The Wharton School: Teaching Business Management in a Whole New Way”

April 1, 2003

Project: Jon M. Huntsman Hall, The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Architect: Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, New York Multimedia, telecommunications, and audio/visual design: Shen Milsom & Wilke, New York Completion: Autumn 2002

Technology enhances the educational process by expanding interactions among students and educators, offering varied learning opportunities, providing distance learning, and giving easy access to many educational resources. Technology, in short, makes it easier to teach and much easier to learn.

With this in mind, The Wharton School set out to create the ultimate wired classroom building. The result is the school’s new Jon M. Huntsman Hall. Designed by architects Kohn Pedersen Fox and completed this fall, the building, which serves 4,700 undergraduate and MBA students, offers technology--conceived by SM&W--that is at once pervasive and transparent.

“We are doing things here that have never before been attempted at this scale,” says Jon Burris, principal at Shen Milsom & Wilke. “The basic classroom technology at Wharton is used in other places. The difference is that at Wharton we have overlayed the basics with hardware and software systems that push technology utilization to a new level."

For example:
- The custom-designed Wharton lectern gives instructors “dashboard control” over the technology and room environment. It includes audiovisual controls, a microphone, and computer ports. Pre-set “room profiles” allow faculty to instantly recreate their preferred teaching conditions in each classroom. These conditions can also be controled by a technician located elsewhere on the campus.
- One-touch digital video and audio recording in each of the 48 classrooms and in public areas allows instructors to archive classroom proceedings and viewing materials directly to the Wharton Web site. The result is an audio/video library that students, alumni, and instructors can freely access. This live and stored multimedia flows freely within the Wharton community and beyond, carried on the LAN, Internet, and other links.
- In classrooms and public venues, the desktop computer and audiovisual control systems are integrated. This allows even those who have no technical skills to fully access the systems and have full functionality on demand.
- Students can see, hear, and participate in discussions with international business leaders via multimedia and broadband audio and video conferencing. Displayed on multiple screens in each classroom, conferencing also allows classes to be team-taught by faculty in Philadelphia and at Wharton West in San Francisco simultaneously. Also linked is the European business school INSEAD (, which has campuses in Singapore and Fontainebleau, France.
- The 57 group-study rooms in the building are designed to enhance interactions among students working on collaborative projects. Each of these rooms offers network connectivity, a computer, and an electronic whiteboard connected to the room’s computer.
- The auditorium and two colloquium rooms include systems for multiple-image displays, video, and teleconferencing systems.

According to the National Education Association, technology’s role in education is to provide students with an effortless medium for information queries and problem solving. Properly applied, it extends the students’ understanding of the pertinent concepts, processes, and themes explored in class.

SM&W’s work at Huntsman Hall allows Wharton to meet these goals. With access to a vast array of technology-based tools, Wharton’s students and teachers are taking technology in education to a higher level than ever before.

Shen Milsom & Wilke, Inc. ( is an international audiovisual/multimedia, telecommunications, trading floor, and acoustical consulting firm. It provides design, engineering, and consulting services to building owners, architects, engineers and contractors. The firm has experience in new building and renovation projects including corporate headquarters, office towers, convention and training centers, airports, hotels, hospitals, theaters, broadcasting and recording studios, as well as financial, government and educational facilities. Shen Milsom & Wilke has a worldwide staff of 130 with offices in New York, Princeton, N.J., Washington, D.C., Chicago, San Francisco, Houston, Denver, London and Hong Kong. It has been in business since 1986 and was named one of the 100 fastest growing A/E/P and environmental consulting firms in the nation by Zweig White & Associates.

The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania is recognized around the world for its academic strengths across every major discipline and at every level of business education. Founded in 1881 as the first collegiate business school in the United States, Wharton has approximately 4,600 undergraduate, MBA, and doctoral students, more than 8,000 participants in its executive education programs annually, and an alumni network of more than 75,000 worldwide.

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