Coe College creates Learning Commons to enhance student success

Extra: Rod Pritchard, Director of Marketing and Public Relations
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2015-07-30 09:34:27 - General

Coe College is developing a new Learning Commons in Stewart Memorial Library to enrich the network of academic services that help students thrive. Beginning this fall, the Learning Commons will offer a variety of programs and services to provide an integrated, holistic approach to the four-year campus experience. The Learning Commons will support Coe students in creating their own unique paths toward productive and satisfying lives.

Specifically, the Learning Commons will embody the college's "Coe makes it possible. You make it happen." theme, providing support for academics, life and career planning, and teaching and learning. Bringing students, faculty and staff together, the Learning Commons will facilitate collaborative, innovative approaches to academic excellence with a central focus on student success.

The main and lower levels of Stewart Memorial Library are currently in the midst of a $800,000 renovation project to build the new Learning Commons. To create an inviting and productive environment, the Learning Commons will include meeting rooms for small and large groups, technology enhancements and a new coffee shop. Movable furniture and versatile space will provide ample settings for students to study and collaborate on projects. Meanwhile, the traditional functions and services offered by the Coe library staff will not only be maintained, but strengthened by the integration with the Learning Commons.

Associate Professor and Director of Library Services Jill Jack noted that building the Learning Commons in Stewart Memorial Library will enhance the library's traditional mission of providing students with the resources for academic success.

"Throughout its history, Stewart Memorial Library has been the heart of the campus both literally and figuratively, providing excellent research support to both students and faculty," said Jack. "Through a collaborative effort, the library and Learning Commons staffs will create an enriched, engaging and creative approach to teaching and learning that will benefit the entire Coe community."

John William King Professor of Literature and Creative Writing Gina Hausknecht has been named as the associate dean of the Learning Commons. Hausknecht has assembled a team representing key academic support areas, including the academic achievement program, support for students with disabilities, life and career planning, academic technology, and community engagement as well as the library staff. In addition, the new Learning Commons will house the nationally recognized Coe Writing Center along with Coe's highly regarded Speaking Center.

"The formation of the Learning Commons represents a significant organizational and cultural change for Coe," said Hausknecht. "With a whole suite of academic support services centered on student efficacy, we will help students make the most of all Coe has to offer throughout their time here."

For students, the Learning Commons will provide student-to-student support through peer writing, speaking, research, technology and tutoring consultations. Professional support will focus on providing effective and engaging skills-focused programs and individualized academic counseling for every Coe student. Personalized guidance will give students skills and confidence as they seek out off-campus experiences, including internships and community engagement, explore career options, and work toward rewarding opportunities upon graduation.

The Learning Commons will provide benefits to Coe faculty and staff as well, by promoting collaboration, innovative teaching and advising practices, and community-engaged research. Through the Learning Commons, faculty and staff will be equipped to address changing student needs in creative, effective and professionally stimulating ways.

According to Hausknecht, the Learning Commons will establish an environment that encourages students to take ownership of their educations and to share their skills and expertise with their peers, faculty and staff, and the larger community. Each of the Learning Commons consultants will be able to help any Coe student take advantage of the services offered.

"In a resource-rich and inviting space, we envision that students, faculty and staff will create and exchange ideas, skills and knowledge," said Hausknecht. "The multi-faceted academic support staff will assist students in their varied endeavors, from becoming more effective learners and excelling as scholars, to contributing to their communities and, ultimately, forging meaningful and enriching lives."

Coe College offers superb academics and exciting co-curricular activities in a thriving urban setting that promotes student growth and success. Established in 1851, Coe has a national reputation for academic excellence enhanced by a student-centered, highly supportive campus environment. Coe's vibrant Cedar Rapids location provides an abundance of internships for students and career opportunities for graduates.