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Evolution of the Case Method with The Case Centre

In anticipation of #worldcaseteachingday, we were honored to be joined by the Director of The Case Centre, Richard McCracken, who discussed the evolution and future of case teaching and writing with leaders from GBSN member schools at our February Cross-Border Collab.

Cross-Border Collabs are exclusive gatherings reserved for GBSN members ambassadors and Deans, focused on engaging our community to tackle some of the greatest challenges of our time. Collabs, scheduled every first Thursday of the month, are an opportunity to learn from industry experts and connect with other members in the network.  

Richard’s presentation was designed around the central idea that “the Case Method is an agent of change.” He started by listing common criticism of the case method, namely that it is a very western-centric method and enforces the leadership of big corporations which emphasizes their power and engagement with students. In his opinion this notion is rather a criticism of the cases that are written, not a criticism of the case method itself. Case studies are well-positioned to act as an agent of change, as they act as facilitators of questions and challenge the understanding, not just monitor the level of understanding.

Cases have the following benefits: 

1. Case studies link research and teaching, theory and practice

The writer can take a case into the classroom to have a stronger impact and even bring in a representative of the company (if local). A case is just one of multiple outputs of research and can be a self-reflective tool to look for improvement in processes. Finally, accreditation agencies look for case studies. 

2. It strengthens the connection between the school and the local business community.

Writers will draw upon their own contacts and therefore should also write about their own alumni who made smaller businesses or social enterprises. A stronger connection can lead to further opportunities, e.g. internships for students, more respect for the company and the possibility to write further case studies on different aspects. Additionally, companies can use cases as recruitment tools and introduction tools.

Case Writing Trends

Cases are increasingly being written for online and hybrid classes, making them shorter, more chunked and integrated with exercises. Teaching notes have also adopted new formats, incorporating comic strips, multimedia or virtual reality. 

“Furthermore, they often follow the “write local, act global” approach, writing about the local business community which then becomes interesting for other parts of the world.”

They also include more diverse protagonists, e.g. Haas Business School has built an observatory focused on diversity and inclusion

The Case method is by its nature adaptable and ready for online teaching. It can act as an agent of change, bring in new aspects and more engagement with local businesses as well as increasing the impact of the school on the local business community. 

Cross-Border Collab: Choose to Challenge, March 4

A challenged world is an alert world. Individually, we’re all responsible for our own thoughts and actions – all day, every day. We can choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequity. We can choose to seek out and celebrate women’s achievements. Collectively, we can all help create an inclusive world. From challenge comes change, so let’s all choose to challenge.

This Collab takes place a few days before international women’s day – a day we celebrate the heroic acts of courage, determination, and perseverance of ordinary women. This year’s theme #ChooseToChallenge highlights the importance of pursuing change for a more inclusive world. The pandemic has exposed societal inequalities, but it has also brought forth an increased effort to support vulnerable populations. Dr. Margee Ensign has been a champion of change throughout her career. As former  president of the American University of Nigeria, Dr. Ensign is recognized internationally for her work with the Adamawa Peace Initiative which promoted peace through education, empowerment, and community development in response to the Boko Haram crisis. Currently, Dr. Ensign is the president of Dickinson College. Under her leadership the school has created a continuing education program for women whose education has been interrupted by conflict and continues to emphasize the importance of international learning.

As an internationally recognized leader for her pioneering academic and humanitarian work, we celebrate the impact of Dr. Ensign’s work. Leaders from GBSN member institutions are invited to join GBSN and Dr. Ensign to collectively explore questions:

  • How can universities confront social inequalities and racial injustice to create more supportive learning environments for all? What are leaders doing differently now? What will it really take to achieve a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive learning environment?
  • How can universities teach with a more inclusive mindset — that we’re all in this together, and must advance cooperatively or risk not advancing at all?
  • How are universities confronting real problems and expanding service to their local and global communities? and how can universities collaborate to collectively confront these challenges?
  • How do we build programs that offer the necessary skills and mindset that prepares the next generation for more unprecedented challenges on a global level? 

Lena Hoffmeister is the International Research and Programs Fellow at the Global Business School Network. In this position, Lena supports the management and administration for GBSN’s programs. She also is conducting research about the latest trends in business education. Lena was the first international intern at GBSN in 2017-2018, assisting in the planning of the GBSN 2017 Annual Conference and leadership summits. Afterward, she interned at a policy center in Turkey and worked at a training center for Syrian refugee children and young adults in Jordan. Her interests include education, sustainable development, and gender equality. In her free time, she also advocates for climate action and the reduction of plastic waste.