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October 21, 2002

Frequently Asked Questions

NetWorks, an outreach of the Indiana State University School of Business, is funded by a Grant from the Lilly Endowment, Inc. It is headquartered in Indianapolis with bureaus on the campus of Indiana State University in Terre Haute, Washington, D.C., and a yet-to-be-determined international location. [WFIU (NPR) radio segment]


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What is NetWorks?

Recently, the financial services industry has faced a number of challenges.  Innovative approaches to deal with emerging issues are necessary in order to ensure the long-term vitality of the industry.  Development of NetWorks was initiated by Dr. Lloyd W. Benjamin and reflects the vision of a group of faculty from ISU School of Business who participated in a “quantum leap team.”  The team was charged with examining how the School could build upon its competencies to move the School and ISU to greater prominence.  Given its history of providing leaders for the financial services industry, the team developed the Vision for NetWorks:  “To provide new directions in financial services for Indiana, the nation, and the world.”

Under the leadership of ISU President Benjamin and Dean Ron Green and due to the generosity of the Lilly Endowment, NetWorks will build upon the educational innovations of ISU and its School of Business to provide a platform for the development of “reality based, innovative approaches” to dealing with emerging issues.  Linking ISU students and faculty in experiential learning opportunities with scholars and practitioners representing the best minds from around the world will serve as a catalyst to the creation of one or more ISU-NetWorks Centers of Excellence that will provide long term solutions to the challenges facing the financial services industry.  The interdisciplinary nature of these challenges will require combining the financial and intellectual resources of the ISU School of Business, other academic units of ISU, and NetWorks.  One goal is to establish funding mechanisms to sustain NetWorks and the ISU-NetWorks Centers of Excellence that are spawned.

Why ISU and the School of Business?

Indiana State University has a long history of providing its students with focused educational opportunities.  ISU’s institutional identity centers around a more personalized educational experience due to smaller class sizes, a core faculty committed to teaching excellence and involvement with students, numerous opportunities to participate in active or experiential learning, and a wide range of internship and other community based options that connect students with their future professions.  This has resulted in ISU becoming known as the University where students “Experience Your Future.”

This personalized educational experience also embraces the concept that while teaching is a critical part of the process, it is a mean to an end; that is, teaching is of value only if it leads to “learning” on the part of the student.  While many universities embrace a shift from focus on a teaching to a focus on learning, this notion has become ingrained within the fiber of Indiana State University to the degree that others recognize ISU as a model of innovative excellence.

One example is found within the Insurance and Risk Management Program of the ISU School of Business.  With the assistance of the Gongaware Center for Insurance Management Development, this program has become a model for developing future leaders for the Financial Services Industry.  Widely acclaimed with respect to the quality of its graduates and the reality based learning environment that links students with their future professions, this program has been said to “jump start the profession careers of its graduates by at least ten years.”  A critical component of this success story is that many of the innovations of this program would not have been possible without the generous financial support of its many benefactors who include Don and Pat Gongaware

Why ISU-NetWorks Centers of Excellence?

While NetWorks can be viewed as a catalyst for change, it should also initiate mechanisms through which effective change can occur.  Its primary role will be to provide new directions so that educators and practitioners can form partnerships in dealing with emerging issues.  It might best be viewed as an intellectual incubator with a primary role of giving birth to focused Centers of Excellence.  These Centers may emerge from a variety of challenges that presently face the financial services industry (such as risk management or ethical leadership) or may result from challenges that arise as the activities of NetWorks are being carried out.  It is anticipated that the application and development activities of NetWorks will also provide for its own sustainability.

What are Some of the Proposed Outcomes of NetWorks?

  • Create, organize and staff a new international center focusing on the needs of the financial services industry.  Headquartered in Indianapolis with associated offices on ISU’s Terre Haute campus, NetWorks will also have an office in Washington, D.C. and an international presence through an office in a major European financial center.
  • Develop a comprehensive directory, Web site, and annual conference connecting financial services programs and organizations.
  • Create ten Senior Fellows as a means to secure formal relationships with highly respected and recognized financial leaders from industry, academia, and government.
  • Through the appointment of Research Fellows from across academia and industry, develop a source of unbiased research expertise to study the challenges facing the financial services industry and seek innovative solutions.
  • Enhance the undergraduate, graduate, and continuing education programs of Indiana State University to better meet the needs of a changing financial services industry and attract the best students to these programs through the use of scholarships and other financial incentives.
  • Through seminars and conferences, a semi-annual journal, and other print and electronic media, enhance communication and awareness with school systems and the public to improve knowledge and understanding of financial services.

What are Some of the Proposed Activities of NetWorks?

  • Attracting Innovative Practitioners and Scholars from Academia and Industry
    • Providing Research Support for the Development of Scholarly Innovation and Practical Application
    • Providing Opportunities for Innovative Curricular Development and Delivery
    • Providing Opportunities to Support the Development of Industry Programs and Services for the Financial Services Industry
  • Attracting the Best and Brightest Students
    • Providing Scholarship Opportunities for Students
    • Providing for Experiential Learning through Internships and Class Projects
    • Providing Opportunities for Students to Participate in Research with Faculty
  • Introducing Executive Experience through Scholarly Exchange
    • Providing Opportunities for Executive in Residence with Academia
    • Providing Opportunities for Faculty Internship with Industry
  • Providing Opportunities for Open Exchange of Ideas
    • Sponsoring Annual Conferences
    • Establishing Web Based NetWorks
    • Establishing Round Table Conferences
  • Providing Opportunities for Financial Services Awareness Programs
    • Sponsoring Continuing Education Programs for Financial Services for Indiana’s K-12 Educators
    • Developing Materials for Personal Financial Education to Indiana’s K-12 Educators
    • Sponsoring an Annual Financial Services Conference in Indianapolis for Collegiate and High School Students
    • Sponsoring Seminars Promoting Need for Personal Financial Literacy
    • Publishing a Semi-Annual Financial Services Education Journal
    • Sponsoring an Annual Ethics Symposia both Nationally and Internationally
  • Supporting Curricula Development within the ISU School of Business
    • Provide Mechanism to Enhance Focus on the Financial Services Industry for Undergraduate and Graduate Programs
    • Provide Support for Professional Development of ISU School of Business Faculty
    • Provide Support for Professional Development for other ISU Faculty Contributing to NetWork Programs


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