Iowa State University

Inside Iowa State
Sept. 20, 1996

First faculty forum examines classrooms

by Anne Dolan
Classrooms at Iowa State -- what they look like, how space is used, what teaching tools they should contain -- will be the subject of the first Faculty Forum and Dinner this year. The dinner begins at 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 7, in the Memorial Union Campanile Room. It will be preceded by a social time at 5:30 p.m. and followed by the discussion at approximately 6:45 p.m.

Clare Cardinal-Pett, associate professor of architecture and chair of the Faculty Senate Committee on Facilities and Educational Resources, will help begin the discussion. Cardinal-Pett, who said her discussion notes are founded in her experience as a teacher and her ideas as an architect, will speak to three points:

  • Flexibility. While classrooms equally useful to chemistry and political science teachers offer flexibility and efficiency, they also are character-less and anony-mous, Cardinal-Pett said. She will argue against the notion that one room should be able to do many things and in favor of offering an array of room styles that are very well-suited to their uses.

  • Context. Cardinal-Pett said it's not enough to think about classrooms in isolation. They need to be designed and configured in relation to the other nearby learning spaces, including faculty offices, student lounges and the library.

  • Media. Cardinal-Pett, who used a World Wide Web page and electronic mail in teaching a course last semester, said electronic media alter previous notions about place and space in a classroom. That impact must be acknowledged and used to better plan classroom spaces, she said.

    A committee of faculty, staff and student representatives, recruited by Facilities Planning, began meeting in August to plan for classroom renovations that meet teaching and learning styles five to 10 years from now. Anyone with suggestions or requests for the Learning Center Committee may call Cardinal-Pett, 4-7122, or Katie Baumgarn, 4-0892.

    This fall marks the fourth year of the Faculty Forum series, sponsored by the Center for Teaching Excellence. The meeting date has been changed from the third to the first Monday of the month. Dinner costs $10 per person, payable at the door. Those planning to eat are asked to phone or e-mail Jane Henning (4-2906, by 5 p.m. on the Friday preceding the Monday forum.

    Following are other forum topics:

  • Nov. 4: "How Does Active Learning Work?" introduced by Barbara Licklider, professional studies in education

  • Dec. 2: "Designing Good Exams"

  • Feb. 3: "Humanities and Sciences: Uniting the 'Two Cultures' in the Classroom"

  • March 3: "Learning Through Work: Getting the Most Out of Co-op and Internship Programs"

  • April 7: "Can Students Really Learn from Your World Wide Web Site?"

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