Kendall College Adds Online Degree Option –

Chicago-based Kendall College, founded in 1934, has experienced its fair share of growth in recent decades. In 1977, the school began offering four-year degrees and became fully accredited in 1979 as a bachelor’s degree-granting institution. While business programs were available in the early 70s, a new business program with updated curriculum was launched in fall 2007. And most recently, the school announced it would begin offering its bachelor’s business degree program online.

Online students can pursue a Bachelor of Arts in Business with the choice of four concentrations: management, small business management, food service management, and psychology. The 182-credit degree program includes 24 credits in the student’s choice of concentration.

Michelle Coussens, Dean of Kendall College School of Business

“The key point of our concentrations is the unique pockets or niches in which the classes are focused,” said Coussens. “All of the online programs at Kendall are extremely customized, or ‘Kendallized’, as we like to call it.”

Coussens said course study for each concentration focuses on professionalism and forward thinking approaches to technology and trends in the business field.

“Food service management focuses on the big business of food. It’s about working for the headquarters of a major food company,” she said. “Classes include food service production, ingredients, and consumer behavior.”

The management concentration provides a foundation for students with course work that includes business innovation, entrepreneurship, and global leadership.

Students pursuing a concentration in psychology will study interpersonal behaviors and take classes such as diversity in the work place, motivation, and sociology.

“Our small business management concentration touches on everything from the startup of a business to managing one, be it a virtual business, home business or a shop,” Coussens said. “Some of our students may not want to start a business right away, but just have that degree or knowledge in their back pocket.”

Curriculum includes principles of small business management, entrepreneurship, succession planning, and consumer behavior. Students also pick two additional concentration electives.

“We have a senior advisory board that keeps their pulse on trends and helps us determine our curriculum,” Coussens said. “These are the sorts of things that really set our students apart in being able to think creatively and holistically. At Kendall we like our students to follow the model of curiosity-creativity-innovation, which means the program is intended to inspire curiosity, stimulate creativity, and foster innovation.”

Coussens said Kendall has between 20 and 30 students in its online business classes, a number she said helps the students feel like they belong to a community. The staff experiments with new technological tools periodically and encourages students to do the same. For example, one student created his own LinkedIn group where he was engaging senior level executives, as well as faculty members and other students.

“We also focus on teaching our students service mentalities, because the trends show that service-oriented industries will be more numerous than manufacturing industries,” Coussens said. “We offer students functional courses such as accounting and human resources, which I like to refer to as pillars. We then overlay that with teaching soft skills, or interpersonal skills.”

The online degree format was created to give students more flexibility, Coussens said. After the success of the hybrid version of the degree program, it was clear that the students wanted even more flexibility.

“The other reason is, we have significant plans for growth and want to reach a larger population,” Coussens said. “In general, higher education is headed in the online direction. Technology is allowing us to do so many things we weren’t able to do before.”

Kendall College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, and is a part of Laureate International Universities, a global network of campus and online universities offering undergraduate and graduate degrees. Coussens said the school takes pride in its diverse student body and is looking to add new concentrations to its online business degree program in the next few years.

“We want to make sure we are equipping students with the skills they need, not only for their first job, but for any job thereafter,” she said. “We want to help shape their careers.”

Follow Valerie Jones on Twitter @ValerieJonesCMN