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The University of La Verne is leading the way in a new course for MBA students that emphasizes the importance of business transactions being about more than just money. Professor of Management Loren Dyck is teaching BUS 551: Seminar in Organization Theory and Behavior, where students are divided into groups of four to five and challenged to barter a small $1 item for something of greater value within the La Verne community.

This unique project allows students four weeks to apply organizational theory and behavior concepts learned in class to a real-world scenario. They gain valuable skills such as negotiation, decision-making analysis, emotional intelligence in the workplace, and enhancing communication within groups. Professor Dyck created this assignment to provide students with a hands-on experience in applying course concepts and theories beyond traditional case studies.

In a few years of implementing this project, students proposed the idea of donating the items they bartered to local charities. Professor Dyck embraced this idea and modified the assignment for each student team to find a local charitable organization to which they would donate their final item. This addition to the project highlights the students’ commitment to community and civic engagement while also learning and applying course concepts and theories.

As the course reaches its tenth year, Professor Dyck revealed that students have bartered and collected 29 items worth over $8,000 for various local charities. This year, students collectively bartered items totaling nearly $300 in value. Items traded included a variety of valuable goods.

Dyck’s class is just one example of how University of La Verne faculty are fostering a community of changemakers. To stay updated on all the latest happenings at the university, visit the University of La Verne news page at

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