The design for the College of Business and Leadership is characterized by flexibility and open spaces

The design for the College of Business and Leadership is characterized by flexibility and open spaces

The physical space at Harrison Hall where DePauw University’s new School of Business and Leadership will be an open and inviting setting with flexible classrooms that can be used for different teaching and learning styles.

Dave Berque, Vice President for Academic Affairs, said, “When you think about space, you want to put people first, and therefore understand the needs of faculty and students — not just the faculty who might be teaching the courses listed in the School of Business and Leadership but the faculty Teaching who may already teach at Harrison Hole or plan to teach in some of the newly renovated venues – is really important.”

Representatives of Studio Ma, a people-focused architecture firm from Phoenix that designs the space, were in Greencastle in late August to hear from university leaders, faculty, and students about how to accommodate modern-day learning and create the space for welcoming people from across the campus and invited DePauw guests.

“It takes a lot of careful listening, a lot of questions and a lot of interaction to really get to the bottom of what people really want to see in their spaces,” said Christiana Moss, Director of Studio Ma.

She said her company wanted to “introduce all the ideals and goals to the School of Business and Leadership” at Harrison Hall. “We really focused on the idea that space could ‘transform the new school’s focus on business leadership and ethics.

Moss and two colleagues listened to 13 students who attended the hour-long session who stressed the need for individual study space and their desire to create a warm, not industrial, tone.

The school will share space in Harrison Hall with the academic departments already located in the three-story red-brick building, which dates back to 1938. The university leadership team decided that flexible classrooms, which would be available for use by any academic department, would be available. It can be configured for lectures, small group collaboration, or any other learning style. The classrooms will be equipped with wireless technology and 12 Bloomberg stations, which will give students access to research tools and facilitate collaboration.

A common area will be available for all campuses, not just for students in the College of Business and Leadership. The lobby with a stretch ceiling will signal the connections between the disciplines found in Harrison and highlight the building.

The business and leadership school, which will launch next fall, is part of the Bold & Gold 2027 strategic plan announced in March. It will be one of only four business schools in the country to be ranked in the top 50 liberal arts colleges and the only one in the Midwest.

Demolition of parts of Harrison Hall is scheduled to begin in December and construction is scheduled to begin in January.

Berkey said the Harrison School of Business and Leadership’s location and related architectural decisions were intentional, so that students neither feel isolated from campus nor more elite than students in other disciplines. After seeking experiences at other institutions, DePauw seeks to avoid business and leadership students who identify with their school rather than the university as a whole.

University leaders also want architecture to indicate DePauw’s multidisciplinary nature. “One of the principles of the academic renewal part of the strategic plan is to focus on and strengthen the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences,” Berkey said. This means that the things that happen in the College of Arts and Sciences will have an impact on shaping the College of Business and Leadership, as well as the Creative School. …Neither of these two new schools will operate in a silo.

They will be largely integrated with the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and that means we need to think comprehensively while developing the spaces.”

See more about school design at this video.

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