As William Newburry—who teaches Strategic Management in the College of Business Administration’s Professional MBA (PMBA)-Panama—began his first class this semester, he noticed a curious absence: not a missing class member but rather “no photos in that particular room from Florida International University (FIU) while there were several from other universities that also use the facility,” he said.
Newburry also noticed that several students were wearing FIU polo shirts, which were a recent gift from Quality Leadership University (QLU), FIU’s partner school for the PMBA-Panama program.
“Based upon these two observations, I suggested that we have a day on which everyone wore FIU shirts and that we take a group photo to add to the collection in the classroom,” he said.
As it turned out, the designated day was FIU Homecoming, which Marta Torres (MS ’06), assistant director, global MBA programs, mentioned to Newburry. Consequently, the picture-taking occasion also became an opportunity for the Panama students to feel closer to their State-side counterparts who were caught up in Homecoming events.
“Because of our distance from Miami, it’s important that we have these types of activities to deepen our relationship with FIU and develop school pride,” said PMBA-Panama student Craig Morrissey, who enjoyed “getting together for an activity outside of class, which gives us the chance to spend time with the diverse and interesting group of students in the program.”
Other efforts link the PMBA-Panama students more tightly to FIU.
According to Mariana Leon, class representative, a visit from Torres also strengthened the students’ sense of connection to the university.
“She brought us a very nice Christmas gift, as well as a Christmas card from FIU,” Leon said. “Even though we are not Miami campus students, gestures such as these make us feel like we are a part of a greater community.”