Buildings are brick and mortar. But they aren’t just brick and mortar, says Anthony Hendrickson, PhD, dean of the Heider College of Business.
“The newly renovated Harper Center reflects who we are philosophically and academically. It’s where great ideas are formed, where people and programs come together to make the world a better place,” Hendrickson says.
The $25 million renovations commenced in early 2020, thanks to the generosity of the Heider Family Foundation, which also earmarked funding for scholarships.
Despite the pandemic, construction was nearly completed when students returned to campus in August. By Labor Day, all second and third floor classrooms were open, bringing the total to 18 state-of-the-art classrooms, an increase of five. Each is outfitted with new height-adjusted, mobile podiums; projectors and screens; white boards; video cameras, microphones and speakers (perfect for Zoom classes); WACOM interactive monitors with available stylus annotation; adaptable furniture; and lighting systems. Several of the classrooms are equipped with multiple wall monitors that can mirror the professor’s screen or allow students to connect their devices to share content.
In addition to classroom expansion, 15 faculty offices have also been added to the third and fourth floors as the college had run out of faculty office space. There is also a dedicated space for graduate students and adjunct faculty.
Collaboration features heavily in Heider College of Business instruction, and the renovations support this. Over 50 spaces designed for cooperative learning are now available. Approximately half are Huddle rooms – small study areas outfitted with tables, seating and monitors – where students can meet with each other and faculty while adhering to social distancing requirements.
Common spaces are also operational, as are private study stalls, throughout the Harper Center. Innovation Labs, including an analytics lab, a digital content lab and an agency practicum lab, as well as an Institute for Economic Inquiry room, are ready to greet students when they return the end of January.
Though always part of the renovation plans, these spaces have taken on new significance in light of the pandemic. They provide students safe places to work with each other and faculty, and to study in between classes.
“Students and their parents overwhelming expressed a desire for an on-campus experience,” says Hendrickson, “and many features of the renovation – enhanced technology for Zoom classes, Huddle rooms, open workspaces – have enabled in-person instruction that is both engaging and safe.”
The Heider Securities Investment and Analysis Center has a new home on the main (second) floor, as does the expanded iJay – still, the only student-run Apple Campus Store – which celebrated its grand opening October 15. The St. Peter Faber, SJ Chapel is nestled in between the two, reminding students, faculty and staff the importance that reflection and time for prayer play in daily living. And because college students are fueled by caffeine, Starbucks is open for business across from the iJay.
Other highlights include a more spacious Creighton Bookstore, relocated to the ground floor. The Office of Admissions and its neighbor, the John P. Fahey Career Center, are also on the ground floor.
“Thanks in large part to the generosity of the Heider Family Foundation and our many other donors, students were able to have a campus-based education. Ninety percent of our classes were in person,” says Hendrickson. “We are grateful that the timing of the renovations helped us navigate operations during the pandemic, and we welcome the opportunity to continue our mission of transforming business education.”