The Power of Impact

An epicenter for professional success was recently created in Barsema Hall. Suite 303 — formerly the Experiential Learning Center (ELC) — was redesigned and renamed “The IMPACT Lab.” This new space has become a hub for leading student career success. Built on the foundation of several programs that were already in place (the ELC, the BELIEF Program, and Passport), the enhanced lab engages 2,100 undergraduate students in designing and executing a personalized plan to meet their individual career and life goals. Student success is measured by the percentage of undergrads participating in externally focused project and internships, as well as placement at graduation, three months and six months out.

In addition to existing programs, the lab continues to experiment with new ideas to grow and expand unique student experiences. A few initiatives that have been piloted include:

Fridays in the Field – students tour local businesses to experience actual operations, supply chain, personnel management, and much more. (These will continue once it’s safe to do so.)

Business in Action for Freshman – an interactive freshman course to introduce business concepts through a problem solving focused live consulting project. Since fall 2018, students have assisted two early-stage startups, a DeKalb family business and a mature mid-size business. The class also immerses new students into the culture of the college through introduction of professional development, Career Compass, BELIEF and Passport. Students also create their own personalized plan for their college experience.

Driving pedagogical innovation – An important dimension of the IMPACT Lab is to fundamentally change the learning model from a passive mode to an engaged/active mode. Delivering innovative active learning and personalized experiences is at the heart of the College of Business mission and the Impact Lab’s charge. In summer 2019, faculty member Mark Groza and Federico Bassetti were named Dean’s Instructional Innovation Summer Fellows. This program supported significant transformation of two courses. Groza transformed the MKTG 350 in-person class to an 8-week, hybrid, flipped-course design.  Bassetti adopted Agile processes, and in doing so, developed a learning community that can adapt to the pace and rapidly evolving nature of software development practice through OMIS 475.

Our initial assessment of the IMPACT Lab framework is that it is yielding results and having an impact. But we are in the early phase of a long journey. The key to our success will be broad engagement from our community of alums, businesses and non-profits. Are you ready to have an IMPACT and transform lives?

Do you have opportunities for engagement, or would you like to help create experiential impact? Email Amy Buhrow at

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