As the dean of the College of Business at Idaho State University, I often have discussions with my colleagues about how we can provide better opportunities for our students. Those discussions have led to several initiatives this year to meet our students where they are and help them to develop the business skills they need to be successful, create jobs and build bright futures for their families. I also think it is critical that we consider how the ISU College of Business can help the broader university, business community and economy of our region, which is part of the critical mission of any world-class business school. I am pleased to share three things we are doing to help fulfill this mission over the next few months.
Many of you have seen the changes that the NCAA has made regarding student-athletes being able to use their name, image and likeness (NIL) in ways never before possible in college athletics. I think these changes are positive, but they open up a wide array of questions and potential problems for student-athletes. I was thrilled when my friend and ISU Athletic Director Pauline Thiros reached out to me to partner with the ISU College of Business to launch our Bengal NIL Academy. Throughout the fall semester, our incredible College of Business faculty will work with our ISU student-athletes to develop their skills around things like financial literacy, entrepreneurship, social media marketing, basic taxes and sales skills, which help them navigate not only the new NIL landscape but their professional lives after they graduate from Idaho State University. Rather than using a third-party consultant who might inflate the cost of this training, we are using our incredible faculty experts in the ISU College of Business who care and are invested in the futures of our students to provide this important content.
I am also pleased to announce we will be launching a Business Community Research series this academic year, which will be free to anyone in the community. In this series, our faculty will discuss their cutting-edge research and provide insights to business owners and professionals across Southeast Idaho. This is a chance for us to share our research and help practitioners better understand the changing human resources landscape, the macroeconomic environment, pricing strategy in an era of inflation and a host of other critical topics. Historically, university business schools have not done a great job at turning their research into practical ideas and solutions for the business community, and we in the ISU College of Business are launching this new program with the hope to change this trend and positively impact the economy across our state.
Finally, we are setting a goal in the ISU College of Business to double the number of internships our students participate in each year. Internships are incredibly valuable for students as they help them discover what they want to do (and also discover what they don't want to do) after they graduate college. They also provide a pipeline of talent for businesses in our rapidly expanding economy in the state of Idaho. Beyond that, we plan to engage organizations across our region and offer the largest number of student projects this year in the history of the ISU College of Business. We are planning projects for new startups, nonprofits and existing businesses looking to increase success as we emerge from the pandemic. These projects are also incredibly valuable to students who get to see first hand how what they learn in our College of Business can help positively impact real companies facing real challenges.
I do not believe there is a state in this country with a brighter future than Idaho, and all of us in the ISU College of Business are committed to helping our students and organizations across our region build a better tomorrow for all of us.
Shane Hunt, Ph.D., is the dean of the College of Business and a professor of marketing at Idaho State University.