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Creating better learning spaces

May 7, 2014

Creating better learning spaces
A donation from Foundation Western will offer more group study spaces at Western Libraries, so students can work together rather than in isolation – a reflection of the changing nature of university learning.

As university teaching focuses more on collaboration, Desmond Swamy, a medical science and biology student at Western, wants to see learning spaces that facilitate interactive studying.

“The sciences are becoming more interdisciplinary, so we need study areas that reflect this change – and that pull down barriers to group work,” he says.

Medical science student Kate Dillon agrees. “We’re now learning more through case studies, so community spaces will enhance our experience of working with a variety of people to solve a problem,” she says.

Desmond, Kate and thousands of other students will get their wish through a generous gift to Western Libraries.

Foundation Western has contributed $250,000 to renew the Allyn & Betty Taylor Library – a resource for medical, science, engineering and health science students. Western Alumni has donated an additional $25,000 to support the library transformation.

“Our students have been telling us that our library spaces are not fully meeting their needs,” says Kim Cornell, assistant university librarian with Taylor Library. “We listened, and observed how they’re using the library.

“Sometimes in active conversation areas, they sit at tables, pulling out flip charts and crowding around laptops in order to do group work. They need something better.”

Through the Foundation’s gift, six collaborative rooms equipped with current technology will be built on the main floor of Taylor Library.

“Even in our digital world, students still come to a physical space to learn. They feel at home here,” adds Cornell. “That’s why we’re so grateful for how alumni respect and value the new generation of learning.”

For the Foundation, making the gift to the Taylor Transformation Fund celebrates its goal of empowering curious minds.

“Creating environments for students to excel in their learning is an easy decision to make,” says Frank Pyka, the Foundation’s executive director.

This article appeared in the Spring 2014 edition of Impact Western
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