D'Youville College has been awarded a competitve grant that will be used to help it construct an Active Learning Space, an environment being described as a "living laboratory" that will give some Buffalo high school students a chance to get a taste at more interactive and creative education.
The competitive grant is provided by Steelcase Education, the educational branch of the company Steelcase, which manufactures office furniture, architectural equipment and technology products. It was one of only twelve grants awarded to educational institutions throughout the United States and Canada.
Construction of D'Youville's new Active Learning Center will begin this summer in a location on campus that gives the college and Buffalo's DaVinci High School, which is located within D'Youville's Madonna Hall, a direct connection.
"Our students are going to be engaged. They're going to be motivated and they're going to get quick debriefs, all of the time and continuously, about what they saw and what they're learning and how that could be improved in that situation or in that simulation," said Buffalo School Superintendent Dr. Kriner Cash. "It's based off the classic medical model in many ways, as I understand it. That's really good training."
It was estimated that more than 100 students initially could have access to the Active Learning Center. As for the subject matter?
"We're going to start with health care as our primary focus initially," said Dr. Lorrie Clemo, D'Youville's president. "But we plan on developing pathway programs for other areas as well, too. Certainly we have very broad ambitions as to what degree programs we're going to be able to move our students through. But we're starting with the health care programs first."
Faculty, it was suggested, will also have a means to learn in this new center. Associate professor Dr. Karen Panzarella says instructors will be able to train to teach in an active learning environment.
"We're using similar methods that we use in healthcare simulation, where we have safe environments where educators can practice and train themselves with fellow colleagues, and maybe even students who are actors and not real students, to start with in a safe environment," she explained. "Then they can bring these environments back to the classroom."
Buffalo Public School officials also announced that ten students within the district have committed to enrollment at D'Youville next school year.