Build valuable project management, communication and presentation skills while serving as a consultant in the business world. As a member of an Experiential Learning Center (ELC) team, you will work with a faculty coach and other NIU graduate and undergraduate students tackling a challenge faced by a real organization. ALL business majors are encouraged to apply as projects have a cross functional focuses.
ELC Application Process
Check back for the Fall 2014 application dates and deadlines.
For more information please contact: Joan Petros at (815) 753-8414 or email@example.com.
Spring 2014 Projects
Topic: Mobile Strategy for Learning Management System
McDonald’s is one of the world's most well-known and valuable brands. With 30,000 local restaurants in more than 119 countries, McDonald’s serves over 60 million people each day.
Project Mission – Help the McDonalds USA Training, Learning, and Development department to define a mobile strategy for restaurant training.
The US Training, Learning, and Development department at McDonald’s provides standardized training for restaurant managers, as well as corporate and franchisee office staff, through an online Learning Management System. In a technology environment so saturated with mobile devices and applications, we would like a recommendation for a mobile strategy for restaurant training. The strategy should focus on two areas:
Questions to consider: Is there a target audience better suited to mobile access? How do the McDonald’s users want to leverage their mobile devices? Are there types of learning which are more appropriate for mobile, for example on the job support rather than formalized training? Could mobile access improve boss involvement with the learning process?
Topic: Dashboard and Database for Safety Metrics
Knaack LLC is owned by Werner Co. and is the leading provider of tool and material secure storage systems in Jobsite, Truck, and Van applications for professional contractors. Knaack was founded over 50 years ago and has manufacturing operations in Crystal Lake, Illinois. Knaack LLC is proud of its state-of-the-art metal working and finishing operations and the leading position its KNAACK® and WEATHER GUARD® brands have earned for durable, secure tool storage products.
Knaack LLC would like an ELC project team to build a reporting system for its safety and loss control metrics and that would gather hours worked, incident and injury occurrences, and express these metrics, in alignment with standard OSHA definitions. In addition the database will provide a central repository for corrective action steps related to inspections, audits and other safety improvement activities. The ELC team will be asked to review best practices from the industry and benchmark Knaack practices with others to develop a new standard for safety and loss control improvement across Werner.
The final deliverable will be a working model dashboard and data base for safety metrics and action items respectively.
The Knaack LLC team is excited to work with an ELC project group and will provide necessary data and history to facilitate the development of a successful loss control data base and dashboard. All majors can apply.
To learn more about KNAACK® and WEATHER GUARD® Equipment, visit us at KNAACK.com and WEATHERGUARD.com. Be sure to locate us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube using the keywords “Knaack” and “Weather Guard”.
Topic: Promotional Magazine Development
Save-A-Vet was organized to rescue military and law enforcement working dogs from being put down when their commission ends. It does so by providing housing for disabled military, law enforcement, and first responder veterans in exchange for a retired dog’s care.
The Experiential Learning Center will partner with Save-A-Vet to raise money and acquire a facility for vets and their K-9 companions. The student team will be charged with developing a magazine which tells the Save-A-Vet story, its mission and vision, full with photos and stories. In addition it will highlight stories and photos from other working dog agencies, i.e., military, Law Enforcement, Homeland Security, Border Patrol, the Pentagon, and other government agencies
Finally, students will develop the strategy to raise funds by selling magazine advertising space to not only cover the cost and distribution of the project, but to raise enough additional funds to open a "Save-A-Vet Huskie House" which will provide housing & relief for not only our four legged veterans, but NIU student veterans as well. Social media initiatives will be explored.
This initiative will be the prototype for Save-A-Vet to establish similar campaigns throughout the Midwest and later, the entire country. The goal in each community is to partner with universities to help them fundraise and acquire commercial or residential buildings to convert into living quarters for vets, retired military and police officers with K-9 companions.
Northern Illinois University Relations
Topic: Communication Strategy Development
NIU University Relations develops, coordinates and delivers the university's strategic communications and marketing initiatives. The division's talented team of writers, editors, designers, photographers, videographers, and website developers promotes the university and its programs through advertising, publications, media relations, the niu.edu website, NIU Today and the university's official social media channels.
NIU University Relations would like an ELC team to develop an effective and improved comprehensive university communications program (including social media) for existing NIU students. The team will use historical data on web interaction and utilization along with primary and secondary research to develop strategic recommendations for University Relations to effectively communicate with students. The ELC team will also provide direction on how to increase engagement with students via social media.
This initiative follows a previous successful ELC team project conducted in the spring of 2011. It requires expertise in interactive integrated marketing and communications and data analysis. Each team member will contribute his/her unique talents and skills; all majors may apply.
Topic: Identification of Critical People and Cultural Aspects When Integrating into New Regions of the World
Caterpillar is the world's leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines, and diesel-electric locomotives. The company is also a founding corporate sponsor of the Building Ethical Leaders in an Ethics Framework (BELIEF) Program in the College of Business.
The Earthmoving division must remain nimble to ensure execution of our strategy. The Earthmoving footprint and people focus remains a critical element to the strategy. Therefore on occasion, the footprint drives us into new geographic regions. New territories create new opportunities to best integrate into the region. The goal is to do so seamlessly and to quickly become proficient in the cultural aspects as well as production. To date, integrations haven’t always been so seamless, driving frustration, lost hours, nonstandard work, communication issues, and missed cultural opportunities on site. Issues are also identified due to the lack of systems compatibility and language issues for onsite support as well as support across the matrix.
Earthmoving is seeking support in identifying the critical elements of the people and cultural aspects to drive a better integration into new regions of the world, such as Thailand.
Caterpillar would like an ELC team to provide a standard level of considerations and the impact to the business when integrating into new regions of the world. Considerations would include challenges both external for Caterpillar as well as internal across the matrix. The team will also provide guidelines for realistic expectations of integration into the Caterpillar processes including support organizations. The deliverables will also include the creation of a standard process/checklist for regional considerations before determining/finalizing a facility location. This would consist of a matrix to better analyze risk and challenges. All majors may apply.