They’ve been waiting, and now it’s here. After nearly two years of construction, professors have held their first classes in the Innovation and Discovery Center, the campus’ new science building.
Now, with a week of classes under their belts, professors teaching courses in the IDC have gotten a chance to experiment with the new technology, including updated lab equipment, that went into the $29 million project.
“The new IDC classroom is vastly superior,” Dr. Dale Cameron, Associate Professor of Biology, said. “It is a flexible learning space that allows me to easily switch between lecturing and small group work, with monitors and ample white board space on every wall. I’ve heard nothing but positive feedback from my students so far.”
The new classrooms are a far cry from the traditional, lecture-style rooms found in Pfhaler and Thomas. They include wide, spacious windows on the first floor that open out to the lobby, which is furnished with chairs and mobile tables arranged for collaborative study sessions. Multiple television screens decorate the walls of the classrooms, as well as white boards with student notes, and projectors for professors’ lectures. The two other floors follow a similar setup, with even more places for students to sit down, relax, and work collaboratively.
“In the past I have taught this course in the large Thomas Hall classroom, which is geared towards a lecture-style teaching format and lacks the flexibility for more active, student-centered learning approaches,” Cameron said.
Dr. Denise Finney, Assistant Professor of Biology, explained that she appreciates the new classroom setup for her Ecology students.
“The room has 8 tables, each with its own screen, so students can easily work together on case studies and give small group presentations,” Finney said. “Being in the new classroom has let me create many more hands-on learning activities and provide students more opportunities to direct what topics and examples we use to examine ecological questions.”
The new classrooms aren’t just for the sciences, however. Dr. Rebecca Lyczak has also been utilizing the space for her CIE class.
“In the Parlee Center for Science and the Common Good classroom, my CIE class has been able to move from whole group discussion to small working groups easily. So far, I have really enjoyed these teaching spaces and I hope more of our current classrooms across campus can be updated with similar features,” Lyczak said.
Research labs are also more streamlined in the new building.
“My research space is beautiful and it is wonderful to have all my research equipment housed in the same hallway,” Lyczak said. “I can easily move between my office, my research lab, and the confocal microscope with the new space. This will allow me to more easily train and interact with my research students.”
While classes have already begun in the new building, students will have to wait nearly a month for its official opening and dedication ceremony on October 27th.