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Business Students Barter for Local Charities

Professor of Management Loren Dyck is pioneering a course to teach MBA students that business deals are not limited to exchanging money. The class, BUS 551: Seminar in Organization Theory and Behavior, breaks students into groups of four to five with the goal of going into the La Verne community and bartering a small $1 item for something of much greater value.

This project gives students four weeks to apply organizational theory and behavior concepts learned in class in a real-world setting. Some of the skills learned by students include practicing negotiation, analyzing the decision-making process, understanding emotional intelligence in the workplace, and fine-tuning methods of communication in a group.

“I developed this assignment to provide a common yet unique experiential exercise for each student team to learn and apply course concepts and theories in addition to traditional case studies,” Dyck said.

He said it was only a few years into implementing this project that his students came up with the idea to donate the items they bartered to local charities.

“I agreed and redesigned the assignment to subsequently reflect the requirement for each student team to find a local charitable organization to which they are to donate their final item,” Dyck said. “I continue to be inspired by students’ commitment to our university’s value of community and civic engagement as well as learning and applying course concepts and theories.”

As the course enters its tenth successful year, Dyck reports that students bartered and collected 29 items worth more than $8,000 for dozens of local charities. This year, students collectively bartered items that total nearly $300 in value. These items included:

Dyck’s class is just one example of how University of La Verne faculty are cultivating a community of changemakers. Check out the University of La Verne news page at ­­­­ to stay up to date with all the latest and greatest happening at the university.