The University of Pennsylvania’s School of Arts and Sciences and four flooring trade associations have finalized the curriculum and established dates for the customized learning program that is the basis of “The Institute for Leadership and Business Growth.”

The Institute is designed to enable participants to study the essentials of business management and develop new skills and strategies to grow their businesses. This educational opportunity is available exclusively to members in good standing of the Association of Rug Care Specialists, National Wood Flooring Association, North American Association of Floor Covering Distributors and the World Floor Covering Association.  Participants must be business owners, senior managers or managers being groomed to lead a business in some capacity.

The curriculum was developed after extensive conversations among Penn faculty and leaders of the four trade associations.  The process included a half-day session on the Penn campus in July, followed by discussions with other leaders of the four associations to ensure the curriculum is tailored to meet the needs of their members.  Rick Holden, chairman of the National Wood Flooring Association indicated, “Leaders of the four trade associations and the Penn faculty and staff have invested a great deal of time and effort in ensuring that the courses offered provide value and an excellent return on investment.” 

The customized learning program will balance traditional classroom work with online courses, reducing the amount of time participants spend away from their businesses.  Faculty will include professors from Penn’s Wharton School, widely recognized as one of the world’s leading business schools and the School of Arts and Sciences’ Organizational Dynamics Program, among other Penn faculty and practitioners.

The academic program will officially begin with a dinner on January 13, 2013 on the University of Pennsylvania campus. This will be an opportunity for participants to network among themselves, meet and share background on their individual businesses with the faculty who will be instructing them, and define specific, business-related team projects in which they will be involved.

Participants will reside on the Penn campus January 14-16, 2013, immersed in courses such as:

  • Family Business Issues
  • Customer-Centric Innovation
  • Negotiations

Following these in-class learning opportunities, participants will engage in online learning over a several week period.  The customized online learning platform allows participants to join from any location using a web interface.  It will offer real time classroom lectures, discussions with faculty and peers and storage of all course work.  Participants will be required to spend 3 hours or more per week taking advantage of learning opportunities in: 

  • Financial Management: Theory and Practice
  • Entrepreneurial Marketing
  • Communications and Branding
  • Operations Management
  • Human Resource Management:  Recruitment and Retention Strategies

In April, 2013, participants will return to the Penn campus for a final two days of focused in-classroom learning.  Course topics during this two-day period will be:  

  • Leadership and Organizational Culture
  • Leadership Development
  • Leading Organizational Change
  • Succession Planning as a Leadership Tool

During the final day, participants will present the findings and results of their team projects.  The presentations will be followed by a celebratory dinner, during which participants who have successfully completed the coursework will receive certificates from the University of Pennsylvania.

Tuition for the educational program will be $7,800 per participant.  It will include five days of in-class instruction on the University of Pennsylvania campus; several weeks of on-line learning; coaching during execution of team projects; the opening and closing dinners and lunches during on-campus sessions.

Enrollment can be done on-line beginning September 20, 2012.   Interested participants can apply at A non-refundable deposit of $2,000 will be required at the time of enrollment. 

Additional information is available by contacting Rita McGlone at