COVID-19 Response from the Milgard School

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Like most organizations, the Milgard School of Business was recently faced with the challenge of confronting the ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Considering all the important aspects of our mission, we chose to place the needs of our students at the highest priority. 

Their ability to progress towards graduation while receiving a world class education was of paramount importance.  

Before the current crisis even began, we were fortunate to formalize a relationship with Chris Lott, a seasoned expert in distance learning support.  Chris was hired by Dean Merchant, to support our faculty in developing hybrid and distance teaching methods in January.  Little did we know how much we would rely on his expertise as we moved all of our courses online in the end of Winter Term and all of Spring Term.  Many of our faculty were already trained to teach online, but those with less experience were provided with resources and one on one support they needed throughout the school year. 

In addition to our classes, we also moved many community focused events online.  These included, among others, our Center for Business Analytics Bootcamp, executive education programs, accounting program open houses, and lunch and learn events with community businesses.  We also look forward to our Annual Business Leadership Awards event which has been postponed until 2021.

Like many in our community, our students felt the economic impacts of the pandemic.  The Milgard School of Business was pleased to be able to distribute more than six thousand dollars to our students who were in financial distress.  These funds were used to help the students continue their education and meet the necessities of life.  

The Milgard School of Business also lent a hand to our local business partners to help weather the current crisis.  As an example, Dr. Haluk Demirkan supported CHI Franciscan & Catholic Health Initiatives by providing expert advice in data analytics.  This helped them allocate their resources more effectively and efficiently for COVID-19 patients.  The Milgard School of Business also started “Students Assisting Business, “a program led by our own Stan Emert and geared to help small businesses recover. Our supervised students will provide analytics, social media marketing, accounting to business planning under the new normal. 

Dr. Margo Bergman received a grant with a maximum of $20,000 in funding from the Population Health Initiative Grants, from the UW Seattle Population Health Initiative. The research project will be titled “Perceptions In Puyallup: Analyzing the role of public health prevention measures and economic uncertainty during Phase 2/Phase 3 restaurant reopening.”The study will differentiate between public health and economic uncertainty as we move into the next Phases of the Safe Start plan. All of our faculty and staff confronted head-on the challenge of fulfilling the mission of the Milgard School of Business in the wake of the current pandemic.  As the school year came to a close, I am proud to say that in all respects we were successful in our goals.  Though our graduation and hooding events were virtual this year, we celebrated our graduating students the wonderful achievement of completing their degrees.

-Written by Stephen Norman, Ph.D.
Associate Dean for Administrative Initiatives & Associate Professor

Written by: 
Stephen Norman, Web editing: Shane Benoit / July 2, 2020
Photos by: 
Ryan Moriarty
Media contact: 

Shane Benoit