Loyola University Chicago

Quinlan School of Business

Ignatian teaching methods improve learning in quantitative business classes, suggests research

Ignatian teaching methods improve learning in quantitative business classes, suggests research

Professor Gezinus Hidding (left) is leading a groundbreaking effort to incorporate the Ignatian Pedagogy Paradigm (IPP) into data-heavy courses.

Context, experience, reflection, action, and evaluation. These Jesuit pillars for teaching form what’s called the Ignatian Pedagogy Paradigm or IPP.

IPP has been a natural fit for humanities classes and qualitative business classes. The Quinlan School of Business wants to expand this by tackling a big question: How could IPP be applied to data-heavy courses like statistics and operations management?

Already, Quinlan is finding early evidence that using IPP both improves student learning in quantitative courses and increases student commitment to responsible leadership.

Gezinus Hidding, PhD, associate professor of information systems, is leading Quinlan’s efforts to promote IPP in collaboration with professors Michael Hewitt, PhD, Mary Malliaris, PhD, and Peter Stonebraker, PhD.

Below, Hidding discusses the initiative and its importance.

Why incorporate IPP into quantitative courses?

Ignatian thought should be part of every decision, especially in business. IPP introduces ethical underpinnings, including to quantitative challenges. Students will be able to see how quantitative knowledge and decision-making can serve humanity. They start asking questions like, “Who are the winners and losers if we decide this way or another?”

Integrating IPP in quantitative classes is one way that Quinlan will continue to fulfill its mission to educate responsible business leaders across all business disciplines.

Tell me about Quinlan’s IPP project.

We are striving to create a template for quantitate courses that could be used worldwide and that shows our thought leadership in this area. In 2016, professors Mike Hewitt, Mary Malliaris, and I formed a project team to work on integrating IPP into a supply chain course and a managerial statistics course. After consulting with Loyola’s Faculty Center for Ignatian Pedagogy, we did additional research and created our own rubric for applying IPP to these quantitative courses.

Prof. Peter Stonebraker also been applying key elements of IPP in his business statistics class. Students in his course worked on a real data project with Catholic Charities of Chicago. Read about Stonebraker’s class and its outcomes →

This past summer in Seattle, we presented a paper about his approach at a conference of Jesuit business faculty.

How do a standard quantitative class and an IPP course differ?

In IPP, learning is about more than just reading a textbook or completing an exercise. It is adding experiences and action. This changes what happens in the classroom.

To gauge the students’ context regarding particular topics, each week the professor asks, “What do students walk into the classroom with?” They then tie key concepts more closely into the student’s real-world experiences.  For every concept, we ask, “How have you experienced this particular concept in your life as a person?”

We introduced action – or engaged learning – into the courses, including the service projects in Prof. Stonebraker’s class, where statistics students served as consultants for Catholic Charities.

What were the outcomes?

With the Catholic Charities project, we found that students learned statistics better and had an increased commitment to social change and care for others. We’re still gathering a lot more data so we can analyze and see more broadly the effects of Ignatian pedagogy in quantitative classes.

Why is this important to the business community?

We’re suggesting that students will learn the quantitative material better with IPP, which is important in a world increasingly relying on data. They’ll also have more hands-on experience, which leads to more knowledgeable employees for companies.

The students are also on the path to becoming well-rounded, thoughtful, and ethical employees, which will benefit employers and society overall.

Something that you’ve learned along the way?

I’ve learned to never underestimate our students. They do a fabulous job when they are called upon.

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