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January 23, 2012

Identifying the Ideal College of Business  

By Ben Eberlein, Mary Vrieze, and Emily Swift

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As students of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire College of Business, we receive an exceptional education, but have you ever wondered how your experience could be enhanced by improvements to Schneider Hall? What could the facility that houses the College of Business look like if space and money were not issues?

To learn what changes students and faculty would like to see made to Schneider Hall, we sent a survey to all 2,100 COB students. We heard back from 229 individuals. We also conducted personal interviews with several faculty members.

The survey revealed that the features students would like to see changed in Schneider Hall include adding study lounges and laptop charging areas, providing additional computer labs (including an Apple computer lab) with more printers, updating and modernizing the business and classrooms, creating a career services center dedicated to business students, creating a large gathering space for receptions and other events, and adding food and drink vendors. Many students also would like to see Schneider Hall dedicated entirely to the College of Business. They felt this would create a greater sense of community among students and faculty.

With one or more of these improvements, 94% of students surveyed said they would spend more time in Schneider, while 89% said it would enhance their overall college experience.

To better understand some of the desires of the business faculty, we interviewed three faculty members: Dr. Dawna Drum, coordinator, College of Business Instructional Technology, Dr. Jack Hoggatt, assistant dean, undergraduate student affairs, and Dr. Paula Lentz, program director, Department of Business Communication. Dr. Drum would like to see some improvements in the functionality of the building, which could include more shared space for relaxing and working, and updated and more comfortable classrooms.

"The addition of more electrical outlets in classrooms so students can use COB-required laptops would be a good idea, too," Drum said.

Dr. Hoggatt felt small breakout rooms, mentoring rooms, and meeting rooms for student organizations "would be a nice addition to Schneider". Dr. Lentz agreed with Hoggatt that Schneider is in need of a greater variety of rooms for students to work in.

"My dream would be to add a business communications lab," she said.

While dreaming of an ideal College of Business may be exciting, how likely is it that significant changes will occur in Schneider Hall?

“It's very possible, according to College of Business Dean Diane Hoadley. “A general reshuffling of space will occur throughout the UW-Eau Claire campus with the addition of the new College of Education and Human Sciences building,” she said.  

The new education building will house the college's administrative offices, the departments of English, foreign languages and special education; and select student support services, such as the Office of Multicultural Affairs. As English and other units move from their current locations into the new building, space will open up in other buildings. Non-business units in Schneider Hall, for example, may relocate to this vacated space. If this were to happen, it is possible that one day Schneider Hall may be totally dedicated to the College of Business, its academic departments and programs, and departments sharing programs with the college, such as the Department of Economics.

The possibility of major remodeling occurring in Schneider Hall remains in the idea generation stage for now.

To students, faculty and alumni disappointed by this news, Dr. Hoggatt offers the following comment:

"The faculty and students make a great school, not the building," he said. "The facilities are the icing on the cake; they don't make the education."

UW-Eau Claire already has a great College of Business because we have a fantastic student body and dedicated, committed faculty members.

Eberlein, Vriez and Swift wrote this article for their Advanced Business Writing class. Eberlein is a senior marketing analytics major from New Berlin, WI; Vriez is a senior management-HR major from Jim Falls, WI, and Swift is a senior marketing analytics major from Onalaska, WI.

Excellence. Our Measure. Our Motto. Our Goal.