Faculty are the heartbeat of our campus. They keep our engine running, helping students achieve their goals and pushing them to succeed. Now, in the effort to raise additional funds for the new Nistler College of Business and Public Administration building, it’s important to hear directly from faculty about its future benefits. Dr. Chih Ming Tan, Associate Dean for Research, Page Endowed Chair in Applied Economics, and MSAEPA Program Director, shares his thoughts.
As a NCoBPA faculty, what excites you the most about the new building?
Post COVID-19, what I think is beneficial about the new building plan is the built-in flexibility of the geographic space as well as the integration of IT usage that will best position UND to address the future, no matter the situation. For our online students, the new infrastructure will allow us to provide an industry-leading educational experience by incorporating more elements of a typical classroom experience virtually. For our on-campus students, regardless of a fully in-house or hybrid educational model, we will be able to deliver a learning environment that is safer, more seamless, more productive, and more compelling. That's what constructing the new building at this time in history will allow us to do.
What will this new building offer that will attract standout faculty?
Faculty want a space that naturally encourages interactions with students in an efficient way and enhances their learning experience. A large, white space with rows of chairs and students all facing the front will suck the energy out of any class, no matter how enthusiastic you are as a teacher! A space like the new NCoBPA building will make professors more effective and the teaching experience more rewarding. It will also allow for more frequent and meaningful interactions with colleagues. Right now, everybody is segregated in different departments; we don't have space where we can collaborate and bounce ideas about our research and work. There will be more opportunities to do that in the new building, and all those opportunities will help advance research efforts.
In what way will the new building serve as a selling point to incoming students?
During campus visits, while parents are asking about the qualifications of UND professors, students are looking around saying, “I can’t see myself spending four years in this building. I want to go to that other business school because that is an appealing environment for my learning and the memories I'm going to make in college.” If we can't attract top students, we're not going to be attracting top professors. If we don't attract top professors, we're not going to get top students. This building must not only signify the first-rate learning experience students will get when they come to NCoBPA, but it must also stand as a symbol of their achievements here and those of the future. In that way, a building that stands confidently in the modern world also symbolizes the success of a college’s alumni in navigating that world and provides inspiration for students to do the same.
Why should alumni give to this project?
The reason I think alumni should support this is that this is the right time. Higher education is transitioning in terms of its mode of delivery. There is just no question about that. So, this is the time when we get to re-imagine how we engage with the educational enterprise and put an infrastructure in place that helps us be optimal and competitive in our marketplace so that students want to study at UND. We're not just going to build the building for what happened last year. We are intentionally building looking into the future, which means that students are going to have the best learning experience they could possibly have if they come here. That's what I think this building is going to do.
I want to emphasize the importance of alumni support for our work. They have made so much of what we do possible. Their enduring support, generosity, and engagement have made the research and teaching environment at NCoBPA productive and first-rate.

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