Queen's Gazette | Queen's University

Search form

Student-focused renovations at Mackintosh-Corry Hall

New spaces are part of ongoing classroom renewal and feature study spaces and student-focused classrooms.

When renovations were conceived for the south end of Mackintosh-Corry Hall (Mac-Corry) in the summer of 2017, it was a chance to rethink the way traditional classrooms are designed.

The result is a modern, research-based collection of student learning spaces. Three active learning classrooms in Mac-Corry include one large room on the first floor and two flexible seating seminar rooms on the third floor, as well as group study spaces carved out from the hallway, where rows of lockers used to stand. These study spaces surround the new home of the Department of Geography and Planning.

“Classroom renewal as we’ve seen here is crucial to support our faculty as they continue to push the boundaries of innovation in course design in the classroom,” said Principal Woolf at the celebration of the new student street on Jan. 31. “As someone who used to study sitting on the radiator around the corner, it’s fantastic to see these new study spaces for students. I take a special interest in the new classroom renovations, given that I will soon be returning fulltime to the classroom and almost certainly teaching in some of these rooms.”

Principal Woolf thanked the teams at Physical Plant Services, Audio-Visual Services, the construction and design teams, and the teaching and learning space working group.

“As soon as these new study spaces were opened, they were full,” said Jill Scott, vice-provost (teaching and learning). “I think this is something we need to pay attention to, because as we change the way we learn, we also need to change and transform the nature of the student study spaces that we have, and we need more of them.”

Katie Goldie, assistant professor with the Queen’s School of Nursing, began using the new classrooms in Mac-Corry in the fall semester.

“I designed a course to use this new space, as I know it’s hard for a large group of student to listen to three hours of lecture,” says Dr. Goldie. “The active learning classroom in Mac-Corry allowed me to design more innovative, engaging classroom exercises that stimulated and re-enforced learning. For example, in one class after teaching content, students moved to the active space and were presented with a real life clinical case to work through in small groups. They also participated in a virtual reality clinical simulation, and were dialed into experts via Google Hangouts from another university. The design of the new classrooms encouraged and enabled the students to debrief afterwards with one another. I think this made a large class feel more personal.”

The renovations to the student street in Mac-Corry are one piece of a larger student-oriented revitalization. Recent renovations also include low- and high-tech classrooms in Kingston Hall and Ellis Hall. Upcoming renovations in 2018 include:

  • Biosciences 1102 and 1103 will be renovated to become a new lecture theatre,
  • Convocation Hall will be renovated, and will have a capacity of 140,
  • Ellis Hall 324/327 will become an active learning room with a capacity of 120,
  • Ellis 226 will become an active learning room with a capacity of 60, and
  • the Innovation and Wellness Centre will include three active learning style rooms for the engineering faculty, each with a capacity of 80.

Find out more about active learning classrooms and the research behind them on the Active Learning Spaces website

  • Jill Scott, vice-provost (teaching and learning), began the celebration by sharing how the project incorporated a research-based approach to the design of the new classrooms. (Photo: University Communications)
    Jill Scott, vice-provost (teaching and learning), began the celebration by sharing how the project incorporated a research-based approach to the design of the new classrooms. (Photo: University Communications)
  • Principal Daniel Woolf shared his experiences as a student when Mac-Corry was still a new building, and how important improving student learning facilities like study spaces and classrooms is to Queen’s. (Photo: University Communications)
    Principal Daniel Woolf shared his experiences as a student when Mac-Corry was still a new building, and how important improving student learning facilities like study spaces and classrooms is to Queen’s. (Photo: University Communications)
  • One of the new classrooms at Mac-Corry, across from the Department of Geography and Planning, includes modern amenities and a collaborative atmosphere. (Photo: Active Learning Spaces)
    One of the new classrooms at Mac-Corry, across from the Department of Geography and Planning, includes modern amenities and a collaborative atmosphere. (Photo: Active Learning Spaces)
  • Faculty members participate in a workshop in the high-tech, team-based learning classroom Ellis 333. (Photo: Active Learning Spaces)
    Faculty members participate in a workshop in the high-tech, team-based learning classroom Ellis 333. (Photo: Active Learning Spaces)
  • Students work in the new study areas in Mac-Corry with access to glass whiteboards, room for group meetings and lots of electric outlets. The space used to be lined with lockers. (Photo: University Communications)
    Students work in the new study areas in Mac-Corry with access to glass whiteboards, room for group meetings and lots of electric outlets. The space used to be lined with lockers. (Photo: University Communications)
  • Before and after: Construction of the new study spaces began in the summer of 2017. (Photo: Physical Plant Services)
    Before and after: Construction of the new study spaces began in the summer of 2017. (Photo: Physical Plant Services)