MBA students create plans to re-engineer Bridgeport government


Six advanced graduate students in Fairfield University's School of Business MBA program recently applied management and information science approaches to helping the City of Bridgeport re-engineer and implement key administrative practices and technologies.

Their fieldwork was part of a cross-disciplinary course in Decision-Making and Information Systems, co-taught by Dr. Robert DeMichiell, professor of information systems, and Dr. James Keenan, professor of communication. Using executive information systems approaches and technologies, students worked closely with senior government officials to address the opportunities, possibilities, and needs for Bridgeport to attain world-class status in developing ideas and innovative ways to tackle its problems, its manufacturing base, and trade and international connections.

After working in Bridgeport during the summer and early fall, the students conducted a forum at which they presented their perspectives and recommendations to top City officials and civic leaders. A presentation by graduate students Joseph Funeri and John Henry analyzed Bridgeport's strengths and opportunities for becoming "world class," according to Dr. Keenan.

Recommendations were made for identifying the area's core skills, defining performance standards, celebrating excellence, promoting customer-focus in government and business, facilitating business-government collaboration, improving education, helping minority companies, and developing a foreign-friendly and globally-linked community.

In applying executive-information-systems concepts and approaches, students Kevin Roney and Paul Rychlik described the trends in information technology in cities across the country and presented their analyses of the information-technology needs among the operations and departments of Bridgeport's City Hall.

Their recommendations, developed in close collaboration with Michael Nidoh, Bridgeport's director of planning and development, included specifications for developing a comprehensive database, expanding and sharing local area information networks, providing Internet and World Wide Web access to City government, and developing information kiosks for citizen use.

The students designed and illustrated computer-based information displays for use by internal staffs and citizens. These displays included a series of web pages complete with branching sub-directories and professional, user-friendly icons and menus.

Two of the students in the course were from the University of Limburgh in Maastricht, Holland: Michelle de Lussanet and Thijs Rosman. Their presentations at the joint Fairfield University - City of Bridgeport forum included detailed flowchart analyses of Bridgeport's complicated Planning and Zoning processes.

The analyses contained descriptions of the interrelationship of zoning, site planning, coastal siting, special permits, variances, public hearings, and appeals processes associated with the applications of businesses for locations in Bridgeport. The students presented specific recommendations for re-engineering these processes.

Drs. Keenan and DeMichiell and several of the students will describe the coursework and present casework and symposia on the approach at several professional society meetings next summer in Edinburgh, Finland, and St. Petersburg.

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on November 1, 1996