By Anne Macdonald
At this writing, all one can see in front of the Bill and Vieve Gore School of Business is a massive hole with the rudiments of concrete footings. However, Dean James (Cid) Seidelman assures us that the extension to the business school, the Center for Business, Aviation, and Entrepreneurship, will open its doors in fall 2002.
Before starting plans for this 33,800-square-foot expansion, Seidelman formed an advisory board with executives from various industries, asking them, "What skills and educational outcomes do students need to be prepared for work?" Then, along with architects, he went to work to design an expansion that would provide students with the balance between theoretical and hands-on experience that businesses told him they needed.
This high-tech facility features "smart classrooms" that utilize innovative techniques such as interactive learning and multimedia curricula. These innovations support the traditional case-study approach to teaching business.
Among the many other outstanding features of the new addition, the Financial Analysis and Investment Center goes beyond the simulated trading room, enabling students to test solutions to finance problems with either live markets or historical data from Reuters, Dow Jones, NASDAQ, Bloomberg, and other databases. Students can look at the history of a single industry or study markets and their reactions to our global economy.
Each classroom in the new center will include Ethernet ports at every seat, providing access to the Internet and the college's network. Modem control, center podiums, and state-of-the-art ceiling-mounted projectors designed for dynamic presentations complement the classrooms.
Another unique feature is the Behavioral Simulation and Team Learning Laboratory. This facility enables faculty to set up live behavioral simulations. The facility can be divided into two rooms and features an observation booth that will provide needed feedback to students developing teamwork and group-interaction skills. "We can observe the behavior of a focus group and send the information back to the classroom in real time. It might be used in a marketing class, for example," said Seidelman.
Westminster's business school emphasizes entrepreneurship, and the new facility will certainly aid in that aspect of a business education. The Entrepreneurship Center will educate and mentor new business ventures. This allows students and faculty to form partnerships with entrepreneurs and learn from their practical experience.
The mentor-team rooms provide offices for students to team up with partner companies. Students mentor the early-stage companies and assist in bringing a new product or service to market.
Complementing the Flight Operations Center, which opened last year at the airport, will be an Aviation Simulation Laboratory and Testing Center, as well as an Aviation Computer Simulation Room.
"There's no question that the new Center for Business, Aviation, and Entrepreneurship will push the technology horizons of the college further than they have ever been. The center will join a few select, technologically advanced business facilities in the world. At Westminster, the center will serve to integrate both theory and practice, which is exactly what business leaders told us they want and where the Gore Business School places an emphasis," said Seidelman.