UCD Moore Centre: the future of business education
Opening in September, the UCD Moore Centre for Business is a key element of UCD College of Business’s €65 million strategic plan to be among the world’s top 50 business schools by 2020. The three-story building features the latest advances in interactive learning environments including extensive co-working zones, and transformative learning experiences to integrate data analysis with real-world problem solving.
A showcase 320-seat lecture theatre, Entrepreneurship and Innovation Hub, Media Suite, Skills Quarter Support Area, and THINK Lab are other elements of the new centre.
“Our students have told us that when we change spaces, it changes how we teach and what is learned,” says Dr Maeve Houlihan, associate dean of the UCD College of Business and Director of UCD Lochlann Quinn School of Business. “Through this extraordinary initiative, faculty and staff can now meet our students where, and how, they learn best as we transform the traditional classroom.”
Reflecting the world of work and its future is another important aspect of the initiative. “The UCD Moore Centre for Business will allow our students to stretch and thrive both within and outside of the classroom, side by side with faculty and fellow students which is a better representation of how they will work after graduation,” says Dr Houlihan. “This learning environment gives them experience in developing communication and problem-solving skills, teamwork know-how, and inter-cultural confidence.”
Planning for the Moore Centre started five years ago, according to Dr Houlihan. “We had a sense that the world was changing, and students were changing as well,” she explains. “How we learn is changing, you can look up anything online. We don’t wow people with facts anymore. We had to look at how this is affecting the future of learning and work.”
That spirit of innovation has strong roots in the UCD College of Business and the Quinn School. “The Quinn School story began in 2002 when it moved out of the arts block,” she recalls. “Back then it was very much teacher led with complementary technologies. We were the first business school in Ireland to introduce small-group learning and move out of the big lecture theatres. That worked well but it was still very classroom based. What we will see in the Moore Centre is the continuing transition from talking at people to side-by-side learning by doing.”
The project is part-funded by a donation from Angela Moore in memory of her late husband UCD alumnus George Moore, a successful Irish-American businessman and philanthropist who died in 2013. Corporate partners include KPMG, PwC and EY.
The concept of the Moore Centre is of space being occupied by students and faculty who interact in a variety of less formal ways than the traditional chalk and talk learning model – almost harking back to the original university model of ancient Athens.
“We want to build a community of faculty and students working together,” she points out. “We did a lot of consultation on this and some people asked if we were mad. But in the technology era we are not talking to each other as much. Business is about relationships and we are creating a space here where students and faculty can collaborate, communicate and work together.”
“As Ireland’s leading business school, we constantly challenge our offering to ensure we have world-class facilities that present our students every opportunity to excel and differentiate themselves as they enter the world of business,” adds UCD College of Business dean Prof Anthony Brabazon. “The UCD Moore Centre for Business will allow current and future students to learn in an environment that celebrates innovation, creativity and adaptability – characteristics we know to be valued in the workforce and society as we face bold and audacious global challenges.”
Change is at the core of the new centre. “We are really excited about what we will be able to do in the Moore Centre,” says Dr Houlihan. “We want to evolve and improve all the time. I think we will be able to offer a really wonderful arena to experiment with new things beyond the traditional lecture format.
“It will be a place where ideas can collide, where people will bump into each other and take the opportunity to collaborate in the workspaces provided or just meet in the cafe to discuss them. There will also be spaces for deep thinking and to allow individual students to work on their ideas. This is about students, about business, about society and about changing the way we live and work. This is the future of business education.”
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This article was originally published in the Irish Times