||Schofield Hall 218|
||Eau Claire, WI 54702-4004|
College of Business Opens|
Cargill Technology Center
MAILED: April 20, 1999|
Nervous about disagreeing with your boss during a meeting? Unsure how to organize the ideas that come out of a brainstorming session? Dreading going to yet another poorly planned meeting?
Those types of issues will be a thing of the past for people using the newest technology center in the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire's College of Business.
The Cargill Technology Center will help UW-Eau Claire's business students hone problem-solving, decision-making, communication and teamwork skills with the support of the latest groupware and application development tools.
"The center is unusual no other business school in the UW System has its hardware and software capabilities," said Tom Dock, dean of the College of Business. "Our students will gain a competitive advantage because they are working with the latest technology."
The center features Ventana GroupSystems, a suite of team-based, decision support software tools that shorten the cycle time for strategic planning, product development, problem solving and other business processes. The center also supports Oracle 2000, Visual Basic, and advanced Web development software which management information systems students will use for a variety of system development applications.
The conference style room features 24 workstations equipped with IBM computers with flat monitors. Fiber optic links to each workstation provide virtual interaction among the computers. Other equipment in the room includes an electronic marker board that is connected on-line to the teaching station, a remote control video camera for recording discussions and presentations, a sound system that responds to data movement and a teleconferencing unit that allows audio bridging via the telephone line.
Students in undergraduate business courses as well as in the MBA program will use the center, said Bill Korn, chair of the department of management information systems. The center has a lot of potential for teaching and research, he said.
UW-Eau Claire business students will use the center for activities such as business case analysis, survey designs, focus group research, class presentations, new business idea generation, collaborative writing, business planning and systems development.
"For example, a group could use Ventana software for strategic planning, said Marilyn Bergmann, College of Business technology coach/trainer.
What people write on their screens will appear on all screens in the room, allowing people to share their thoughts while remaining anonymous. "You can have a discussion this way, and it allows anonymity," she said. "As a result, the person with the most authority in the room has no more voice than anyone else in the room."
Meeting participants also could brainstorm ideas, with the computer recording all ideas on all screens. Software features enable the facilitator to quickly organize those ideas in any way that the group would find useful, Bergmann said, adding that there also are things such as voting tools that allow a group to quickly make a decision, again while voters remain anonymous.
"The technology center was envisioned to operate as a teaching aide, allowing faculty and students to gain experience with advanced technology," said Steve Laing, vice president of sector control at Cargill and a member of the UW-Eau Claire College of Business Advisory Committee. "UW-Eau Claire has always provided the marketplace with well-trained, contemporary business graduates. The Cargill Technology Center allows for the continuation of that tradition."
The lead gift for the center came from Cargill, a company that has recruited graduates of UW-Eau Claire's College of Business for more than 20 years. "We are pleased to sponsor the new technology center at UW-Eau Claire and see significant benefits in supporting such a strong business school in the region," said Lloyd Taylor, corporate vice president of information technology at Cargill.
Cargill is an international marketer, processor and distributor of agricultural, food, financial and industrial products with some 80,600 employees in more than 1,000 locations in 65 countries and with business activities in 130 more. Through grantmaking, partnerships and volunteerism, Cargill contributes more than $14 million each year to civic and charitable organizations to help fulfill the company's vision to raise living standards around the world by delivering increased value to producers and consumers.
Also supporting the center were Johnson Controls, Professional Education Systems Inc., Cisco Systems Inc. and 3M.
The College of Business will demonstrate some of the center's software capabilities during a dedication at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. April 30. The center is located in room 204 of Schneider Hall.
For more information about the Cargill Technology Center, call Bergmann or Jim La Barre, College of Business instructional computing director, at (715) 836-5509.
Janice B. Wisner
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Updated: April 20, 1999