SBI program heads in new direction

Florida A&M University’s School of Business and Industry has changed more than just a word in the Professional Development Department; the department is attempting to improve the value and the reach of the program.

The PLD Department, one of four departments in SBI, changed its name August 20 and is working to improve the quality of education for business students.

“As our environment changes, so will the program,” said Charles L. Evans, associate dean of SBI.  Evans said the PLD Department was known as the Professional Development Department for more than 25 years

When asked about the Professional Leadership Development Department, some business students drew blanks as to what “changes” were made.

“The Professional Development Department needed a new identity and direction,” Evans said.

Clyde Ashley, an associate professor in the SBI said, “The purpose of the name change is to capture Dr. Sybil C. Mobley’s vision for SBI as a leadership program and to bring clarity to the name, so that it is understood that this is an enhancement of the soft skills, along with the rigorous academic program and the internship program.”

Clyde also mentions the “SBI brand,” in which students will learn a skill set that prepares graduates to be unrivaled to competing schools.  The brand is also supposed to enhance skills for entrepreneurs in their own businesses.

“I appreciate SBI taking it back to the fundamentals,” Kokeeta McLendon, 20, a senior business student from Washington, said. “This will raise the standards of the school of business and industry.”

The new curriculum for PLD requires all SBI students to have Professional Leadership Development each semester until graduation. Prior to the change, the four-year undergraduate program only required students to take two PD classes to graduate.

The five-year master of business administration students still have to take seven undergraduate semesters of Professional Leadership Development and two semesters of Graduate Professional Leadership Development.