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A scholarship fund has been established at Queen’s School of Business to honour Jim Leech, the retiring head of Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan and the incoming chancellor of Queen’s.Tim Fraser/The Globe and Mail

The Globe's biweekly business-school news roundup.

Case studies that examine company problems – and how to solve them – are a staple of business education. But what if a business school itself is the case study?

Carleton University's Sprott School of Business has all the ingredients for a compelling case analysis on how to locate, finance and build a new home. The school is housed in the university's tallest tower that suffers from a small floor plate and inadequate elevator service to move large numbers of students. As a result, 2,000 undergraduates are scattered among several other buildings on campus.

"Business schools depend on developing an esprit de corps among students and we do, but we have to take extra actions to develop that," says Sprott dean Jerry Tomberlin, who plans to make a new building the centrepiece of his expected second term.

Befitting a case study, the heavy lifting required to win the necessary approvals comes with financial, political and regulatory hurdles – and competing solutions.

A new school is one of two top capital projects for Carleton in Ottawa, but there is neither a timetable nor assured funding for a building that could cost $50-million to $60-million (and even higher with, as some hope, a hotel in the plan).

Two possible sites are being mulled by officials. One is on campus and the other on an island, part of a 37-acre parcel of privately-owned land, near Chaudière Falls on the Ottawa River linking Ottawa and Gatineau, Que. Both locations have merits, says Prof. Tomberlin, but some see the river site as a future innovation and entrepreneurship hub for Ottawa.

"That's golden," the dean says. "It matches so many of the things we are doing."

Whatever the ultimate location, it will involve approvals from multiple levels of government and participation by the private sector.

Meanwhile, in an innovative collaboration, students from the schools of business and architecture have teamed up, as part of their course assignments, to make a public presentation next week on the case for each site.

Exposing linear-thinking business students to design-oriented architecture students is part of an emerging trend in business education. "Successful business is about a marriage of the two [perspectives]," says Prof. Tomberlin. "Each one informs the other."

He says the student collaboration has "created a buzz," lending visibility to the emerging campaign for a new building that he sees as "absolutely essential for us."

So does the push for a new home have the makings of a business case study? "I think it does," says Prof. Tomberlin.

Ontario schools receive CPA accreditation

Under new national standards set for the new chartered professional accountant designation – one of the byproducts of unification efforts under way by the accounting profession in Canada – two Ontario business schools are the first to receive accreditation for their long-standing accounting programs.

Brock University's Goodman School of Business, with a bachelor and master of accountancy, and Queen's School of Business, with a graduate diploma in accounting, announced they have received accreditation for their programs from the Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario under the new national standards.

Brian Leader, CPA Ontario vice-president of learning, says other business schools in the province are moving "as quickly as they can" to make program adjustments to reaffirm their standing. He adds that the University of Waterloo's master of accounting program has been grandfathered to 2019.

Across the country, three former professional organizations representing chartered accountants, certified management accountants and certified general accountants are at various stages of unifying under the banner of the chartered professional accountant designation. With national standards, students completing their CPA-accredited studies in one jurisdiction will be recognized for their degree or diploma elsewhere in Canada.

"It makes it easy for employers and students to move across the country without having any worries about 'where do I fit,'" says Mr. Leader.

Goodman dean Don Cyr says CPA recognition of his school's programs is invaluable for student recruitment.

"We have been reaffirmed as one of the most complete packages toward the professional accounting designation, now [known as] CPA," he says. "When students finish up with us, they are ready to write the common final evaluation [exam required to earn the CPA designation]."

Endowment fund named for pension fund leader

Donors have contributed $1.75-million – with more donations expected – for an endowment fund at Queen's School of Business to honour Jim Leech, who is retiring as president of Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan.

The scholarship fund, the largest in the history of the Queen's MBA program, will offer merit-based financial assistance to full-time students as of 2015.

In a press release, business school dean David Saunders described the new award as a "fitting tribute" to Mr. Leech, current chair of the school's business advisory board and incoming chancellor of Queen's.

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