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WACRA Mannheim, July 2002
Perspectives of a New Member and a New Ed.D.


John R. Savarese, Ed.D.
recent Dowling College Graduate

As a recent graduate, WACRA 2002 awarded me the opportunity to present my first academic/doctoral paper. Twenty-five years of business and management experiences should have created a sense of confidence and ease for this task. Admittedly, I was nervous. This presentation to my new peer group was rehearsed so frequently; family and friends began to avoid eye contact for fear that I might ask for one more presentation reaction.

Doctoral Consortium Participants:
Dr. John Saverese,  Prof. Dr. Korynne, 
Taylor-Dunlop, Dr. Mary Sweeney, 
Prof.  Dr. Robert Manley (left to right)

These concerns disappeared soon after my arrival in Mannheim. The hospitality of our German hoists, WACRA's organizational skills, the eagerness to please that was always obvious from Mannheim University For Public Administration students, and the wonderful fellowship from the international array of educators, quickly restored my confidence and dissipated my concerns.

My dissertation as well as my WACRA presentation focused on education and business partnerships. The dissertation identifies a business-education partnership model that simultaneously offsets typical partnership dilemmas and further facilitates learning. The model was surveyed among 60 Community Colleges involved in a Microsoft Corporation partnership called Working Connections. The respondents identified the model components as both practiced and further included higher desirable mean scores. The business-education partnership facilitated learning by promoting relationships that encouraged change and exchange. Examples include business and industry councils, faculty exchanges, business exchanges, new faculty attraction and retention, improved teacher and student self-confidence, new grant opportunities. Learning in effect cascades and multiplies as exchange takes place.

WACRA 2002 involved a partnership among educators, administrators and government that facilitated a learning community. More than seventy-five lectures, papers, and panels were presented during the four-day conference. These presentations provided insight into a range of subject matter, focusing on case method research and interactive teaching and learning. The partnerships at WACRA 2002 facilitated learning as relationships between people and ideals were nourished and exchanged. 

As a new WACRA member my appreciation and understanding of case teaching methodologies was limited. This perspective changed after attending several lectures and panel discussions. "A Structured Case Model For Teaching Business Ethics" presented by Dr. Ruth Ann Althaus, (St. Xavier University, Chicago, Illinois), demonstrated the flexibility of curriculum that can benefit from case method teaching. . Dr. Radbourne's (Queensland University, Brisbane Australia), presentation on Multi-Layered Multi-Media Case teaching in business education, incorporated real time case study methods. This approach provided opportunities for numerous course curriculum development, staff development and student achievement. Dr. Sallustio (Pace University, New York) presented a skillful demonstration of interactive language learning in "Teaching and Assessing Language Skills and Cultural Competence Through Role Play". "Germany and the Germans: Facts, Clichés, and Prejudices" presented by Dr. Elisabeth Hermes was informative and entertaining. The case colloquium and workshop programs provided opportunities to hear from the experts as panels reviewed cases and provided constructive critiques. These are only five examples of the more than seventy-five lectures and panels that demonstrate the range of learning exchanges at WACRA 2002. 

The significance of the WACRA 2002 conference was underscored by the willingness of participation from important government representatives. Meetings with the Lord Mayor of Mannheim as well as the Lord Mayor of Heidelberg are evidence of the importance of education among local German government communities.

My past involvement in business-education conferences creates an appreciation for the amount of effort involved in developing and presenting successful international conferences. Thank you Dr. Klein and Dr. Egle, (also known as Hans and Franz), for introducing me to my first doctoral presentation and setting a standard of learning for my future conference participation.