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The Future is Bright in College of Education

Sunshine and state-of-the-art technology are signature features of remodeled building

After more than four decades teaching the educators of the future — and two years of renovation — the University of Idaho’s College of Education reopened its doors this fall as a vibrant, modern learning environment.

“The building inspires creativity, confidence and collaboration,” said Cori Mantle-Bromley, who served as dean from 2010 until her retirement in June.

The original building — completed in 1969 — was vacated in 2014 to be stripped to the bone for a $19 million makeover. The remodel gutted the building — removing asbestos, a crumbling exterior and leaking windows and ceilings. The college has been transformed into a space that is brightly lit throughout, LEED certified for sustainability, with halls, team rooms and classrooms with comfortable, moveable furniture conducive to implementing key principles in active learning.

“When I first arrived with the college, I felt the building was tired. It felt dreary and there wasn’t much light. There weren’t any spaces that were inviting, welcoming or comfortable,” Mantle-Bromley said. “Now, the building shows respect for people who use it, and I hope it creates a respect for what teachers do.”

During the renovation, the College of Education was scattered across campus, making it difficult for students to connect with advisors, and for faculty members to connect with each other. Reunifying the college in one space makes access easier and strengthens a sense of community, Mantle-Bromley said. 

New lounge areas and team rooms were intentionally created to increase community and collaboration among students, as well as with faculty members. From the design to colors to the furniture, the details were selected to be inviting, and she hopes students will engage in the space and spend time in the building beyond their class hours.

“Students struggle to meet and collaborate, and often are fighting for space in the library,” said Madison Seymour, a junior from Rathdrum who is studying elementary education. “The new building will make it easier to meet with advisors, access better technology and increase the ability to collaborate in new student spaces.”

Seymour, who is a student ambassador for the College of Education and represents the college at recruiting events, said she believes promoting the renovation has been influential to future students and their parents.

“Having a building where everything you need is in one space simplifies a scary process,” she said. “It helps that it is right in the hub of campus.”

Education Building First Look

The high-tech learning laboratory, the Doceo Center for Innovation and Learning, was relocated into the new education building. Since its inception in 2013, it has been located in the basement of the Bruce M. Pitman Center. The Doceo Center is now more visible, usable and centralized.

“It has been challenging to support faculty and students,” said Cassidy Hall, the Doceo Center’s interim director and technology integration specialist. “Now, there will be myriad opportunities for the center to be integrated not only with the college, but also the university.” 

The relocated Doceo Center has increased seating capacity and is located next to the new Curriculum Center to allow equipment to be checked out alongside books. Students will have more hands-on time and greater access to the tools they will need to use in their own classrooms upon graduation. In addition, the building now has a Technology Enhanced Active Learning space — known as the TEAL Room — and a science room, which house additional technology.

“The students will be able to learn about the possibilities of integrating technology — not just what is best practice, but using what is available,” Hall said.

“With the active learning model, students get involved in learning and not just sitting passively,” she said. “The more students feel involved in classes, the more they will be devoted to learning.”
— Cassidy Hall

Hall said the technology is highly collaborative and created so students can learn from each other. Having the Doceo Center integrated into the building and equipped with brand new technology sets the groundwork for increased active learning.

“With the active learning model, students get involved in learning and not just sitting passively,” she said. “The more students feel involved in classes, the more they will be devoted to learning.”

Brant Miller, assistant professor of science education, is excited about being engaged in the new building. He recalls being a new faculty member at UI in 2011 and being devoted to exploring technology integration into his classes, but facing a dated Smart Board in a classroom.

“I spent hours on the phone with IT trying to bring this tired old Smart Board back to life,” he said.

Miller said he is thrilled that the college now has a space that is up-to-date, collaborative and collegial. 

“The new space provides the latest of what we know to be effective tools in teaching and learning. It allows us to explore the possibilities to inspire students broadly and creatively to influence change,” he said. “As a state, regional and national leader in education, we need to inspire. We will be a showcase for teaching and learning.”

Article by Allison Stormo, College of Education

New Features in the College of Education

  • The Doceo Center for Innovation and Learning, a high-tech learning laboratory, has expanded technology and increased seating capacity. In addition, the Technology Enhanced Active Learning center, known as the TEAL Room, and science room house technology similar to Doceo Center, increasing the access and availability of cutting-edge tools used in a teaching environment.
  • The Mother’s Room is a quiet, private space for nursing mothers and parents. It is equipped with a sink, refrigerator, comfortable seating and a resource center. It is conveniently located on the first floor next to a family restroom with a changing table.
  • A rooftop garden patio features a number of planters several feet long and benches designed to encourage access and use of the outdoors.
  • The building is LEED certified by the U.S. Green Building Council to increase efficiency and sustainability. Natural light penetrates all spaces. Tools are installed throughout the building to increase sustainability through energy efficiency, reduce water use and reduce waste, including low-flow toilets and water bottle refill stations.
  • Six team rooms offer private spaces for group discussions, study groups, collaboration and meetings for all faculty, staff and students.
  • To pay for the project, the state of Idaho provided $7 million in asbestos abatement and renovation funding, UI bonded $7.5 million toward the project and donors gave $4.5 million.

Contact

University Communications and Marketing

Phone: 111-111-6291

Fax: 111-111-5841

Email: [email protected]

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