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Investing in learning spaces

[Active Learning Classrooms]
 Queen’s University is investing $3 million over the next three years to enhance the teaching and learning environment for students. (University Communications)

Principal Daniel Woolf has announced that Queen’s will invest $3 million in the renewal of its classrooms over a period of three years to enhance the teaching and learning environment for students.

“Classrooms are a vital part of the student learning experience and having high-quality, modern facilities contributes positively to student engagement and success,” says Principal Woolf. “While we won’t be able to tackle all of our classroom renovation needs in three years, this investment in Queen’s academic spaces is an important first step that will allow the university to address some of its highest priorities for classroom renewal.”

The investment of $1 million per year for three years will be used to upgrade some of the 126 centrally-booked classrooms at Queen’s. The renovations will help ensure that physical learning spaces best supports teaching and learning.

Alan Harrison, Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic), says that renovations will happen in a variety of classroom types, ranging from large lecture-style rooms to smaller seminar rooms and active learning spaces.

“Queen’s has already seen the success of its new active learning spaces pilot project in Ellis Hall, which has proven very popular with faculty and students alike, and which shows the benefit of classroom renewal,” says Provost Harrison. “Facilities renewal and deferred maintenance are a challenge for many universities in Ontario, including Queen’s. While more funding will be needed over the longer term, this investment will help revitalize a number of teaching spaces at Queen’s and improve the teaching and learning environment for those who use the spaces.”

According to Peter Wolf, Associate Vice-Provost (Teaching and Learning) and Director of the Centre for Teaching and Learning, the funding will allow investments in classroom technology, furniture, air quality, lighting and finishes.

“The majority of the funds available will be used for major overhauls of the highest priority classrooms,” he says. “A thorough review and inventory of Queen’s classroom space has already been done and the data collected will help prioritize those renovations. The goal is to ensure that classroom renewal plans are informed by best practices in teaching and learning.”

The funds will also support more targeted upgrades to a number of classrooms.

“There will be some funding available to make specific upgrades, such as installing new technology or flexible seating, in some classrooms to facilitate effective teaching and learning,” Mr. Wolf says. “We are looking for input from the Queen’s community to help identify and prioritize these targeted upgrades and I encourage faculty, staff and students to make suggestions.”

Suggestions for specific classrooms upgrades can be submitted through an online survey no later than March 30. Anyone with questions about classroom renewal may contact Peter Wolf