Photos: Caitlin Bigelow ’11
Forget GPS devices. Juniata business students navigate with maps and compasses.
ommonly known around campus as H.O.B.O., this class could be straight out of Discovery Channel’s Man Versus Wild except the professors aren’t about to make you eat worms. The class is actually called Behavioral Analysis of Organizations (it’s previous title spelled H.O.B.O.) and is open to all students. After all interpersonal and managerial skill are important to most POEs and many careers, too. In this course, you spend the first half of the class building a close relationship with your group and developing organizational skills. The second half you put those new-found relationships to the test, traversing the rugged Allegheny Mountains and meeting three checkpoints with nothing but a compass, a map and your teammates. Randy Rosenberger, associate professor of business, has been teaching the class and leading the hike for 14 years. He explains, “Suddenly students are faced with real-life consequences to their actions.” Things didn’t always go as smoothly as they do now. The first year Rosenberger and colleague Bill Duey taught the class, they misjudged where the start point was by a quarter of a mile. You may not think initially that’s a big deal—turns out it is. Four hours into the hike only one group had made it to checkpoint one. Meaning, 25 students were unaccounted for. Rosenberger explains: “I was worried and I felt responsible. I had gone and planned this and now
students were missing. I remember thinking, ‘Am I going to lose my job?’” Eventually, they were found six hours later on the wrong side of the designated ridge. What, no cell phone calls? “Well first off this was 14 years ago. People didn’t have cell phones,” Rosenberger explains. “Plus, cell service up there is terrible.” Can you hear me Business is a POE that many students combine now? The best and with such areas of study as IT, communication and worst part of the hike psychology. Some mold business with theatre and is that it’s a real-life articulate it with world languages. scenario. It tests At Juniata, over 45 percent of students design their groups’ decisionown POE with the help of two advisers who are also making abilities and professors from differing departments. represents real-life consequences. A wrong turn could cost you three extra miles and when you’re out there all day, that’s a big deal. At the same time groups experience an incredible amount of self-achievement and worth when they finish. “It’s intriguing to me to see how classmates react to things they aren’t used to doing. I feel like everyone should take the class even if you don’t need to because it’s really a worthwhile experience,” says Jordan Baird ’11, a student hike leader. “Juniata prides itself on diverse classes and I think HOBO makes the school stand out as far as interesting and different academic programs.” n juniata / Fall ’11