BOSTON, Jan. 15, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Boston College's Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE), designed by Lavallee Brensinger Architects, opened for its inaugural semester in the fall of 2014. The facility serves as the administrative headquarters and laboratory for innovational exploration of Instructional Design and eTeaching Services (IDeS) and the Faculty Microcomputer Resource Center. These formerly scattered program offices now sit adjacent to the existing Connors Family Learning Center, centrally located in O'Neill Library at the heart of Main Campus. The new CTE provides a range of advanced tools to Boston College faculty and graduate student teachers to explore, test, and improve upon evolving pedagogical innovations and technologies. As awareness and use of the facility increased throughout the fall, the university looks forward to the center's continued growth throughout the second half of the school year.
A major benefit of the new CTE, said CTE Director John Rakestraw, is the consolidation of resources. "A lot of universities and colleges have a center for teaching as well as a center for academic technology," said Rakestraw. "But there is real value in having all those aspects and functions in one place. As the use of technology in academia continues to grow, it's all the more important that alongside the technological resources is the expertise and interest in pedagogy – the very language and philosophy of teaching."
Given limited, predefined space, a primary design challenge was ensuring the satisfaction and efficient workflow of each department and stakeholder. According Lavallee Brensinger Architects President Chris Drobat, the solution was to host live workshops with Boston College Capital Planning and CTE leaders. "By bringing a live Building Information Program Model to test-fit spatial options for departments, individual offices, and flexible spaces, we were able to program the CTE in real time," said Drobat. "Input from each key individual helped us to provide a spatial design that we are confident serves the departments' exclusive and mutual needs now, and will remain flexible as these needs change and grow in future."
The importance of flexibility in the design is twofold. Not only is adaptability key for future changes of the CTE program; in the immediate term, flexible furniture, partitions, and technology allow faculty to test and become comfortable with multiple teaching styles and technological tools. "The challenge for the AV design," said audiovisual consultant Martin Calverly, "was to create an infrastructure that would support a very active day one multipurpose space and the inevitable technology changes that this facility will need to adapt to for many years to come: essentially an open palette design allowing for as much future creativity and adaptability as possible."
As a new semester begins, lessons learned from the fall will put this adaptability to good use. Already, said Vice-Provost for Faculties Patricia DeLeeuw, the CTE is seeing increased cross-fertilization of traditional and technological teaching. "This facility allows us to advance among our peers," said DeLeeuw. "While we are a research university, our Jesuit tradition places high value on excellent teaching. So now, here is the place – which is at the center of the university – where we can talk publicly about how to be excellent teachers."
The project team includes Boston College Capital Projects Management; Lavallee Brensinger Architects, Architect of Record; BR+A Consulting Engineers, MEP Engineers; Howe Engineers, Inc., Code Consultants; Kaplan Construction, Construction Managers; and ACT Associates, LLC, Audiovisual Consultants.
CONTACT: Jael Ballard, 617-398-2035, [email protected]
SOURCE Lavallee Brensinger Architects