Dean Lewis and President Pinto examine Lindner and UC’s merging missions
Co-op, student experience and the impact of the Big 12 among other discussed topics
Prior to the end of the 2022-23 academic year, UC President Neville Pinto, PhD, visited Lindner Dean Marianne Lewis, PhD, in her office for a conversation centered around Lindner and UC’s converging pathways.
'Empowering business problem solvers’ and ‘Next Lives Here,’ the respective missions of Lindner and UC, are a coalescence of two entities whose purpose is to drive innovation and academic excellence.
Pinto: First of all, Lindner is doing a terrific job. It's one of the exemplars of how colleges should be thinking about our future as a university. And its growth — both in quality and impact — on the increasing number of students you are educating, has been inspiring. And I think that’s because we have common values in what the university should be. I love your focus on problem solving. Problems are not always just problems and issues to be solved — opportunities can open up when you solve problems.
It’s important to recognize that society expects us to solve problems that we are facing today. Faculty have to use the skills and capabilities they have to educate not only the next generation of leaders, but also engage their scholarship to solve the problems of today. And that manifests in different ways. In my own field, classically, it’s the lab type of investigation that is applied. In the business world, it's really about taking expertise out into the world and using it in a way that allows individuals, businesses and other entities to progress.
Lewis: I couldn't agree more. Something that we talk about increasingly with students — as well as alumni — is the power of business as a problem-solving toolkit. From analytics and accounting to marketing and finance, business problem solvers help organizations thrive and achieve their missions. And helping organizations — nonprofits, startups, higher education, governments and corporations — to thrive transforms lives and communities. In this way, business becomes a power for greater good. And that's a key part of the kinds of problem solvers that we're developing, too.
Transforming lives, organizations and communities, ensuring students fully engage as Lindner and UC grow, and refining their program innovations remain a top priority for all.
Lewis: Lindner and UC both welcomed their largest, most academically accomplished and most diverse first-year classes this past fall.
Pinto: That’s not usual.
Lewis: No, it’s not. And I appreciate that you see that, too, because you know how I feel about ‘both/and thinking.’ I don't think we have to make tradeoffs. But I do think we have to be very intentional if we're going to keep key goals — quality, inclusion and growth — working in the same direction. That's not an easy thing to do. I think we can keep our bar high, and fuel both our pipelines and student success. That's my dream.
Pinto: From where I sit, with responsibility for the university as a whole, I would argue that it is our public responsibility to do that because we're in a knowledge economy. We need to educate a larger percentage of our population. We have to make access a part of the equation, because that's the only way we can start to reach those populations that have not in the past benefited from terrific institutions like ours. We have to grow our impact in terms of the size and the quality of education. Both have to happen simultaneously.
Lewis: I treasure our access-driven mission because I think education is so powerful. And because co-op is in our DNA, as well as being a Research 1 institution, it makes us a really special place for grit and excellence to come together.
Pinto: Yes, that's a good way to put it. I remember when I came to UC as a young faculty member and first taught here, I realized students are very different because of their co-op experience. They bring to the classroom that seriousness of purpose. This, along with the grit necessary in practice, is embedded in the character of our graduates. All because of co-op.
Lindner embraces universal co-op to ensure students develop vital skills, confidence and connections for a successful career.
Lewis: I believe co-op is one of the greatest distinctions we offer. But it's also about that DNA you described in the classroom, because we do a lot of project-based learning in classrooms. We let students practice and then reflect, and sometimes practice means failure, and that’s vital to continuous learning and to resilience. Co-op and experience-based learning is so distinctive and integral to UC.
Pinto: It offers us a huge additional advantage because the world is changing so rapidly around us. The traditional learning outcomes for our graduates have to be enhanced with other capabilities that allow them to be successful today and in the future. The co-op work environment automatically brings aspects of learning that are hard to replicate in the classroom.
In the real world, it is a given that you have to operate at a level of required professional excellence, but also at increasing speed defined by enhanced competition. So, in the classroom, you were taught to go from A to B to C and check every step. All that is good. But you also now have to learn, ‘When can I jump 'B' with an acceptable risk and get to ‘C’ because I need to get to the result faster.’ That can only be learned through practice. It's hard to simulate that in the classroom.
UC’s move to the Big 12 Conference and synergy with its new university partners brings excitement and expanding reach.
Lewis: At a recent alumni event in Dallas, I learned that alumni who are located in the Big 12 footprint are really energized. They're going to have more opportunities to connect. It also changes our ability to engage, bring our family together and have more reunions.
Pinto: We've got a good match of culture and values with the schools that are part of the Big 12. I've been meeting with their presidents, and it's just a great match for us.
This conversation has been edited for length and clarity. All photos by Andrew Higley/UC Creative + Brand.
The Lindner Advantage
The Carl H. Lindner College of Business empowers business problem solvers to tackle the world’s challenges, fueling professional growth through a distinctive combination of academic and hands-on experiences: our problem-solving mindset, cooperative education, flexible pathways, inclusive community and Cincinnati setting.