Sac State Magazine is a publication produced by the Office of Advancement Communications and Stewardship at Cal State University, Sacramento highlighting alumni, students, faculty and staff.
Issue link: http://sacstatemagazine.uberflip.com/i/386257
12 S AC S TAT E M AGA Z I N E | Fa l l 2 014 build—an energy-efficient house. "Professors always try to provide realistic scenarios but there's nothing like applying them," says Pann, who is majoring in construction management. "With the Solar Decathlon, we're taking it a step further. We're pushing ourselves to go beyond school to get outside-the-classroom education." The decathlon is also giving Pann the opportunity to work with students from other departments on campus: interior design, business, public relations and graphic design, to name a few. "I get to work hand-in-hand with my peers," she says. "That's not usually a part of our education." students to test ideas and make mistakes. "The students are sheltered by being in an academic institution," he says. "They are allowed to fail. It is actually tolerated. And sometimes you have to fail, to learn." Biology professor Ron Coleman argues dealing with failure is an important life lesson, and that one of the best ways students gain that experience is by participating in research projects. "It doesn't matter what the research is. It's going through the process that's important," Coleman says. "Facing somewhat frequent failure forces them to come up with a 'Plan B.' It's an exercise of troubleshooting that transfers to all aspects of life." Having a safe place to make mistakes might even protect patient safety. One of the most effective teaching vehicles in the School of Nursing is its simulation laboratory, which builds students' skills through the use of state-of-the-art patient simulators—mannequins which mimic the symptoms and mannerisms of live humans. In the simulation environment, students react and respond to a variety of scenarios, but with no risk to an actual patient. Sac State was one of the first programs in the CSU to use simulation equipment. And funding from the recently completed Campaign for Nursing allowed the School to expand its simulation options to include infants, toddlers and even a mother in labor, and establish a designated space that realistically replicates the hospital room experience. The $2.1 million campaign increased the amount of classroom and laboratory space for student use and brought an infusion of scholarships. It also laid the cornerstone for the University's Center for Health Professions, which will prepare the next generation of physical therapists, speech pathologists and audiologists and, of course, nurses. "We saw an opportunity to support both technology and nursing," says nursing professor and campaign donor Tanya Altman. "The Campaign for Nursing and the School's move to Folsom Hall have enabled a state- of-the-art nursing education program at Sacramento State. They provided the tools to ensure the community has outstanding nursing for the future." BUILDING A BETTER MOUSETRAP Marketing professor Brian Baldus finds that giving students the opportunity to work on real business problems encourages them to figure out real solutions. "We want to improve the value to the business, but in the past, I saw students spend a lot of time describing the business' problem instead of prescribing a solution," Baldus says. "I wanted to get away from doing a book report on a local company and focusing on providing actionable insights." For example, instead of telling a business, "You need to do market research," directing them to a market research provider and pointing out what to look for in the results. "Students are really creative and provide very innovative solutions," Baldus says. "But they need an atmosphere where they can do it." Sometimes building upon classroom skills involves getting your hands dirty, but more importantly, learning to work as a team. Sac State's engineering and computer science students build bridges, design racecars and construct fighting robots (see page 4), all in an effort to take coursework to the next level. Senior Rosni Pann is a project-engineering intern with a local contractor but she's also on Sac State's first-ever Solar Decathlon team. The U.S. Department of Energy-sponsored program brings schools from all over the world together in a competition to design—and "Facing somewhat frequent failure forces them to come up with a 'Plan B.' It's an exercise of troubleshooting that transfers to all aspects of life." —Ron Coleman Professor Seung Bach (lef t), with Mitchell White, the creator of TheRightCar.com.