The LeBow College of Business is hosting the Classroom ArchiTECH Competition, in which one undergraduate or graduate student and two full-time faculty members will collaborate to compete with other teams for up to $46,000 in prize money.
The goal of the program is to reinvent two business courses using the extensive resources that will be provided within the new LeBow business building. Teams must register by March 1 and will then have until April 1 to present a proposal on how their suggested changes to the courses can be effectively implemented and ultimately become successful in the classroom environment.
“I think it’s great. When I first did research on Drexel, I saw that they were a leading school in technology implementation. And that interested me in selecting Drexel. As it is a school that is ahead of technology, it has a lot of potential in the future. They want to continue to be technologically savvy. It will really set Drexel apart from other schools,” said John Cao, a senior majoring in accounting and management information systems.
LeBow interim Dean Frank Linnehan is a prime proponent of the competition and is very optimistic about the prospects of the building’s ability to add to the experiential learning environment at Drexel. As the man behind the idea, Linnehan spoke in depth about the benefits that can come from the competition.
“[From the competition] you become familiar with the new building, as it is the first opportunity to get to know what resources are available,” he said.
Participants will receive a first glimpse into the goings-on of the construction on Market Street. As Drexel often looks for innovative ways to expand its borders and technology, some of the features of the new LeBow building include integrated teaching technology, videoconferencing capabilities and an incubator space for start-up companies.
The layout for teaching is divided into lecture halls and specialized cluster, case and collaboration classrooms. Each room has a function and is configured differently — cluster rooms contain tiered tables or pods and flat-screen monitors on the walls that enable teamwork. This also allows the opportunity to do case studies, and the soundproof behavioral labs allow student groups to convene and record meetings.
The featured collaboration classrooms are group rooms based on a design from the University of Southern California.
“USC had this idea, and we loved it. One of the best ways to teach leadership is to see people work in groups through experiential education. And with these new structures, new classes are being added to the curriculum, such as a leadership class for undergraduate students,” Linnehan said.
Mark Eyerly, executive director of communications, explained how the building designs and the later competition ideas were conceived.
“As plans were being made for the building, we asked questions like ‘What should a business school look like?’ and ‘What capabilities should it have?’ and then the possibilities became more firm and more tangible. Through this competition, we’re setting up the best learning environment to give students the best possible education,” Eyerly said.
A panel consisting partially of the dean’s advisory council, current associate deans and heads of the academic departments will judge the entrants’ proposals. The winning team of the competition will be announced in May and will be able to implement its suggestions and structured teaching guidelines directly into the new classrooms open to students.
As construction plans are running five months ahead of schedule, students and faculty will be able to see the results of the new building and program in fall 2013.
More information about the rules of the ArchiTECH competition can be found at www.drexel.edu/LeBow. In the meantime, college executives plan to market the program by giving out T-shirts and microfiber mobile phone screen cleaners.