Word to the Wise

Home for the Holidays... and Every Day Thereafter!

◆ 12 minute read

Home for the Holidays... and Every Day Thereafter!

An employee’s office space is often a treasured space. Shelves full of literature and research, diplomas and University paraphernalia decorating the wall, and family photos and personalized items from loved ones scattered across the desk. It’s home away from home. No matter how big the room or what color the wall, it’s a comfortable place for no one other than the individual.

The last couple of years have introduced us all to new ways of working – virtually, hybrid or fully in-person. Some of us enjoy ambient noise in the background while completing a task and others prefer to pop in their AirPods and take a walk during their call. However, we could all agree that anticipation of moving into Reynolds Hall, our new home on the waterfront, was at the top of our minds.

Our faculty and staff not only moved into their new office space in Reynolds Hall, but they also entered into a newfound energy. New desks and chairs, new lecture halls and centers, and new technologies around every corner and in every classroom. Natural light and space to collaborate with students and colleagues. They found everything to be new and different, including themselves.

The liveliness that filled the halls and the passion that poured out of our co-workers did not go unnoticed. The Chambers College family was home, working all together again, in our innovative and state-of-the-art building.

As busy as the first fall semester has been for us all, we’re ready to carry that same energy into 2023 – both professionally and personally.

We asked a few of our faculty and staff to share their new outlook on their role in the business college and what their time at Reynolds Hall has looked like so far, as well as what they are hoping for in the new year.

Photo of Lauren Cooper

Lauren Cooper – Assistant Professor of Accounting

“The move to Reynolds Hall has been energizing. It feels wonderful to be able to interact in-person with my colleagues and students in such an amazing space. Everywhere I look, there are groups of students talking and faculty and staff working together. I feel a great sense of community in Reynolds Hall.”

“Professionally, I hope to continue to challenge myself to be innovative in the classroom, especially with regards to incorporating technology into my courses. I also want to be more mindful about celebrating small successes that take place throughout the year. Personally, I intend to do a better job of prioritizing self-care in 2023. I want to make small changes like meditating, drinking more water, and connecting with family and friends more regularly.”

Photo of Gary Templeton

Gary Templeton – Associate Professor of Management Information Systems (MIS)

“My new outlook is freedom. The freedom to move around and establish relationships with students, faculty, and staff in our new building. People are no longer constrained by the pandemic and I look forward to the freedom to interact and get back to helping students develop their business and technical skills. It is fulfilling to watch young people truly empower themselves through greater knowledge about useful topics that they will carry for their careers.”

“My professional resolution is to solidify my courses by ingraining new experiences, such as using some of the unique labs and other resources in our new building. My personal resolution is to get healthier and to be a better husband and father.”

Photo of Li Wang

Li Wang – Teaching Assistant Professor and Director of Business Honors Program

“With the great facility at Reynolds Hall, I have been able to fully engage with students not only in the classroom, but also at various locations in the Atrium, student organization room, study rooms, auditorium, ideation hub, and the list goes on. I am so thrilled to see and hear all the buzz (or the quietness) when students are actively using the space. As the director of the Business Honors Program, my job is to make sure our business Honors students are taking full advantage of all the resources available at the building and the Chambers College to grow personally, academically, and professionally.”

“For 2023, I hope to continue the stride of offering more engagement opportunities to business Honors students with faculty, staff, alumni, and industry & community partners. I also hope to explore new or renewed study abroad trips to enrich our students’ education experience and expand young alumni’s professional development experience. Personally I hope to set up a more robust exercise routine, now that we have easier access to the gym and the trail.”

Photo of Kyle Patrick

Kyle Patrick – Undergraduate Recruiter

“Recruiting students to the John Chambers College of Business and Economics has taken a huge leap forward since moving into Reynolds Hall – being able to showcase this beautiful new building to prospective students has been a game changer. When a prospective student steps into Reynolds Hall, I want them to feel like they are home and that they can picture themselves pursuing their goals here. This building is such an amazing tool for recruitment, and I want as many future business leaders as possible to see this space.”

“In 2023, I hope to continue to grow professionally to better serve our incoming students and to support our current student leaders who are leading the way for our incoming students. It will also be a goal of mine to increase the volume of prospective student visits and events at Reynolds Hall. The Chambers alumni and current students continue to provide our College with the blueprint for success, and it's my goal to pass that same blueprint along to our future students.”

Photo of Kelly Nix

Kelly Nix – Teaching Associate Professor and Program Coordinator of Organizational Leadership

“My new outlook centers around helping individuals love what they do by finding their purpose and strengths. And now that we have settled into Reynolds Hall, there is no better time to build a culture around these two areas. Personally, I have seen firsthand the benefits of students knowing their strengths. Mainly, it shines through in how they communicate with one another and how they use their strengths on team projects. I also notice that the more they understand themselves and each other, trust and relationships are formed. On occasion I have observed students go above and beyond because they are confident in their abilities and what they naturally do best. It’s a matter of giving them a shortcut to know one another and having ongoing conversations, something that I believe has been lost due to the pandemic. The best part of knowing our strengths and how to use them gives us all an opportunity to speak a common language that will lead to better teamwork and collaboration. I have led strengths trainings for staff members across the college. Being housed in Reynolds Hall has led to a new energy and having the space for meaningful brainstorming and trainings will net great outcomes.”

