GIANT University: Second cohort begins Jan. 10

GIANT University: Second cohort begins Jan. 10

Dr. Jack Babinchak is pumped. The long-time CPC business professor is looking forward to teaching his second cohort of the customized GIANT University program, which begins on Jan. 10.

The first cohort of 27 GIANT department managers completed their 18-credit organization management certificate in the fall. The college celebrated the graduates’ achievement with a ceremony in early December at the Conference Center.

We recently caught up with Babinchak via email and asked him about some of the unique challenges presented by the Corporate Education Program for GIANT employees…

Can you talk about the structure and pacing of this certificate program?

We had to take the 11 weeks of content/assessments and condense it down to five weeks. We did that for all six classes that make up the GIANT certificate program. We had to make sure that we had enough instruction/content in each class (and rigor) to justify 3 credits per class. The schedule was a five-week class, followed by one week off….. 

How was the program customized for GIANT employees?

For starters, almost all the lecture videos were filmed and edited with GIANT in mind. From the opening greetings to the examples used in the lectures to the personal direction and instructions in the videos. Whenever possible, assignments were geared toward the grocery industry: For example, waiting line management, inventory management, process improvement and operational efficiencies. We also used GIANT’s own Corporate Strategic Plan for several of the assignments, so students became more familiar with what GIANT––and corporate parent Ahold Delhaize––was doing strategically. 

What was it like having students who all worked for the same company/organization?

Knowing they all work in the same industry helps to understand their specific issues with regards to operations and what they might encounter day-in and day-out. Also, the commonality of functions/experiences helped with discussions and the sharing of information and best practices.  

What were some of the things you learned teaching this certificate… and from your students? 

From the students, I started to get a feel for what duties they performed on a daily basis and what skill sets they needed to complete those duties. Some skills were more basic, like spreadsheet applications, while others were more complicated, like departmental planning and communication. 

For the second cohort, are any changes planned?

We are currently mapping out our course objectives and assessments. We did a lot of formative assessments as we delivered the course and made changes quickly, while also planning for changes to upcoming classes. For example, students struggled with statistics and statistical analysis, so we are planning more synchronous sessions during future courses.   

Any other thoughts? 

Thanks to Doug Fisher for starting work on the program in 2020. I had a good foundation when I came on board in February 2021. I’m looking forward to building on the success we had with the first cohort. 

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