February 21. 2013 8:24PM

Rivier launches business advisory board

Union Leader Correspondent

NASHUA - With a goal of fostering better relationships with local businesses, Rivier University has formed an advisory board to help strengthen and expand the university's business division.

The 26-member Business Program Advisory Board held its first meeting Jan. 31, focusing on skills employers look for in new employees.

Led by Dean of Business Administration and Assistant Professor of Business Administration Amir Toosi, the board will look at not only what, "employers can do for Rivier, but what Rivier can do for employers," Toosi said.

Many board members are focused on "how to make the Nashua area a better place for business in the future," he said.

Of the 26 members, 12 seats come from leaders in business, government and the military while the other 14 are members of the university's faculty and administration. The biggest benefit of the new board is increasing the lines of communication between Rivier and local businesses, Toosi said.

"We are learning and communicating with board members and listening to their expertise and knowledge about what is happening today and tomorrow in their respective fields. We are asking how the university could better be prepared for the students and vice-versa, how the faculty and administration can share what is happening in higher education with an eye towards increased collaborations and partnerships with local businesses," Toosi explained.

According to Rivier spokeswoman Julia Agresto, the university has been consistently looking for ways to increase the variety of business classes it offers.

"With a demand for diverse business programs and courses, the (advisory board) will help to improve on the university's current offerings while also exploring the possibility of new programs and courses in the future," Agresto said.

A key relationship that Toosi said the board will help the university foster is with the Greater Nashua Chamber of Commerce. With some board members already members of the chamber, and Rivier's supply of strong students, Toosi said the board will help increase student participation in the community through internships and volunteering.

Toosi said the board would meet again this fall.