It was with great excitement that Rockway Mennonite Collegiate in Kitchener, Ont., launched a new business program last fall. Our new courses in business leadership and international business are designed to expose our students to important business ideas and invite them to consider them through a Christian lens.
It has been both exciting and a privilege for me to play a key role in giving shape to this new program alongside Pam Fehr, a consultant and business leader engaged to help design these new courses. Fehr’s recent experience in leadership at Kindred Credit Union, and before that with international programming at Mennonite Economic Development Associates, have offered a wealth of insight and awareness of current and emerging practices.
As with all Rockway programming, we strive to ensure that students not only learn essential content, but that they also have a unique opportunity to engage with the material from the perspective of their values and the impact of their choices on the communities in which they live.
In first semester, we launched Leadership and Business Fundamentals, a course with broad relevance and applicability for all of our students’ future pursuits. It offers a valuable opportunity for high-school students to consider practical matters for which they would not otherwise have much context. We covered some of the nuts and bolts of business like the human resources process, strategic planning and organizational structures. We also studied management topics like decision-making, motivation, perception, emotional intelligence and the importance of clearly articulated values in leadership.
In second semester, Rockway will offer International Business, which will provide students with the chance to think about business in a global context, consistent with Rockway’s desire to be a small school for a big world. Topics will include international trade, business trade and the economy, global environment for business, and cultural and political factors in international markets.
At Rockway, students are challenged in all academic areas to understand the fundamentals of a discipline while incorporating the lens of our faith and values. In our business program, this means that students are learning the importance of ethics in business, and the impact that socially responsible enterprises can make in both local and global communities. It’s exciting to see our students grapple with the frameworks that business generally, and social enterprise in particular, can offer our students as they seek avenues to use their gifts to make a positive difference in the world.
Sheri Wideman teaches business, French and social sciences at Rockway Mennonite Collegiate.