Students, faculty and staff celebrated the opening of the College of Business Teaching and Learning Center with an open house on Wednesday, October 10 in Howard L. Hawks Hall. The center offers workshops and events to support faculty in the classroom and help students develop academic skills and confidence.
As one of the feature learning spaces in the new $84 million, 240,000-square-foot building funded entirely by private donations, the center focuses on the needs of both students and faculty. Dr. Kathy Farrell, interim dean and State Farm Professor of Finance, believes it can be transformational to the business education offered at Nebraska.
“The Teaching and Learning Center has launched at a pivotal time for our college. While Hawks Hall provides a state-of-the-art facility, the new center helps us utilize new teaching styles in the new building’s cluster and case style classrooms and other pedagogical support to and opportunities for our faculty. It also provides important academic support to students so they are successful in their courses and in the future,” Farrell said.
The college hired Dr. Tawnya Means, assistant dean and director of the Teaching and Learning Center, and Kate McCown, assistant director, to lead the center. Prior to joining Nebraska, Means spent ten years as the director for the Teaching and Learning Center at the Warrington College of Business at the University of Florida. McCown came to Nebraska Business from the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University.
Building upon the college’s reputation for community and collaboration, Means seeks to further promote a culture of interaction and engagement between faculty and students.
“The Teaching and Learning Center offers support and assistance to faculty which allows them to spend time focusing on things that are important for them to be doing, such as interacting with students. They don’t have to spend time thinking about things such as the six different ways they could teach this class and which one is the best fit,” she said.
Means believes the center can bring faculty and students together in new ways to promote meaningful engagement between them, including casual ‘meet and eat’ luncheons. Providing these opportunities for feedback as well as for relationship building enhances students’ learning experience.
“As our center focuses on business faculty and students, we are excited to bring them together and bridge gaps that might be between them. When students see their faculty member teaching, they may feel hesitant to go up and actually interact with them,” she said. “We want to find ways we can bring faculty and students together so they can talk and get to know each other. A student who develops a mentoring relationship with a faculty member goes on to be much more successful in their future than if they hadn’t had that relationship.”
The center also provides academic support to students so they can be successful in their classes and beyond college.
McCown said, “College is such an investment for families, and we owe it to our students to provide them resources to help them be successful in the classroom.”
Students can benefit from the center’s study groups, course mentors and supplemental support for challenging courses. They can also participate in workshops with topics such as developing study skills, managing test anxiety, time management and more.
“We want students to feel comfortable in our space and to learn and prepare for their future. There are a lot of services within the College of Business that already do pieces of that, and we want to collaborate with all the different pieces to bring that into a whole,” said Means.