WSU is advancing Washington industries …
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WSU works with state commodity commissions to conduct needed agricultural research …
WSU developed the technology used for wood-plastic composites used for buildings …
WSU researchers work to improve dairy productivity and reduce disease …
WSU research has made Washington one of the world’s most productive wheat-growing regions …

Cougar Chat, In the News, Land grant mission in action, improving everyday lives

WSUV “MAP” Program. Land grant mission in action, improving everyday lives

Picture of WSU Van setting

Welcome to our second in a series of posts that will extend information about WSU’s land grant mission and demonstrate how our university is increasing knowledge, providing research, and making a difference in our everyday lives. This week, we feature the academic programs of WSU Vancouver. We ask you to “Take Five” minutes and share these stories with your legislators by logging on and logging in as WSU Impact member. We offer samples and tips to spread the good word, because WSU is doing amazing things here in the state, country, and world. Go Cougs!

Washington State University Vancouver’s campus is in a beautiful, if not spectacular setting.  Located in Southwest Washington, the campus sits atop a forested hill with adjacent meadows and streams. Designed on an axis that results in unobstructed views of Mount St. Helens to the northeast, and Mt. Hood to the east, the buildings are integrated with wetlands, old growth trees, and grasslands common to the region.wsu vancougar 1

The important mission complements the natural setting. Founded in 1989, WSU Vancouver is Southwest Washington’s only four-year research university, which provides world-class education to over 3000 students of all ages with more than 150 PhD professors. This urban campus offers 20 bachelor’s degrees, nine master’s degrees, two doctoral degrees, and 37 fields of study.

On a recent visit to the campus, WSU Impact came away impressed, particularly with academic programs that are designed with the community in mind, including several that will help support the economy in the greater Vancouver area.

WSU Vancouver – Partnership in Action
The land grant mission of WSU inherently extends learning and knowledge within the communities it serves. WSU Vancouver has active partnerships with almost 50 local public, private, and not-for-profit entities to provide quality educational experiences for its students and support the economic growth and social fabric of the local region.

A program that lives up to the best of the land grant mission is the Business Growth Mentor and Analysis Program or “MAP” in the College of Business. The program provides pro-bono, student-conducted analysis and consulting services to small businesses in the area to help the “clients” grow and prosper. Students, faculty , and mentors – often retired business people or non-profit leaders in the community – work with small businesses or non-profits to help troubleshoot issues that might be hampering their success. Additionally, the program seeks clients representing under-served populations and entrepreneurs.

The win-win structure of this program is significant. Students in the program gain practical experience in the real world of management; from problem identification to problem solving. Students — working with faculty and program mentors — provide analysis and advice that bolster the management success of the clients. In turn, the partnership advances overall economic development in the Southwest Washington/Portland metropolitan area. Having students engage with the community and the community being able to partner with the university benefits both the students and local economy.

Picture1WSUV MAP program

From left to right: Lisa Littleton, president of Twice the Light, Cline Frasier, team mentor, Kirk Koskiniemi, Ian Long, Justin Goder, and Whitney Isaacson, the MAP student team

Since MAP launched, over 300 students have gone through the program, 50 community mentors have actively volunteered, and 79 organizations have been assisted through student-led consultancy. Between 2011 and 2012, the program directly helped to increase over $1.5 million in new revenue for clients  and created seven new employees with full time jobs.

The future looks bright. The WSU Vancouver MAP program seeks to be a valued partner in assisting in regional economic development. MAP is expanding its student-led consulting to organizational “start ups”, which will include aspects on how to gain capital.

MAP works with partners to support a network for entrepreneurs and provide resources to help the network flourish and grow. The program will further develop student entrepreneurial talent by establishing scholarships, internships and possible employment opportunities. MAP is also developing a consultancy program to help graduating students start their own businesses or move into established business consultant firms.

In  a Nutshell
The power of this creative program is obvious. Immersing students with real-world problems and the chance for analysis leading to solutions means a WSU Vancouver MAP graduate can hit the ground running when it comes to the fundamentals of managing an enterprise. Volunteer community mentors provide students the opportunity to learn from experience. Combined with the classroom knowledge gained in the WSU Vancouver College of Business, you have a recipe for success. Finally, the community benefits as clients served by the MAP program improve their management practices, which leads to successful organizations, jobs, and higher revenues.

Next in our series will be WSU Vancouver’s new Hospitality Business Management Program.

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