Installed LCD projectors help Kellogg Business School stay on top
Northwestern’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management builds world-class facilities
to the top isn’t easy. Staying there is even harder. While Northwestern
University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management has consistently
been rated one of the top two or three business schools in the country,
it takes a serious commitment to keep it there. That commitment must
extend to everything: faculty, staff, admissions, facilities and technology
must all be world class.
Any Kellogg graduate student
will tell you that taking classes there is like having the world at
your fingertips. It’s not just the fact that the staff and student body
represent over 60 nations. It’s the ability to access information and
media from anywhere and everywhere, in every classroom. According to
Kevin O’Floy, the school’s Director of Audio Visual Services, making that access
easier was the goal when, last summer, the school and United Visual
outfitted 22 classrooms with the latest computer, video and projection
The installations were part of three large renovation projects the school
completed in 1998: final interior work on Leverone Hall in Evanston,
home to Kellogg’s full-time graduate programs (which was extensively
remodeled starting in 1994); new classroom and dining facilities in
the Allen Center, Kellogg’s executive program and continuing education
complex in Evanston; and extensive rebuilding of Wieboldt Hall, home
to Kellogg’s evening program in downtown Chicago.
major goal of these projects was to add much-needed space for the
school’s growing student population. Kellogg currently has 1,200 full-time
and over 2,000 part-time students in its graduate programs. But there
was also a need to bring more consistent quality to the facilities,
especially in the older downtown campus. "We had a vision of
a student-oriented facility that matched the caliber of the students,
faculty and curriculum," says Vennie Lyons, Associate Dean of
Kellogg’s evening graduate program. The school added student resource
centers, lounge and study areas, group study rooms and administrative
offices, as well as new classrooms.
The 22 multimedia
classrooms included in the project each now offer a central rack system
with a networked PC, VHS and 3/4" VCRs, laptop interface, sound
and control systems, plus a high-brightness Sharp LCD projector mounted
on the ceiling. With some minor variations, each of the rooms—seven
at Leverone Hall, six at the Allen Center, plus nine at Wieboldt Hall—has
the same audio visual setup, so that any instructor can teach from anywhere
without having to learn a new system. In addition, student tables
in most of the new classrooms include network hookups. Kellogg students
can tie their laptops into university servers and the World Wide Web
without leaving their seats.
It’s no surprise
that instructors at Kellogg use a lot of visuals. Many use PowerPoint
or Excel in the classroom, while others work with specialized statistical
packages and simulations. Case analysis is the core of most Kellogg
classes, so it’s a big help to be able to project case data and demonstrate
analysis methods on the big screen. Many instructors show videos as
school’s computer network is available to help this process. Professors
have directories on the Kellogg server to store their materials, which
they can access later from any classroom. Most maintain student directories
as well, and students know to check the web for homework assignments,
case data, office hours and other information, with e-mail the basis
for much communication. "We want to provide our students with
the latest technology," says O’Floy. "Everything here is
so network driven, we want students and teachers to be able to plug
in to the Internet from anywhere."
Completing the installations
One of the challenges
in outfitting classrooms in a school like Kellogg is finding slow
periods to schedule installations. O’Floy says the summer’s work could
not begin until mid-July and had to be finished by the "drop
dead date" of September 22. "Those guys from United bent
over backwards to get this stuff done by the time classes started,"
says O’Floy. "They were fantastic."
United Visual’s Sales Manager, says he sees meeting these kinds of
deadlines as crucial to success in the audio visual system business. "Obviously,
we can’t be everywhere at once, but we do work very hard to be honest
with our customers about what we can and cannot do." Nelson’s
installation crews work a lot of overtime during the summer, when
the bulk of school installations must be completed, but he says that
doesn’t mean they sacrifice their standards.
The work at Kellogg
was complicated by the fact that several of the classrooms were being
refurbished and had older equipment that had to be moved elsewhere.
In the end, however, everything was fully operational by the time
students arrived, and no one suspected how hard everyone worked to
make it happen.
Yet that’s typical
of Kellogg Graduate School. Offering its students the very best is
a tough assignment. Their commitment to excellence must be borne out
in everything they do, including their classroom technology.