“Both professionally and personally, my intentions are to live wholeheartedly. To me, this means showing up in my personal and professional life with less fear of vulnerability, despite the risks, uncertainty, and failure. My key word here is 'less', as I realize I’m human and everyone has these feelings. One of my gurus on leadership, Brené Brown, offers ten guideposts for cultivating wholehearted living. They include authenticity, self-compassion, resilient spirit, gratitude and joy, intuition and trusting faith, creativity, play and rest, calm and stillness, meaningful work and laughter, song, and dance. To avoid getting overwhelmed, I plan to focus on the first two in 2023 by letting go of judgement and perfectionism. My path to wholehearted living will be ongoing and my hope is that I can inspire others in doing so.”

Photo of Tanner Yuhase

Tanner Yuhase – Assistant Director for Digital Marketing

“Even though we’ve only been in Reynolds a short while, you can really see the pride people have in our new home. The sharp contrast between the nomadic work life of the previous years and having a new facility only makes it more apparent. It’s also shifted the way we think about our work and how we communicate with our students. The media wall in the atrium has quickly become a popular way to keep students informed and showcase their achievements.”

“As we go into 2023, I hope to bring more innovations into our digital marketing efforts. We have a lot in progress already and that’s just the scratching the surface. Personally, I am really looking forward to bringing more functionality to the media wall and really creating an engaging experience for everyone visiting our home on the waterfront.”

Photo of Rebel Smith

Dr. Rebel Smith – Associate Dean for Undergraduate and Graduate Programs

“July was a very exciting month for me. Not only did I move into my new office on the sixth floor of Reynolds Hall, I also assumed a new role. I moved from being the Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Programs to being the Associate Dean of Undergraduate and Graduate Programs. This position allows me to focus on all aspects of student success starting with freshman and going through graduate school. Higher education changes lives. I am thankful to be a part of this journey for business students.”

"I don’t make resolutions. However, I do try to start each year with goals. My personal goals for 2023 are: to do more things that bring me joy, like reading; establish a healthier work-life balance; keep a positive attitude and get to the beach! I have a hard time setting professional goals, but I want to continue doing good work and make sure our students and staff have what they need to be successful.”

Photo of John Lympany

John Lympany – Assistant Dean of Administration and Planning

“Students were immediately drawn to the many spaces provided to them in Reynolds including our experiential labs, social stairs, and many collaborative spaces. I would like to tap into features and technologies available at Reynolds in ways that will transform how we teach and learn so we can build a broader learning community that effectively reaches both on-campus and online students.”

“Professionally, I would like to further support the alignment of college resources and operational support in ways that allow us to compete in a transitioning educational market. Personally, I always look forward to family time and look forward to assisting my son as he moves into his first home.”

Photo of Gulnara Zaynutdinova

Gulnara Zaynutdinova – Associate Professor of Finance

“I feel lucky to be in this one-of-a kind facility. Since moving to Reynolds Hall I enjoyed connecting with colleagues at the café in the Dean's suite. This was not available in the old building. In addition to networking opportunities, the new building offers state of the art instruction technology and infrastructure. Working and collaboration spaces also support student professional development. I observe students collaborate and develop as skilled professionals with state-of-the-art training.”

"I hope each department will be able to benefit from everything Reynolds Hall has to offer, including state-of-the-art teaching and research facilities. We also have excellent facilities for seminar speakers and research collaborators. Being able to share research with experts and develop national and international networks and reputation are critical for every R1 institution. I hope to contribute to WVU’s teaching reputation and R1 mission as we position our college competitively with our peer institutions and promote our reputation."

Photo of Dick Riley

Dr. Dick Riley – Accounting Professor and Department Chair

“Reynolds Hall has been an incredible resource. No matter the time of day, student breakout areas and rooms are full and active. The spaces have also permitted much easier engagement between faculty and students and among faculty. The concept of having everything from classrooms, to an eatery, collaborative spaces and a fitness center with access to the rail trail means that Reynolds is a center for student life. Because classrooms are spacious, have multiple digital screens and everything is on wheels, classrooms are continuously reconfigured, providing instructional flexibility tailored to the course and student needs. The outcome: the energy levels are off-the-charts to the positive.”

“It seems that 2022 was a Covid hangover. Everyone is trying to keep up and catch up. Hopefully, 2023 might provide some sense of normality by comparison to 2020 and 2021. For the accounting programs, we have been 'under construction' during the last couple of years. With the new CPA Exam Evolution and incorporating data analytics in all classes, we reconfigured the entire undergraduate accounting program. We created wonderful new student opportunities in terms of six accounting career tracks: 3 CPA-based careers, corporate accounting, accounting data analytics and forensic accounting / fraud examination. We also 'reconstructed' both the MAcc (Masters in Accounting) and MS-FFE / FAFE graduate programs, and created tracks oriented around career specialization. For 2023, we’re implementing all of these changes and with tweaks, finetuning as needed; anticipating an exciting new year!”

Photo of Tara St. Clair

Tara St. Clair – Program Director of the Encova Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

“The energy in the new building is contagious. I am grateful to be in the experiential learning pavilion surrounded by colleagues and students every day. It brings a smile to my face to see folks engaging with one another and learning in such an innovative environment.”

“I am looking forward to the future not only within the Chambers College, but the state of West Virginia. Never in my career have I seen so many people moving in the same direction. Collaboration is at an all-time high and when we work together, great things can happen. I am looking forward to new connections and learnings in 2023.”