In Brief: Learn by Doing Programs


Multicultural Business Program Spearheads College Inclusion and Diversity

The Orfalea College of Business launched the Multicultural Business Program (MBP) in 2016 to provide personal and academic support for students from traditionally underserved backgrounds and historically underrepresented minorities as well as first-generation, undocumented, low-income students and their allies.

MBP students participated in their community through a specialized section of BUS 100: Student Orientation and College Success. Each student created a four-year plan with access to individualized coaching from their dedicated Academic Advisor and Success Coach, Justin Gomez. A Peer Assisted Learning Support (PALS) group lead community building activities, helped students to craft a résumé and author weekly reflective journals.

Thanks to industry partners, MBP students had access to professional development resources ahead of major career fairs and industry tours to employers like EY and KPMG. The program culminated with the Leadership Beyond the Résumé conference, which aimed to promote diversity and inclusion among Orfalea’s student leaders. The conference featured educational speakers as well as workshops on multicultural heroes, unconscious bias and activism to inspire all students to be inclusive leaders.

Cal Poly Announces a Director of New Packaging Value Chain Center

For 25 years, Cal Poly’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program has provided free tax preparation services to low-income community members in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties. Though Cal Poly accounting students began providing tax help to the Central Coast in the 1970s, official VITA clinics opened their doors in 1992. The clinic has served as a Learn by Doing senior project for accounting students, many of whom go on to work at major public accounting firms.

The clinic had humble beginnings, with just one faculty member and a handful of students staffing the first official clinics in the early 1990s. All filings were initially done by hand until the IRS provided e-filing software.

Today, the 123 student accountants hold IRS certifications to prepare returns. Students volunteer their time on Saturdays throughout winter quarter at a clinic on campus and others co-hosted with United Way throughout the community. Orfalea College of Business faculty and alumni CPAs then review and file the returns electronically.

Since 2005, the clinics have filed nearly 10,000 tax returns, with 649 returns filed in 2017 alone.

Cal Poly’s Tax Preparation Program Celebrates 25th Anniversary

Cal Poly’s industrial technology and packaging labs have made major upgrades to their equipment thanks to the generosity of several industry partners, alumni and donors. The move toward digital fabrication (D-FAB) machines began in 2016 when the lab welcomed a new Haas CNC mill and lathe. Since then, a Waterjet cutting table has also been added — the only machine of its kind on campus. The technology has transformed classes such as IT 407: Applied Business Operations, where teams of students must design, prototype and manufacture 100 units of a unique product. The move toward digital also encourages students to master computer-aided drafting programs they’ll see in the workplace. The program is continuing to fundraise for additional equipment, including a mill, several 3-D printers and a CNC bending brake, as well as Earn by Doing scholarships for student lab technicians.

The Digital Fabrication Lab Transforms Projects for Industrial Technology and Packaging Students

Cal Poly’s Packaging Program announced that packaging industry veteran Brent Moore will lead the newly approved Packaging Value Chain Center beginning in June 2017. In his role as the administrative director, he will lead fundraising efforts for the center while building relationships with industry partners to enhance educational and research opportunities for packaging students.

Moore, who holds a degree in packaging from Michigan State University, has led Mars Inc. and Pharmavite in packaging engineering and lean supply chain roles. His most recent role has been vice president of operations at Corr-Jensen Inc., a leading marketer of health and wellness products, in Denver.

Cal Poly’s Packaging Program recently received approval from the university on its plans to establish a Packaging Value Chain Center in the Orfalea College of Business. The program aims to be the nation’s leader in packaging value chain education and research, which prepares students to leverage packaging’s impact at every step of the supply chain, from materials management to branding. The center will be the only one of its kind housed within a business school.

In addition to bolstering lab space and Learn by Doing projects in its undergraduate program, Cal Poly will debut an online Master of Science in Packaging Value Chain program in 2018. The program will also include specialized certificates in packaging value chain, design, analytics and marketability. With the center in place, the Cal Poly Packaging Program Consortium also aims to grow, adding health care and food and beverage research projects to its current specialty of fresh produce research.

Cal Poly’s Packaging Program continues to make national headlines. In addition to several packaging design competition wins, ValueColleges.com ranked the program No. 1 in the nation based on its affordability and reputation for excellence.

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