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Professional MBA Telepresence Room unveiled at event

Organizations in the region can now arrange access to the latest in high-definition videoconferencing technology, called “telepresence,” thanks to a cooperative venture by multiple WKU organizations.

WKU’s Gordon Ford College of Business, the Center for Research and Development (CRD) and the Division of Information Technology have worked together over the past year to create the state’s first educational telepresence center.  The Professional MBA (PMBA) program recently started using the center to link Owensboro MBA students with those in Bowling Green.

Now community organizations can ask to use this high-definition (HD) teleconferencing facility.

“As an applied college of business, we are training the leaders of tomorrow by creating highly-effective educational programs through the efforts of our outstanding faculty and university partners using state-of-the art technology,” Jeff Katz, Dean of the Gordon Ford College of Business, said. “The ‘telepresence’ approach employed by our Professional MBA program is an ideal example of our innovativeness and dedication to educational excellence.”

The new Telepresence Center was unveiled recently at this month’s “Chamber After Hours” event at the CRD.  More than 100 members of the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce and those connected to the sponsoring programs were given tours and demonstrations of the new telepresence room.  The event was co-sponsored by the WKU PMBA program, the Division of Extended Learning and Outreach (DELO), and Central Region Innovation and Commercialization Center located at the CRD.

People in the telepresence room can view the others at a distant site as if they were viewing them through a “window on the wall” according to Bob Hatfield, Associate Dean of Graduate Programs and Research in the Gordon Ford College of Business.  The telepresence room is equipped with an 80-inch HD monitor of the other site, open stereo microphones to created seminar learning environment, and a large “Smartboard” to display Powerpoint presentations, videos, Excel spreadsheets, and other learning resources.  The room is perfect for seminar style meetings.

PMBA students are professional and mid- to upper-level managers with at least five years experience and a desire to develop a broad range of business skills.  Since many professionals, entrepreneurs and managers believe they cannot take the time to sit in class as much undergraduates do, executive format programs like WKU’s PMBA program have emerged around the nation.

“These programs, like the PMBA, meet in class fewer hours but rely upon team project and study groups to be part of the overall learning approach,” Dr. Hatfield said.

WKU’s PMBA program has recently been able to reach out to such students in Owensboro using the Telepresence Center at the CRD.  WKU also announced that Elizabethtown students will be joining the PMBA program in the fall.

Local companies and organizations who have ideas about how WKU’s Telepresence Center might meet a communication or meeting need should contact Doug  Rohrer, Associate Vice President, Research and Development at the CRD at (270) 901-3490 or email douglas.rohrer@wku.edu.

To learn more about all of the WKU PMBA program options, please go to www.wku.edu/mba or call (270) 745-5458.

Contact: April Schleig, (270) 745-5458.

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