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Oak Leaves

November 17, 2017


MU Grad, Educator Funds New CETL Classroom; Enhances Student Learning


Wayne Smith 



If you ventured around the Funderburg Library and wandered to the second floor, you may have noticed the huge addition of a classroom on the south side of the building.

The classroom was built for CETL, which stands for “Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning.” The room itself has since been named the “Walker Active Learning Classroom” (WALC), named after MU donors Wilmer and Helen Walker.

The room was funded by a bequest provided by the Walker family back in 2000. Wilmer was an MU graduate from the class of 1939, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in education. “Wilmer was an educator for nearly 40 years, and always valued education, so to have this room named after him is very fitting,” said Jill Lichtsinn, the director of the Funderburg Library.

The classroom had its grand opening on Oct. 20, and has been busy ever since, with multiple professors using the new room to their advantage. The room is unique. Nothing is bolted to the floor, and everything is on wheels, making every item in the room open for customization to a student/teacher’s needs. This is due to the idea of professors wanting to utilize active learning pedagogies.

The room also includes power isles for students to plug their devices into; it also contains video conferencing capabilities. It is no surprise to see students using it after classes since the moveable white boards serve as useful surfaces on which to sketch a multitude of items.

Seeing results like these makes Lichtsinn proud. “This is the next step in enhanced learning and education,” she said. “We are planning on having different workshops and meetings in the room to further maximize our learning potential.” She also said that there are four classes planning to use the room as their regular classroom for the January session and spring semester.

Lichtsinn has high praise for how the classroom turned out. “It is fitting for everyone, it can be used for learning, or social gatherings, you name it,” she said. Might more rooms similar to the WALC come to Manchester? Lichtsinn seemed in favor of the idea; however, she issued a caveat.  “Obviously we need to learn about from the things we did right and wrong with the first model we built before considering another one," she said. "As these rooms are very expensive to construct, if we retrofitted a room in the Academic Center, it would still cost around $135,000 for construction.”

If the WALC continues to thrive and develop more interest from students and faculty, there is an option of expanding the room, and adding more seating and desks. “This is something we can consider if the opportunity arises because of the floor space we have,” Lichtsinn said.

The room is open for reservation like any other computer lab in the library. If there are any questions, comments or concerns about the WALC, you can contact Jill Lichtsinn via email at jslichtsinn@manchester.edu, or Michelle Calka, CETL director, at mcalka@manchester.edu.