Our Second Collaboration Room Opens This Week

By the end of the is week, both our Collaboration Rooms should be open.  These rooms each hold 200 students and are meant to support our REAL (Relevant, Engaged, Active Learning) courses.    Collaboration 1 is on the first floor and was formerly known as Room 107.  Collaboration 2 is on the second floor.  It was a number of different rooms before the remodel.  If you are scheduled to come to  a core course class to participate in a group exercise, it will be in one of these two rooms.  They look like this…

As you enter these group sessions, keep in mind that our REAL courses change the role of the faculty member in the learning process. Lots of research shows that students learn more when they are in blended learning formats that allow them to prepare outside of the class using on-line tools and then come to apply what they have learned with others in class. Rather than lecturers, faculty are content curators, facilitators and de-briefers interested in developing student competencies through real world application. This means it’s important that you come prepared for these sessions.  You are no long passive consumers of lecture content.  Instead, you are an active participant in learning.  If you are unprepared, it’s going to be obvious to everyone.

Feedback from our REAL courses over the last two semesters shows that the vast majority of students very much enjoy the group sessions and felt they facilitated learning.  Many students also appreciated the adaptive learning technology, which allows students to work at their own pace and re-examine material when needed. Keep in mind though that this  technology doesn’t allow you to postpone everything to the last minute—staying on schedule and completing each section and assignment is key to success in these courses. Also, remember just because you aren’t meeting with the instructor in class every week, you still have the ability to meet with faculty and T.A.s during office hours and interact with your fellow students who are taking the course.  So get help when you need it.  With these courses all in BA-1, your TA’s  or Faculty’s office is very close by.

So is the Office of Professional Development and the Exchange.  You will have plenty of opportunities to engage with tutors, career coaches, and outside speakers while you are in the building for your REAL sessions.  As I said in my blog last week and again at Welcome to the Majors on Friday, you need to be game to succeed here.  That means you need to get out of your comfort zone, ask questions, get involved and a take ownership of your college experience.  If you do that, you’ll find this place is really awesome.


To Be Good Here, You Need to be Game

Standing out here ( in a good way) is hard. The numbers alone tell you that– We have 8,500 undergraduates and about 1,000 graduate students here in the College of Business. Even if you are in the top ten percent, there are 850 undergraduates or about 100 graduate students just like you. Achieving even this level of distinction is going to require you to have an excellent plan. So let me give you some things to consider as you start your time with us.

1. Your time here is an Experience, not a Lecture or a Textbook– Experiences are lived. Textbooks are read. Lectures are “attended.” You want to immerse yourself while you are here. This is one of the few times in your life you get to invest in you. Live it. If you do, it will transform you.

2. Focus on what you want to Do, not what you want to Be– People tend to think in terms of labels (e.g., I want to be an accountant) rather than on what they want to do (uncover fraud). You will get paid to do, not be. Focusing on doing also helps you see multiple paths to getting stuff done– it increases your options both while you are at UCF and after. An accounting degree provides one path for people who want to uncover fraud, but there are others…

3. Learning is uncomfortable, get accustom to being outside your comfort zone– You can sometimes get good grades without being uncomfortable, but I doubt you learned much in the process. To learn, you need to stretch yourself and stretching occurs outside your comfort zone. Look for these situations. Don’t worry, we are going to help you find some.

4. No one succeeds alone in school or anywhere else– The lone genius who has the aha moment that changes the world is a myth. Success is a long road, not a quick one.To succeed on that journey you need to develop a network of people with different knowledge, skill sets and perspectives who can help you get to where you want to go. Here that includes faculty, staff like our career coaches and your fellow students, as well as speakers in the Exchange. You are the average of the five people you hang out with the most. Make those people count. Engage with them and seek their help when you need it… then pay it forward.

5. Understand not everything is going to go well– You are going to make some mistakes while you are here and sometimes this is going to happen when your best friend is rocking it. You shouldn’t accept these failures, but you should plan for them. If you do, your recovery will be quicker. If you don’t, you are much more likely to just give up when a bad thing happens. We have a failure competition in the college to drive home the point that failure need not be fatal and can be a great teacher if you learn how to react to it properly. You are not as special as you think. This will happen to you. Be ready.

One of my favorite pieces of advice came from President Harry Truman’s mother. When he unexpectedly became President, she told him: “Do good Harry, but be game.” Harry turned out to be very game. Moms are awesome. Listen to Harry’s mom. Be game.

Changing of the Guard

When you hire great people, other people want them. A few weeks ago we lost Dr. Robert Porter, Director of Executive Development Center (EDC) for the past five years, to a new opportunity. The EDC is home to many of our graduate programs — Executive MBA, Professional MBA, Professional Masters in Real Estate, Masters of Science in Management with two different tracks — Human Resources and Data Analytics with a third one on the way in Entrepreneurship. Add custom training programs with companies like Ravago, as well as a variety of workshops, and you can see how important the success of the EDC is to the college.

Fortunately, we didn’t have to look too far to find the next leader of the EDC. Dr. Darrell Johnson is the Director of our Office of Professional Development, the main unit in the college that helps undergraduate students get into the right major, successfully navigate our curriculum and graduate with a job in hand. Prior to that appointment, he had obtained a wealth of experience in executive and continuing education at schools that include The Ohio State University and Western Michigan. Darrell has a very proactive management style that stresses student success, academic rigor and personal accountability. I expect he will bring these same qualities to the EDC and help us grow our graduate programs in both quantity and reputation.

If you are a student at the EDC or a local business person interested in partnering with us, Darrell is a person you are going to want to meet. So, stop down or call the EDC and start a conversation with him…you are going to walk away very impressed.