New SIM lab provides Wall Street-like experience to Georgia Gwinnett College students

Ribbon Cutting group shot:  (From l. to r.) Dr. George Low, Senator Don Balfour, Dr. Jann L Joseph, Ryan Hawk, Dr. Tyler Yu, Jennifer Hendrickson, Lisa Huynh
(From l. to r.) Dr. George Low, Senator Don Balfour, Dr. Jann L Joseph, Ryan Hawk, Dr. Tyler Yu, Jennifer Hendrickson, student Lisa Huynh

A new space on Georgia Gwinnett College’s (GGC) campus will provide a high-tech experience for students. GGC’s School of Business (SBA) unveiled its new simulation (SIM) lab during a ribbon-cutting ceremony last week. The new lab looks like something right out of Wall Street. The space features a real-time LED stock ticker that wraps around the entire room, self-contained workstations with on-demand monitors, wireless collaboration areas, all of which can be seen by passersby through the modern, floor-to-ceiling windows.

“We started this process about five years ago,” said Dr. Tyler Yu, SBA dean. “This vision is part of our goal of providing excellent services to students. They will have the high-end, state-of-the-art technology in the classroom, especially for financial technology education.”

Yu said students, who refer to the space as “Wall Street,” have already begun taking classes in the lab.

Dr. Benjamin Akins, associate professor of legal studies and taxation, teaches classes on income tax and tax law in the space. 

“We teach the sexy stuff,” he laughed. 

Akins said the process to design the lab was faculty-driven with a goal to promote student engagement and high-impact instructional practices. Everything from the angle of the desks to the placement of the ticker, and even the location of the light switches and what they control was under scrutiny for present and future use.

“All of that was intensely discussed, decided and outlined with vendors,” Akins said. “We made sure that once the students utilized this space for a while and the shine of the apple wore off, we could continue to use this room in a very efficient, high-level manner.”

Akins’ colleague, Dr. James Weisel, professor of accountancy, teaches data analytics and international accounting in the SIM lab. Weisel said his classes are run with a “HyFlex modality,” that synchronously combines on-site and remote students in a given class. 

“I can have a full conversation with students who are joining the class remotely and integrate it with students who are physically in the classroom,” Weisel said. “The flexibility of the classroom space allows faculty to deliver the curriculum in the way that best serves their students.”

More than 20 companies, local businesses and individuals saw the vision and potential of this space and donated gifts to the GGC Foundation to support the creation of the SIM lab, along with funding provided from the college budget. Representatives of those companies, along with the SBA Board of Visitors, were on hand to join GGC leadership as they cut the ribbon for the new space. 

“Days like today always reaffirm for me the significant impact that philanthropy has on our students, our college, and our broader community,” said Jennifer Hendrickson, associate vice president of Advancement. “Today we celebrate donor-supported, world-class equipment and facilities. Tomorrow, we may celebrate the creation of scholarships for our students, academic program enhancements, or the expansion of community collaboration and town and gown relations. In all of these efforts, philanthropy often bridges the gap between good and great.”

View and download SIM lab ribbon-cutting photos.


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