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Unicorn awards catch on in LCSC classroom | News

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Unicorn awards catch on in LCSC classroom
News, Schools
Unicorn awards catch on in LCSC classroom

The awards that Jill Thomas-Jorgenson started giving out to her students in Lewis-Clark State College's Strategic Management capstone class for graduating Management and Business Administration students have become coveted items. A few years ago, she started giving out pink unicorn (innovative) and purple squirrel awards (research = nut gathering) thinking that her students would believe they were silly. But, she says, students love the awards and actually compete for them.

"Almost on the first day of the semester, I hear them telling each other which award they want to win. Last semester I had a student who wanted to win the unicorn award so she handed in all of her homework blown up in a balloon. I had to pop the balloons to get to her homework!" Thomas-Jorgenson says.

"I used to work with a woman at the SBDC and I would always say to her, why can't "they" (usually a client) see it this way and she would say. Jill, it is because you are a unicorn and unicorns are rare and special and different," Thomas-Jorgenson says, adding that when she started teaching the capstone, she realized that students are either big picture people or detail-oriented.

This is the 6th semester Thomas-Jorgenson has handed out these awards, and many of them are made by her son, Jeffrey Pierce. He graduated from LCSC with a Business Communications degree and had also presented at the capstone symposium.

"We have a two semester capstone and these students are impressive. We have designed the capstone to fit what employers say they want/need from business graduates," Thomas-Jorgenson says.

She gets the students for two semesters and really watches them grow, especially in oral presentation skills. "The class is designed to help them be better critical thinkers who understand how to find and use good research, and write good reports and present well," Thomas-Jorgenson says. She meets with all of these groups individually so no other group knows their secrets prior to the very innovative presentations.

Thomas-Jorgenson says the faculty love the presentations as well. "Because they have had these students all along the way and seeing what they learn and their progress is important to them. Students love to impress the faculty and often mention what they learned in particular classes in their presentations."

During the presentations Thomas-Jorgenson will be handing out about 10 awards to some of her 88 students. She will also unveil a new award.

"It is for the student not unlike an MVP award who has really embraced the strategic management process and has "morphed,"" Thomas-Jorgenson says. Faculty will also hand out awards. The presentations are open to the public.

"We welcome the public. Students are encouraged to bring their families and friends," Thomas-Jorgenson says.

The presentations will take place tomorrow from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. and Thursday from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. in the Clearwater/Snake Room at the Williams Conference Center.

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