PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Business students at the University of Maine at Presque Isle will see permanent changes in the program now that the department faculty is partnering with a retired U.S. Air Force brigadier general to revamp some of the academic coursework.
College officials announced recently that the business faculty is tag-teaming with retired Air Force Brig. Gen. John Bubar to incorporate professional competencies into academic coursework at the university.
Claire Exner, chairman of the college of professional programs at UMPI, said late last week that Bubar helped design two courses and was involved in teaching one of them during the fall semester. Exner said that UMPI associate professor Robert Murray and Bubar combined to teach a special topics course in business administration.
Students in the special topics course learned project management skills, team building and leadership skills, while working on a project dealing with the campus’s commitment to sustainability. Exner said that along with providing valuable experience for the students, the course is helping the campus meet its American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment goals.
“We wanted to offer this special topics course in order to do as much as we could to prepare our students for what they will encounter in the work force,” Exner said. “We first offered it a year ago on an experimental basis and the feedback that we received was very positive. The students found it very valuable.”
Bubar served in the Air Force and Air National Guard for 36 years before retiring in 2006. During his time in the Air Force, Bubar served as an instructor and as the director of the Air National Guard’s commander development course. In addition to his military experience, Bubar worked for American Airlines as a pilot until 2005, when he retired.
Exner said that after the success of the experimental course, the university turned to Bubar to help them make it “more formal.”
With that accomplished, Bubar was tapped to provide additional assistance to university faculty. He is developing a course in collaboration with assistant professor of business management Carolyn Dorsey and Jacquelyn Lowman, assistant professor of journalism and mass communication. The course, strategic professional communication, will be a capstone course for seniors in the business administration program. It will focus on the oral and written communication skills needed by employees.
Exner said Bubar’s expertise and experience in the military, in business and in other positions “provided an opportunity for the business faculty to see the UMPI business program through a different lens.”
“John’s perspectives and insights have added a great deal to our curriculum development process,” she said late last week. “While this partnership with John began as an experiment, it has been so rewarding that we are looking forward to using it as a model for additional opportunities to collaborate with business leaders and others.”
Exner said that the business department plans to make the special topics course a requirement for business majors.