Rupendra Paliwal
Rupendra Paliwal, Ph.D., in the Academic Innovation Center at Bryant University.
From the Provost: How Bryant is building the university of the future
May 09, 2024, by Casey Nilsson
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The Business Entrepreneurship Leadership Center (BELC), opening this fall and the new home of Bryant University’s College of Business, is designed to revolutionize education with cutting-edge facilities and innovative learning environments, says Rupendra Paliwal, Ph.D., Bryant’s provost and chief academic officer. Below, Paliwal shares how the BELC reflects Bryant’s core values to continue to deliver transformational learning and exceptional outcomes — the hallmark of Bryant education.


How does the BELC build upon Bryant’s commitment to delivering strong outcomes post-graduation? 

Our goal here at Bryant is to expose students to different opportunities, experiment, and take risks, but it's still a very protective environment within the campus, right? It's okay to fail, okay to try new things, okay to explore. From that perspective, it's a low-stakes game with high-impact learning, before the students go out and start their professional careers. They are prepared to contribute and make a difference on day one because of our focus on experiential education — learning by doing — and the BELC space will only strengthen this for our students with its many labs and centers.

The Ellen Wilson Leadership Center, for example, fosters collaboration between academic and student life partners to cultivate leadership skills campus-wide. The Frank and Marion Hauck Sales Performance Lab merges advanced technology with mentorship, empowering students from diverse disciplines to build sales as their skill irrespective of the profession they wish to pursue. And our other new centers and labs, from entrepreneurship to artificial intelligence, will prime students to excel through experiential learning opportunities prepared for the ever-evolving future of work.


How do corporate and community partners fit into the BELC ecosystem?

We’re creating spaces that draw in our corporate and community partners and place our students out in the real world. Our partners in sales, finance, marketing, supply chain, and other industries don't need to invest in cutting-edge technology; they can leverage our labs. In the process, they engage our expert faculty and our students, who are learning and co-creating alongside them. We want our corporate partners to have a presence on campus.

This is especially true for our entrepreneurship partners, who will have physical offices as Entrepreneurs in Residence and, while they collaborate with faculty and students, can test out their ideas in our labs and maker spaces in the Entrepreneurship Center.

Does Bryant’s interdisciplinary approach to education factor into the BELC plan, as well? 

Although BELC is home to the College of Business, our unique curriculum requires our students in the arts and sciences and health and behavioral sciences to minor in business. They will also be taking advantage of these spaces and the experiential learning it will provide, and the Entrepreneurship Center is open to the entire Bryant community. 

And, because our labs and centers are co-located together, it creates many more opportunities for our students and faculty. The AI, Data Visualization, and Data Science labs will be co-located among our other centers, labs, and faculty offices, which will foster even more interdisciplinary engagement and collaboration for faculty and students, both at the undergraduate and graduate level. 


Can you speak more broadly about how AI and big data will factor into the Bryant education of the future, at the BELC and more broadly across campus?

We have the AI lab at the BELC, as well as an interdisciplinary AI minor that will launch in the Fall 2024/2025 academic year. AI is impacting every industry and every discipline. We must be at the forefront of preparing our students so they understand the implications of AI on their chosen field, from Marketing to Health Sciences. We’re not looking only at the technical aspect of AI, but also about the application of AI across different industries. Given how fast this technology is evolving, we are working with corporate partners to keep up with it. 

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