A new dean & a new facility

Dr. Mary Gowan came to UNG in February as the new dean of the Mike Cottrell College of Business with experience in shepherding building projects.

That experience and her enthusiasm will serve the college well as the university embarks on the design phase of construction of the Cottrell Center for Business, Technology and Innovation this year. The 91,000-square-foot business and technology building, with an estimated total cost of $35 million, will be located on UNG’s Dahlonega Campus. Groundbreaking is anticipated to take place in 2020, and construction is expected to take about two years.

Before joining UNG, Gowan served as professor, dean and endowed professor at James Madison University’s College of Business, where she led a major fundraising initiative, expanded and strengthened academic programs, and created a strong culture of engagement.

Gowan noted UNG’s leadership in accounting, cybersecurity, entrepreneurship, and supply chain logistics, and is excited to help build on the strong foundation in those and other areas.

“A lot of good seeds have been planted,” Gowan said. “I get to come in and help them to flourish.”

She’s excited about the synergy that the new building, which will include updated educational space, laboratories and equipment for marketing, entrepreneurship, cybersecurity and computer science programs, will bring to the business college.

“Currently, business courses and faculty are spread across multiple buildings, which diminishes the synergy that results from being in a common space,” Gowan said. “This facility will create a technology-rich learning environment to ensure our students are well equipped for current, high-demand workforce opportunities, thus ensuring we are competitive with leading business and technology schools.”

The facility received $2.3 million in support from the state legislature this year for planning and design funding of the project and a new commitment of $10 million from Mike and Lynn Cottrell to help fund construction.

The types of spaces planned for the new building include:

  • Cybersecurity range
  • Computer forensic lab
  • Computer science and information systems hardware and networking labs
  • Data visualization, analytics, and logistics/supply chain lab
  • Digital marketing command center and social listening lab
  • Professional sales and marketing research lab
  • Entrepreneurship and innovation lab
  • Multipurpose room that can seat 240 for seminars, 540 theater-style or 304 for banquets

Additionally, conceptual plans for the building include multi-use computer labs, tiered classroom space, flexible classrooms,a student success center, team meeting and study areas, and faculty and staff offices.

Dr. Katie Simmons, associate dean for students and undergraduate programs in the Mike Cottrell College of Business, said she is excited about the Student Success Center planned for the building.

“This will allow us to have a central location for students to learn about internships, to participate in our student professional development programs, and to meet with their academic advisors. We are also planning space for collaborative learning and for student organizations to meet and host events,” Simmons said. “We appreciate Dr. Gowan’s leadership as we move forward with the design of our new space.”

Gowan has a Ph.D. in business administration from the University of Georgia, a master’s degree in counselor education from Appalachian State University and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Southwest Baptist College.

Gowan was also a professor and dean at Elon University, associate dean of undergraduate programs at George Washington University, and taught overseas at Helsinki School of Economics and Business (now Aalto University). She has extensive consulting experience with Fortune 500 companies and has published research in leading journals in human resources management. She is the co-author of a textbook for human resources management.