College of Business Hosts Virtual Insider’s Update

Written by Bailey Smith, College of Business Communications Intern

In response to COVID-19, Bowling Green State University shifted to remote learning and teaching in mid-March. The College of Business shared what the transition was like from faculty and student perspectives during the Insider’s Update, an event for college advisory board members and donors. The virtual event was well attended with over 50 alumni and friends who actively engaged with the presenters via WebEx. 

Dean Ray Braun began by addressing topics on many people’s minds, including the financial outlook, enrollment, fall classes and fall events. Recently, President Rodney Rogers announced that BGSU intends to return to face-to-face classes in the fall. The college is planning a College of Business Week for Sept. 9-12. As part of that week’s events, the college will host some of the Entrepreneurship Week events that were postponed in spring semester and celebrate the opening of the new business building, the Robert W. and Patricia A. Maurer Center.  

The first perspective was given by Dr. Steve Cady, professor of management. When BGSU announced the transition to online learning, Cady and the Committee to Advance Teaching and Learning launched a program helping faculty shift to remote teaching in the college, across the BGSU campus and beyond. During this time, faculty innovated new ways to meet with students live, adapt group projects, provide feedback and developmental support and hold office hours online.  

“What is obvious is when students and faculty approach this as a partnership with sincere collaboration in the form of live consistent communication through video conferencing, solutions can be found, stress reduced, deep learning can occur and relationships can grow,” Cady said.

When the College returns to face-to-face learning, some online components will be used to enhance the learning experience. 

Zach DuralitRecent graduate and student ambassador Zachary Durliat provided the senior perspective. Durliat shared that while transitioning to online classes went smoothly, that was not the case for student organizations. He participated in four student organizations and was on the leadership team of three of them. After spring break, Zach and his leadership teams had to be very flexible and communicate updates frequently with members – mostly, bad news, like the cancellation of tournaments and conferences that student organizations had looked forward to and prepared for all year. While things were very different, the student organizations made the best of the situation.  

Durliat also addressed commencement, internships and job opportunities. On Saturday, May 16, the originally scheduled commencement date, BGSU held a virtual senior celebration. While in-person commencement was postponed, recent graduates were assured it will still occur. As for internship and job offers, Zach explained that many were initially deferred but quickly became cancelled or shortened. Many students are actively pursuing summer opportunities and are concerned about the job when businesses fully reopen.  

Participants were interested in learning more about internships. Marilyn Eisele ‘79, a member of the BGSU Board of Trustees, asked Durliat whether internships were being cancelled and for a description of a virtual internship. Paul J. Hooker ’75 congratulated Durliat as the recipient of the Karl E. Vogt Outstanding Senior of 2020.   

Nichole CoxStudent ambassador Nichole Cox, a member of the women’s golf team, described the experience of student athletes. She recalls learning that some universities started cancelling athletic events during the week prior to spring break. Cox was hopeful golf would be spared but soon learned that the Mid-American Conference cancelled the regular season and championship competitions and suspended organized practices indefinitely for the remainder of the 2019-20 academic year. This was very difficult news for student athletes everywhere.  

Cox shared the sympathetic coming together of athletes. Although it was for the best, athletes in every sport were decimated to see seasons being cancelled. The cancellations also left athletes with concerns about their athletic and scholarship eligibility.  

“Thankfully, the NCAA voted to allow schools to grant another year of eligibility to spring sport athletes and adjusted financial aid rules regarding scholarships, allowing teams to carry more athletes on scholarship,” she said. “Because of this, spring sport athletes have an opportunity to continue their education while fulfilling their NCAA eligibility.” 

Guests asked Cox if golf would return in the fall. She hopes to be back on the greens by then. Geoffrey Radbill ’68, a member of the BGSU Board of Trustees, inquired about Cox’s workout routine in the absence of organized practices. 

Dagmar ChapinThe last perspective was given by Dagmar Chapin, a student ambassador who was studying in France when the worldwide lockdown began. In Strasbourg, she pursued a dual degree program to earn a European management degree through the Strasbourg EM business school. Initially, Chapin expected to return home to Cleveland, Ohio, in May. However, on March 14, the French president announced that all non-essential operations would close. She knew that the closing of the French border and an indefinite lockdown would soon follow based on news reports. At the time, Chapin did not have a plane ticket or hotel arranged, but she knew she had to leave France. She quickly arranged plans to stay with a friend in Athens, Greece.  

After spending two weeks in Greece, she learned the Athens airport would shut down. Chapin quickly arranged a return flight home to Cleveland. She described her travel experience seeing foreign military troops mobilize at the airport and at every checkpoint and border she crossed. At every corner, her passport and temperature were checked. Each time the thermometer was brought out, Chapin panicked for fear of being denied entry into her own country. Fortunately, she made her international flight and even got to fly in first class. 

“As I reflect back on my experiences, I learned many unanticipated lessons,” she said. “I never thought I would have to escape a foreign country in a rush during a pandemic. I am proud I made good decisions under critical time pressure. This experience will stay with me for the rest of my life!” 

Participants were interested in how BGSU monitors student safety while studying abroad. They wanted to know if BGSU tracks students overseas when security risks are presented. She explained that there are protocols, including a phone app, in place and she felt safe during her study abroad experience.