One of our favorite holiday shopping stops in December? The Stephenson Hall living-learning space.
Here we browsed some truly unique gift options: Catholic indulgences, stocks from the 1920s, even a 1950s bomb shelter.
Or, at least, we were treated to expert sales pitches on these items by first-year students who developed business plans for companies in various eras of modern world history. They presented these plans as their final projects for the linked courses Introduction to Business, taught by William McPherson, and History of the Modern Era, taught by Werner Lippert, in the new Eberly Connections program.
About 90 students, working in 20 teams, created business plans in an amazing range of historic periods spanning the 16th to 20th centuries.They were judged by a panel of faculty and staff members, and the award for best presentation went to the Tea Kettle Tea Company, set in England in 1850.
Their projects "gave students a chance to really know their product and the history embedded in it," said Dot Gracey, assistant dean for Student and Alumni Services in the Eberly College of Business and Information Technology. Gracey created Eberly Connections with help from Michele Norwood, associate dean for Humanities and Social Sciences.
Students gained awareness of the social, political, and business settings during which their product was developed, as well as research skills they might not normally have acquired in their first semester. By dressing for success circa 1550 or 1850, they became more personally connected to the information they learned during the semester.
"This is the type of deep, extended learning we hope for with the living-learning and linked courses concepts," said Gracey. "In this way, students gain knowledge that will stick with them for years to come."
We're sold on that!