December 12, 2011
Laura Rosene credits much of her success as a business executive to the undergraduate education she received at Knox College. Now, as a Knox faculty member, she's blending 21st century technology with the liberal arts to help students learn to analyze business issues.
Because Rosene and her family live in Ontario, Canada, her fall term course, Human Resource Management and Society, adopted a "blended learning approach." Part of the time, Rosene and her students met in traditional classroom sessions on the Knox campus. At other times, they met online for live, interactive lectures and discussions.
"I've really appreciated the opportunity to be able to structure the course in this way because that made it possible," she said. "Otherwise, I wouldn't have been able to teach at this point in time."
The course is part of Knox's Business and Management program. "We took a look at business as a human endeavor," Rosene said. "That's a particularly valuable perspective for students to understand business, especially today when your people are often your key competitive differentiator."
Students examined "people practices" -- including organization design, corporate culture, and performance management -- within the context of business strategy, society, and "the bigger global forces that are at play," Rosene said, "such as technology, globalization, and ethics."
"We considered how those forces impact the choices that are made in people practices, and then how those people practices, in turn, affect society."
Rosene began her business career in human resources after graduating in 1990 from Knox, where she majored in economics. She also participated in various extracurricular activities as a Knox student, including track, Pi Beta Phi sorority, Mortar Board, and Ford Fellows.
Rosene worked as a human resources executive for more than 10 years, most recently serving as Chief People Officer for Kentucky Fried Chicken, a division of Yum Brands.
A few years ago, she joined the Knox College Business Advisory Council, a group of business leaders that meets regularly to offer insight on Knox's educational offerings and internship and placement programs. About the same time, Rosene began thinking about the next phase of her career and her life, and she decided on a new goal: to teach business at a liberal arts college.
"When I learned more about what Knox was doing with the business program, it was such a great match that I wanted to be part of it," Rosene said. "What I love about how John Spittell (Knox Professor of Business and Management and Executive-in-Residence) and the College are doing this is that it is business as a minor, and that it is within the context of a liberal arts education."
"The things you learn in a liberal arts education about reading and writing, constructing arguments, analyzing ideas, and being able to express ideas -- those are the elements of an education that will be with somebody for a lifetime," she added. "Being well-educated and having a broad liberal arts background will better equip you for whatever it is you decide to do."
A fourth-generation Knox College graduate, Rosene naturally feels a strong connection to the college. As a child, Rosene heard her great-grandmother, Zell James Felt, talk about her own days at Knox.
"Of course, at that time, I had no idea that I was going to be a student someday at Knox or that I would get to teach here," she said. "I have really appreciated the opportunity to get to engage at Knox in a different role, and to be able to give back -- in a small way -- part of the experience that's been so important to me and my family."