With THE Performance Improvement Conference just around the corner, the excitement is building around ISPI’s fourth annual University Case Study Competition (CSC).

The competition kicked off in January, when university teams from participating schools Concordia University, Penn State University, and Indiana University began their research into the simulation’s fictitious client Magic Sticks, a blended specialty retailer and baked goods wholesaler. The CSC provides a safe environment for the students and emerging professionals to apply the skills they have been learning in their graduate programs in a simulated, yet authentic scenario. Throughout the competition, the teams of graduate students studying human performance technology and instructional systems technology performed industry research, analyzed data, reviewed the company’s intranet, and conducted live interviews with employees of the company, orchestrated by the competition’s volunteer development team.

Based on their research, the university teams created a detailed intervention proposal with their recommendations to maximize Magic Stick’s productivity and performance. This first component of the competition was due March 30.

The competition will culminate April 21 and 22 at THE Performance Improvement Conference in Toronto, when all three groups will present their research and recommendations before a panel of expert judges. The second day of the competition, the judges will participate in a question-and-answer session with the students, delving further into the teams’ work.  Evaluation criteria will focus on the ISPI 10 Standards of Performance Technology. Judges for this year’s competition include:

  • Jeanne Farrington, CPT, EdD, president of J. Farrington Consulting
  • Matt Peters, CPT, vice deputy director of human capital at the Defense Intelligence Agency
  • Louise Leone, performance manager, Imperial Oil
  • Daniel J. Miller, senior vice president, Global Learning Solutions

Competition facilitators are Matthew Donovan, executive director, Option Six, GP Strategies Corporation, and Jessica Briskin, chair of ISPI’s Emerging Professionals Committee.

The winning university team will be announced at THE Conference’s closing session Monday, April 23. A $2,000 prize will be awarded to the winning team. The University Case Study Competition is sponsored by GP Strategies Corporation. Last year’s CSC winner was Wayne State University.