December 2, 2011
Shh! It’s okay. You no longer have to whisper in the library, at least not at The College of Wooster. On Dec. 15, when students move out for winter break, construction workers will move in to transform the first floor of Andrews Library into the Collaborative Research Environment (CoRE). The renovation is expected to take just 30 days, meaning that the new concept will be unveiled in time for the start of the second semester on Jan. 16.
The space lies at the core (thus, the acronym) of Wooster’s identity as the nation’s premier college for mentored undergraduate research, says Heather Fitz Gibbon, dean for faculty development at Wooster. “Through this space, we hope to represent actively and visually what makes The College of Wooster a unique and special place,” she explains, “including a place to celebrate and showcase Independent Study” (Wooster’s nationally acclaimed research program in which each senior works with a faculty mentor on a topic in their discipline that results in a thesis, production, or exhibition of artwork.).
The CoRE will feature collaborative areas, presentation practice rooms, and a digital media lab. There will also be group presentation/small seminar rooms, and a “tech bar” café featuring movable wall installations, LCD screens, and mobile white boards. There will also be a coffee cart.
“Old-style libraries reflected earlier ideas about research — where student and faculty are lone researchers working in silence,” says Fitz Gibbon. “CoRE represents the new realities of research — It’s noisy, at times non-linear; it involves many different sorts of media; and it happens in groups.”
The goal is to make the space more open and more collaborative so that students can work in groups. “We envision a vibrant, exciting, and creative environment for collaborative work by students and faculty,” says Fitz Gibbon. “It will be a place where students can brainstorm ideas, develop collaborative projects using digital and traditional media, sketch out a new concept, or practice a presentation. Because the nature of research is changing rapidly, we see this as a flexible space that can change with the needs of the individual, the group, or the time. We see this as a place for us to celebrate what we do well, and at the same time push the boundaries of undergraduate research.”
The majority of the funding for the $1.2 million project will be provided by the College, along with grants from the McGregor Foundation.
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