Among summer touch ups at Ashford University was a library renovation. Educators are even more excited about a new business partnership with Forbes.

CLINTON — There’s been a lot of sprucing up since the Ashford University Clinton campus concluded with graduation this spring. Renovations this past summer included kitchenette upgrades at the former Best Western satellite dorms, resurfacing the gym floor at the St. Francis gymnasium, enhancing the campus theater and rearranging the AU library.

Educational programming is what has Vice President and Campus Director Charlie Minnick enthused for the start of the fall semester. Each year, he said, curriculum becomes increasingly career-minded. By partnering with Forbes media — one of America’s leading business outlets — Minnick believes business-degree seekers will be especially equipped post-graduation.

“That’s one area we’ve put emphasis into,” Minnick said Wednesday, two days after classes resumed. “It gives students additional resources, tapping into all of the editors and experts associated with the Forbes group.”

The relationship actually started last November with a keynote speaker series that brought in top business professionals. One of them was Forbes’ renowned columnist Ken Fisher, who along with being a billionaire CEO, has authored 10 books on successful practices. Two other speeches took place last spring, and four to five more are anticipated this school year.

Minnick is the former dean of Ashford’s business school, which was renamed the Forbes School of Business at Ashford University. Forbes’ resources extend beyond speaking engagements, Minnick said, describing heavy curriculum involvement.

“Our students really get access to content that’s only available to our students,” he said. “That’s a huge benefit to us. It’s sort of cutting-edge knowledge into the business world. We have our faculty who are experts in the field. Now we have a much bigger pool of experts to dig into. We’ll continue to make sure we tap into all of those resources.”

It’s a partnership that falls under the career-readiness umbrella. As a whole, that topic was a major curriculum focus for Minnick and other Ashford leaders.

“We’re going to be more focused on academic skill building,” Minnick said. “We have dedicated time. Our overarching goal is to make sure we have graduates and alumni, not just students.”

As for ongoing efforts, Minnick said that enhancing community ties continues to be a focus. He didn’t delve into specific tactics, though he added that making in roads with Gateway-based career opportunities is an ongoing educational mission.

To him, it points Ashford toward growth.

“For us, it’s putting that emphasis on student success and academic skill building,” Minnick said.

Associate Editor Brenden West can be contacted at