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Ashley Stampone , Satya Chattopadhyay

Re-writing Syllabi to Reflect Ignatian Pedagogy for Business Courses: Examples from Accounting and Marketing

Dr. Edward Deming revolutionized quality management with the use of the PDSA (Plan, Do, Study, Act) and the PDCA (Plan, Do, Check, Act) philosophy as the platform, where systems thinking and statistical concepts and tools provided a viable scientific approach to continuous improvement. The authors found it interesting that the model of Ignatian Pedagogy presented a paradigm for developing syllabi (Context-Experience-Reflection-Evaluation-Action) that may well have been the inspiration behind the Deming model. The syllabi then also reflect a continuous learning process leading to continuous improvement in pedagogy. The design of course syllabi in Ignatian Pedagogy is truly student-centric. The first step is to assess the context of the course delivery beginning with “where the students are.” The elements of the “context” include the students’ level of familiarity with the content area based on prior exposure and experience. Since “cura personalis” or care of the whole person is a core Jesuit value, the individual personal experiences of the students also need to be determined to the extent that they may attenuate the learning process and motivation to achieve the course learning goals as laid out in the course description in the catalog. The focus of the syllabus then shifts to the design of a specific set of experiences, which will be the basis of the academic progress that the course provides the students in line with the curricular, co-curricular, and extra-curricular demands of the academic program. In the ontology of Deming’s approach, this would be an implementation of systems thinking where “profound knowledge” of the interaction between the elements of context and the deliberately designed inputs lead to the desired learning outcomes for the students. In the Ignatian pedagogical model, this corresponds to the “reflection” component. Reflection is a deliberate and thoughtful critique and evaluation of the role of the system elements (context and experience) in shaping of the inputs into the outputs. Assessment techniques embedded in the syllabus evaluate the success or otherwise, of the use (Deming’s “do”) of the “experiences.” The “action” denotes the lasting impact of the “learning” on the conduct of the students going forward. Deming would characterize this step as the “act” that corresponds to the retained positive impact on the system going forward. The concept of “continuous improvement” is the “magis” or the drive to be better, do more and push the boundaries. The paper identifies and discusses the specific changes made to existing syllabi in accounting and marketing courses to align them with the Ignatian pedagogical paradigm described above. Keywords: Ignatian Pedagogy, PDSA, Syllabus, Accounting, Marketing