What do Purdue University and Major League Baseball have in common?
In 2019, both institutions will celebrate their 150th anniversaries, and a pair of professors affiliated with Purdue are marking these dual sesquicentennials by introducing a six-week online course that promises to serve as a virtual management game plan for leadership outside the locker room “ and potentially in the boardroom.
The course chronicles 150 years of baseball history as seen through the changing lens of business management, including economic changes through two world wars; advancements in gender, race and labor relations; marketing; leadership; technology; and the use of Big Data in decision-making.
The course curriculum was developed by Prof. Rebecca Herman, a baseball author and faculty member with Purdue University Globals School of Business and Information Technology, and Prof. Randy Roberts, a 150th Anniversary Professor and Distinguished Professor of History at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. The course debuts online in March, beginning as an exclusive offering to Purdue Alumni Association members. More than 700 people already have enrolled in the course.
We want people who have never taken an online course to experience one, and this particular experience unites people in their love of baseball, said Herman, a baseball enthusiast whose grandmother played professional womens baseball during World War II. The virtual classroom is a place of ideas, conversation, questions and discovery and, throughout its history, baseball has been enmeshed in almost every important societal or economic trend and change. It offers a fantastic environment for lessons in business and management.
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Purdue Alumni Association members who register in the noncredit, six-week class will spend roughly three to five hours a week on course-related activities, including a weekly live seminar, readings, discussion and video messages from noted baseball leaders.
The course will offer a historical perspective of how baseball has been a reflection of American history, whether its race relations, labor relations or entertainment, Roberts said. It will examine the role baseball has played and how baseball has changed and evolved as America has changed and evolved.
Herman pointed out that the course was developed with the support of Major League Baseball and was featured as part of Purdue Globals offerings at the MLB Winter Meetings in Las Vegas in December. She said MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred has been incredibly helpful in providing resources such as John Thorn, MLBs official historian, who has reviewed course content and was interviewed for the Distinguished Leaders Video Series.
Given the tiny fraction of baseball players who reach the professional level and even fewer who make the jump to the major leagues, Purdue University Global presents a convenient online option that offers them a quality, highly personalized education that can provide a competitive edge to advance in an alternate career path.
Highly competitive jobs in professional coaching, broadcasting and the front office often strongly recommend or require a college degree, said Herman, a Purdue Global faculty member since 2005. The lessons of baseball in areas like diversity and race relations, management and labor relations, and data analytics and decision sciences are incredibly relevant in todays work environment. We explore all of these topics in the course.
For more information about the course, visit the Purdue Alumni Association website at www.purduealumni.org/alumniu.
About Rebecca Herman
Rebecca Herman, Ph.D, is an organizational culture expert, best-selling author, professional speaker, leadership consultant, and baseball researcher and writer. She loves to work with people and organizations to help them achieve their fullest potential and wants to help people become a major league leaders.
Dr. Herman is a graduate business professor of leadership and organizational development for Purdue University Global. Prior to her academic appointment, Dr. Herman enjoyed a successful career as a leader in human resources for over two decades.
She is co-author of “Lead Me Out to the Ballgame,” a leadership book based on two years of interviews with over 100 people in Major League Baseball. She frequently blogs about the San Diego Padres as co-founder of Padre360 and also discusses all things baseball as TheBaseballPHD.
She is a member of Alpha Omicron Pi fraternity with over 30 years of volunteer service and most recently as international vice president on the Executive Board.
Dr. Herman earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Evansville and earned her Ph.D. in Organization and Management from Capella University. She is certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR).
About Randy Roberts
Randy Roberts, 150th Anniversary Professor and Distinguished Professor of History at Purdue University, was the 2015-16 Charles Boal Ewing Chair of Military History at West Point. In addition to winning the Charles B. Murphy Outstanding Teaching Award at Purdue University and twice receiving Teacher of the Year in the School of Liberal Arts, he won the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching Indiana Professor of the Year.
He specializes in teaching military history “ including courses on World War I and World War II “ sports history and popular culture.
Roberts is also an award-winning, best-selling author. He has won several national book awards. His book, coauthored with Johnny Smith, is Blood Brothers: The Fatal Friendship Between Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X, which received featured reviews in the Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the London Times, the National Review, and other newspapers and magazines. His most recent book coauthored with Johnny Smith is A Season in the Sun: The Rise of Mickey Mantle.
About Purdue University Global
Purdue University Global is the extreme personalization online university, providing students the competitive edge to advance in their chosen careers. It offers a hyper-tailored path for students to earn an associates, bachelors, masters or doctoral degree, based on their work experience, desired pace, military service, previous college credits and other considerations — no matter where they are in their life journey.
Purdue Global serves approximately 29,000 students, most of whom earn their degree online. It also operates 14 locations in Indiana, Iowa, Nebraska, Maryland, Maine, Missouri and Wisconsin. Purdue Global is a nonprofit, public university accredited by The Higher Learning Commission. It is affiliated with Purdue University’s flagship institution, a highly ranked public research university located in West Lafayette, Indiana. Purdue University also operates two regional campuses in Fort Wayne and Northwest, Indiana, as well as serving close to 6,000 science, engineering and technology students at the Indiana University-Purdue University (IUPUI) Indianapolis campus.
For more information about Purdue Global, please visit www.PurdueGlobal.edu.
Greg Ten Eyck