Visitors to Disneyland in April 2010 may have
seen Dr. Gary Ewen, Dean of CCU's School of Business and Leadership
with a set of Mickey Mouse ears and handing out ride passes. Was he off his
rocker? Far from it.
The longtime professor of management and
leadership was getting insider perspective on some new standards he planned to
introduce at CCU, modeled after Disney's highly revered business practices. For
example, business students must now wear professional attire on Thursdays, and
papers must be written with "exacting attention to detail" and never submitted
late. Just as in a well-run company, the business school will also seek regular
performance feedback from its "customers" (parents, administrators,
Even though enrollment goals have gone up, Ewen says
he's willing to lose students who don't agree with the new pace. He's after
those who want real-world training for their future professions, where
employers will count on them to lead and thrive in high-demand situations.
But what's it all have to do with roller coasters and mouse ears?
The springtime trip to California was a chance for Dr. Ewen and some
CCU seniors to visit the Disney Institute, the acclaimed branch of the company
whose cutting-edge culture and strategies are recognized as top in the world.
"Whenever anyone thinks of organizations that are successful, Disney comes to
mind," he explains. "Obviously, CCU isn't a theme park, but we can adapt
Disney's principles and commitment to excellence in everything we do."
Ewen also sees practical value in how these new standards will support CCU's
focus on Christian influence in the workplace. "How can you witness if you're
incompetent?" he challenges. A heightened focus on professional excellence
should provide a helpful solution.
The academic standard at CCU is
high, and Dr. Ewen promotes it without hesitation. As he puts it, "We have to
remember that our students represent less than one percent of one percent of
the human population, and they're not just going to college, but a
"As it says in Luke 12:48, 'To whom much
is given, much will be asked.' Well, we're doing the initial asking."