Goshen College faculty will meet Thursday to discuss the feasibility of a new collaborative Masters of Business Administration program to be offered in August 2014. If approved by faculty, the program will be reviewed by the Higher Learning Commission.

“We’ve been working on it for the last two and a half years,” said Michelle Horning, accounting department chair. As one of the major organizers for this collaborative MBA program, Horning says she is anxious to see how the students will respond.

The MBA degree program will be facilitated between Goshen College, Bluffton University and Eastern Mennonite University, which Horning thinks will enable a more effective program than one offered at a single location.

“We are all three small schools, but together can offer something stronger,” she said. Anita Stalter, academic dean, said that having expertise from each school “will give these graduate students the chance to have professors from across all three institutions.”

Since the MBA program will be a collaborative effort, courses will be taught via video and online sessions coupled with the traditional classroom setting. However, future students will not need to live near any of the three campuses in order to enroll.

Primarily, Horning says, the program will be designed for students with previous managerial experience, regardless of their location. Students taking online courses will meet once or twice a semester with the rest of the class for a week, either to start or end a course.

When the idea for an MBA first came up, organizers began to ask, “What do we have to offer in a world that is saturated with MBA programs?” said Horning. The most important emphasis has been the integration of an MBA program with Anabaptist values.

Included in the desire for an Anabaptist worldview, the program will establish the “definition of leadership for the common good,” an eight-point definition that provides the focus of the program. The eight points revolve around responsibility, sustainability and trustworthy relationships.

This collaborative nature will also enable graduate students to have a specialized focus in existing Master’s programs at each institution such as sustainability at Merry Lea, intercultural studies or peace and justice studies, said Horning.

Offering an MBA with a concentration will add a “unique perspective that we hope will be attractive,” she said.

Horning anticipates that after GC faculty approval, the MBA program will be fully accredited by the Higher Learning Commission by fall 2013, with the first set of graduate students starting in fall 2014.

“There are so many MBA programs,” she said. “This is what we will start with and see where it leads.”