February 1, 2016
Business schools have long been important drivers of change in society. Today at its 2016 Deans Conference, AACSB International (AACSB), the global accrediting body and membership association for business schools, recognized HEC Montréal as one of 30 innovations that represent how business schools are innovating and diversifying the business education environment.
HEC Montréal was recognized for Le Tour du Québec inc.: histoire et développement, an experiential business history course in the form of a 12-day, 500-kilometer cycling trip where students see firsthand the forces behind Quebec’s industrial development.
Professors Brian King and Anne Pezet came up with the idea of offering a cycling trip as a history course, not only to attract students, but also as a way to allow them to see history as something more than dates and chronologies. They believed that if students could see firsthand what formed our society—the valleys, rivers, canals, and railroad--and met with entrepreneurs, mayors, and factory workers, that they would begin to see history differently. They wanted to change students’ perception of history from “classrooms and books” to “the world around them.” In essence, the professors saw the bicycle as a Trojan Horse, enticing students to gain a new perspective: history as a lens to better understand the world around them. In 2015, 16 young people enrolled in this experimental course and emerged from the class with a different perspective about both time and space in our native province of Quebec.
“We are so grateful to these companies and the entrepreneurs who took time out of their day to impart lessons to our students,” said Pezet and King. We also want to thank AACSB International for recognizing this course. It is a great honor. We look forward to capitalizing on the extraordinary momentum spurred by this first edition and strengthening the experience for future generations of HEC Montréal students.”
Celebrated as part of AACSB’s Centennial Anniversary and upcoming Visioning Initiative, the inaugural Innovations That Inspire shines a spotlight on a variety of ways that AACSB member schools, around the globe, are working to innovate and diversify the business education environment. From their approaches to research and learning, to their engagements with stakeholders and oversight of their management and operations, business schools are redefining the way that academic institutions of all kinds create, teach, connect, and lead.
“It is my pleasure to recognize HEC Montréal for its role in spearheading ingenuity within the business education landscape,” said Thomas R. Robinson, president and chief executive officer of AACSB International. “As AACSB celebrates 100 years of improving quality management education worldwide, it is important for those within and outside of the industry to be reminded of the vision, leadership, and innovative thinking business schools bring to the table. Through our Innovations That Inspire recognition, HEC Montréal stands as a testament to how business schools are driving positive impact within their communities and society at large, through their groundbreaking practices and continuous focus on excellence.”
For a detailed overview of the featured innovations, please visit http://www.aacsb.edu/innovations-that-inspire. In the coming months, AACSB will continue to showcase more schools and innovations that demonstrate an impressive range of creativity and commitment to quality. Additionally, access to the full portfolio of submissions will be available to member schools via AACSB’s benchmarking database, DataDirect.
A comprehensive look at AACSB’s upcoming Visioning initiative is also available online at www.AACSB.edu/Vision, and findings from the Visioning Initiative will be presented at ICAM 2016 in Boston, MA, USA on April 3-5, 2016.