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University of Nebraska–Lincoln

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April 8, 2020

Kathy's Point: Leading Nebraska Business Through COVID-19

Kathy's Point: Leading Nebraska Business Through COVID-19
Kevin Wesley, assistant professor of practice of management, talks with Dean Farrell about her guest appearance on Zoom for his first class teaching remotely.
March became a month of unprecedented change at the University of Nebraska as the spread of COVID-19 continued in the U.S. In a proactive effort, classes were suspended March 16-20, a week before spring break and students were encouraged to return home as we pivoted our courses to remote learning starting March 30.

With a two week runway, our faculty began preparing to teach remotely. By spring break, employees across the campus began working from home. Technology became imperative, as it became necessary for courses, meetings and advising sessions to be held via Zoom. The need to expand the use of other platforms such as Canvas, VidGrid, YellowDig and more became evident. Faculty who needed to learn the technology were supported by instructional designers and paired with others who had experience using the platforms to shorten the learning curve.

As our students headed home to areas around the country, they too needed to make sure their home technology and internet service would be sufficient for online learning. Some wondered if Zoom and other technologies could withstand the large numbers of people across the nation who would now depend on it.

With many changes happening daily, March 30 arrived and faculty – even those retiring this May who had never taught an online course – were ready to teach remotely. Our students were in attendance online and some shared how they preferred the online format, while others told us they spent time writing letters or emails to their classmates to stay connected. Some departments hold daily or weekly Zoom calls for faculty outside of class, so they can check in with each other and share best practices.

On March 31, Chancellor Green shared how the university is planning a Go Big Grad Digital Celebration to honor our May graduates. Graduates and their families are also invited to join a future Commencement ceremony (August, December or next May) for the opportunity to celebrate the Nebraska tradition in person. The College of Business is also planning some additional ways for our May 2020 graduates to celebrate their accomplishments and we will be sharing in the near future.

When faced with adversity, there are often opportunities to grow and learn. We continue to see the expertise of our faculty such as Tawnya, Jennifer and Özgür having an impact and helping us better understand the various issues that we face in this uncertain time. Students, like Luke and Jacob, use their app to help small businesses. Staff work together to share resources and continue to support our students. For example, academic advisors met with 175 students via Zoom during this time and career coaches have slated more than 300 resume reviews for the next few weeks.

At some point, we will return to teach and learn inside Howard L. Hawks Hall. But until that happens, let’s keep finding ways to make our College of Business community even stronger – together.


Dean Kathy Farrell

Other College of Business Stories

Daily Nebraskan: Social distancing creates opportunities for hobby exploring
Ryan Wortmann, junior vocal performance and international business double major, is water skiing and Jackson Schiefelbein, senior management and pre-dentistry major, has taken up cooking and watching “The French Chef” as hobbies during social distancing.

Lincoln Journal Star: Blessed be the mask makers among us
Alexis Plouzek, '09, (business administration) has been leading a campaign of local crafters to sew masks for health care facilities in need. They've made around 1,500 masks so far and donated to over 20 different businesses, clinics and facilities here in Lincoln.

KOLN/KGIN 10/11: Lincoln woman shares tips on how to rock working from home
Tawnya Means, assistant dean, assistant professor of practice in management and director of the Teaching and Learning Center, has worked both in the office and from home, while also managing a team of remote employees. She has three main tips for people working from home for the first time: mentally prepare yourself to do so, be present and the most important one: never work too much.

Social Media Highlights from Faculty and Staff Transitioning to Working at Home

A Facebook video message from Dr. Kathy Farrell - March 2020

A Facebook video message from Dr. Dirk Black to students - March 2020

The college shared an Instagram gallery of remote work and student at home photos sent to us and shared on social media

Dr. Aaron Crabtree invites students around the country to apply for Nebraska’s MPA program in this video on MediaHub

A Twitter message from Dr. Tim Hodges meeting on Zoom with students

Dr. Majid Nabavi featured on Twitter launching remote instruction for students

A Twitter message from Dr. Aaron Crabtree showing off his new home office

Dr. Paul Dion's Twitter video message working at home with his "best friend" on #NationalPuppyDay

A Twitter message from Sara Weixelman preparing her home office

A Twitter message from Dean Kathy Farrell recognizing how hard IT staff worked to prepare the college’s students, faculty and staff to work from home

Nebraska Business Honors Academy students singing happy birthday to Dean Farrell via Zoom on Facebook

A Twitter message with Dean Farrell and other leaders from throughout the college participated in a virtual town hall to provide updates and connect

Dr. Chris Timm shared a photo on LinkedIn of the Business Career Center staff preparing to work from home

Rik Barrera Twitter message shows off his "co-worker" and #1 puppy pal Cissy

Laura McLeod posts a Facebook message while putting her sales class online while supervised by her big buddy, Sampson

Marissa Starman's Twitter message featuring "equal time" with her feline friend

Roger Simonsen's Twitter message keeps Husker Pride alive during athletic downtime

Emma Stewart plays flute and brightened the day for her colleagues and students sharing her talent on Facebook