical skills and the ability to work well with others - key elements in preparing for a lifetime of leadership.

  • Distinctive Teachers examines the Harvard Business School faculty and the finely honed talents they bring to the classroom, course development, and field-based research. This section also explores the School's custom of recruiting faculty from a wide range of academic and professional fields and disciplines, including political science, physics, history, and sociology. This rich academic diversity has fostered considerable interaction among faculty and encouraged the cross-fertilization of ideas. Visitors will learn how the School has put in place mechanisms such as the C. Roland Christensen Center for Teaching and Learning to help sustain its great teaching traditions. Named in honor of a longtime faculty member and legendary teacher, the Christensen Center supports and promotes teaching excellence and innovation at Harvard Business School.

  • New Classrooms illustrates the School's drive for perfection in teaching and its commitment to creating spaces that meet the specific requirements of the case method. Visitors will discover how the architecture and design of HBS classrooms facilitate--and enhance--the learning process and set the standard for other business schools around the world. They will also learn how HBS examines every classroom detail--from acoustics and lighting to blackboards and seating--to create the optimal atmosphere for learning. Finally, the section features an inside look at the detailed planning and design process behind the School's two main classroom buildings, Hawes Hall, completed in 2002, and its recently renovated neighbor, Aldrich Hall.

  • New Technologies chronicles the three great waves of technological innovation at the School in the 1960s, 1980s, and 1990s. It describes how technology first made its way into the classroom in the 1960s with the introduction into the required first-year MBA curriculum of a computer-based simulation exercise called the Business Game. The section also discusses the technological revolution that began at HBS in 2005 with an ambitious $11 million information technology (IT) initiative that put in place a far-reaching technological network supporting both the School's educational programs and administrative efforts. In this technology-rich environment, HBS faculty members partner with the School's IT staff to develop innovative tools that strengthen teaching and participant-centered learning. Online pre-matriculation courses in accounting, finance, quantitative analysis, and IT concepts, for example, allow entering students to learn fundamental concepts at their own pace, while electronic case studies introduce rich, multidimensional material into the curriculum. HBS classrooms, all equipped with the latest presentation, video production, and e-learning technology, can beam a case protagonist into class from a distant country or poll students at their seats about what decision an organization should make.

By combining these four elements - the case method, skilled teachers, carefully planned classrooms, and state-of-the art technology-the leaders of Harvard Business School have created over the years a unique teaching and learning environment that has long had a transforming effect on students.

"How Do You Educate to Transform?" is part of the Institutional Memory Project's "Inquiry and Innovation: 1908 - 2008" section, a lively multimedia presentation based on the book A Delicate Experiment: The Harvard Business School 1908-1945, by Jeffrey L. Cruikshank, and other historical accounts. "Inquiry and Innovation" chronicles the School's first century through the exploration of four questions that are being considered throughout the Centennial year:

  • What makes management a profession?
  • How do you educate to transform?
  • What makes institutions strong?
  • What knowledge stimulates growth?

Launched in February 2008, the Harvard Business School Institutional Memory Project lets visitors browse and comment on existing content as well as easily add new narratives and photographs from virtually anywhere on the site. "We want to hear from as many people as possible about their experiences at the School," said Project leader Melissa Shaffer.

The Institutional Memory site also links to the School's Centennial Web site, which contains information about other Centennial events and activities taking place in this country and around the world.