If Broad’s Walls Could Talk, They’d Ask for a Change

By Caroline Brooks

“I chose Broad College of Business because I felt like it would provide me with all the resources I needed to excel. Not just in the classroom, but also to develop professionally. The wide variety of courses and renowned professors made the choice easy for me. Broad encompassed everything I wanted in a business school: a community, a challenge, and a commitment to me as a student,” said Broad Student Senate President Kari Jurewicz (BA Accounting ’17).

For many students like Jurewicz, Broad’s reputation for excellence and making an impact draw them through the doors of the Business College Complex. But once they begin their Broad journey, they’re met with academic challenges outside course curriculum.

“If you look around during the school year, it’s clear to see that the space isn’t conducive to what we need to succeed in our classes,” Jurewicz said. Built in 1961 and 1992, respectively, the Eppley Center and North Business College Complex have been home to the largest academic college at Michigan State University. Thousands of students trickle in and out every day, and they rely on the buildings to foster the necessities of academia in and outside the classroom.

But academic needs have changed drastically in the five decades since much of the current facilities were built. Lectures represent just a small part of the Broad experience, and sitting silently in a classroom means you’re not moving forward. Group projects and collaboration spaces, sophisticated technology and digital classrooms are what today’s students require, and what college leadership recognizes is needed to prepare business leaders of tomorrow.

According to Princeton University research, traditional models of education are no longer effective at preparing engaged, sophisticated 21st century students. “This model is being replaced by constructivist educational pedagogy that emphasizes the role students play in making connections and developing ideas, solutions, and questions,” the report notes.

“Group and team projects are a huge part of every course, so you’ll find students sitting on the floors in hallways, trying to find an empty spot that only accommodates two or three, or having to leave the complex altogether to meet and work together,” Jurewicz said. For a college committed to cultivating a community feeling and with a reputation as one of the top public business schools in the U.S., the current physical space does not reflect the dynamic culture, character, and spirit of Broad scholars and faculty.

Enter the Broad College Pavilion, currently in the design and development process with the goal of breaking ground in 2017.

The pavilion facility will be home to undergraduate and graduate students, and will include impressive features that will enhance the learning experience, connect students with the resources they need to thrive, and attract future students to begin their own Broad journey.

The pavilion will include a host of study spaces that enhance the modern student experience and encourage productive interaction among students and faculty, as well as quiet spaces for individual work. An open concept featuring walls of windows will give the space natural light and views of campus, a multipurpose event space will serve as the stage to executive education and recruitment events, and an atrium will encourage students to mingle and build connections outside the classroom.

These pavilion plans align with research findings on fully engaging in constructivist learning, which concluded that “students need to transition between lecture, group study, presentation, discussion, and individual work time.” Inside the classrooms, spaces will be flexible and flat with movable tables for group work. They will offer cutting-edge technology to support the curriculum and video-conferencing capabilities for satellite guest speaker appearances and connecting with companies around the world.

In its current space, the Lear Corporation Career Services Center is remotely situated from the classrooms and advisory offices. “Plenty of students don’t even know that one of the university’s best-kept job resources is in our backyard. Having career experts and resources is something Broad prides itself in, and it’s not even used to its fullest potential,” Jurewicz said. The pavilion’s new combined Career Management Center will be extremely accessible to students and will provide career placement and other services to students, recruiters, and Broad’s corporate partners.

“My hope for the next generation of Broad scholars is to have a place to learn that reflects what draws us all to Broad in the first place: a sense of community and a place where we can be challenged and thrive,” Jurewicz said.