High Standards for Business Students Begin with Mouse Ears

  • Dr. Gary Ewen, Dean of CCU's School of Business and Leadership
Visitors to Disneyland in April 2010 may have seen Dr. Gary Ewen, Dean of CCU's School of Business and Leadership, crowned 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, stakeholders).

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 Christ-centered college."

"As it says in Luke 12:48, 'To whom much is given, much will be asked.' Well, we're doing the initial asking."

Related Stories