Making Connections with the Business Community
“In the fall of 1957, the faculty of BYU’s College of Commerce met to discuss its future. The first suggestion adopted was to change the name to the College of Business. An integration of departments was initiated that promoted a common dialogue among departments. When the coordinated faculty dialogue began to influence the direction of the college, two relevant ideas emerged. First, the college recognized the gap between the world of the university and the field of practical business. This separation hindered the educational process; as a result, many insights, awarenesses, attitudes and related facts essential to on-the-job success were obscured from business education.
During this early period, in 1957, the college adopted a policy of building bridges with the business community. Although this commitment was explicit with the program of the college, the faculty realized that building bridges between academe and business would take some time and imaginative initiative to make it genuinely effective. This process began by inviting business people to the campus, where they visited classes and presented special lectures. An increased effort was adopted that encouraged students to affiliate with business firms and learn while working.”
“The second idea indicated that little in college curricular or in business practices dealt with the rich returns that accrue from the implementation of a program focused on releasing human potential. A number in the faculty had strong commitments in this area and had the expertise to impart such skills to others. During a short period of interaction, the entire faculty became imbued with this commitment. Hence, dedication to human potential became one of the major thrusts of the school. Significantly, focus on human performance is closely related to the concept of “values.” Though a point of major academic focus now, the teaching of values was encouraged by only a few visionary academic pioneers in 1957. The concept of values was considered too soft for sound pedagogy. This developed into an introduction of a value emphasis through implementing a program on releasing human potential. The early adoption of this program gave the school a leadership position that became widely recognized.”
The Importance of an Advisory Council
“Later the college presented conferences to business leaders, emphasizing the areas in which the faculty had unique capabilities. At these conferences, the faculty was able to involve visiting business people in the skills of increasing human potential through the implementation of effective management styles. Ten years of these activities were required by the faculty to develop a strong commitment within many of these prominent visitors. The latter then saw the importance of an advisory council and gave the program their full support.”
National Advisory Council
“In 1966, a pilot program was started—National Advisory Council (NAC); by the fall of 1967, the council included 49 members. All these members were outstanding leaders in prominent business firms and communities nationwide. Each possessed important commitments to values, which were the essence of the school’s program.”
Today, the NAC continues to be a valued and integral part of the BYU Marriott School of Business, providing support, experience, and expertise to students, faculty, and staff.
See About the NAC for more information.
Also, click to read the article 50 Great Moments in NAC History, highlighting the NAC from 1966 to 2016.
Quoted selections taken from Weldon J Taylor, Pragmatics of Values (Preface), September 1991, L. Tom Perry Special Collections Library, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah. Italicized words were added for continuity.