A flexible learning environment that supports students, faculty, employees and the community is at the core of a new home for Lethbridge College’s Centre for Teaching, Learning and Innovation. A renovation of the Buchanan Library space has brought nine departments together under one roof in a collaborative environment that meets the changing educational needs of students.
The $3 million project included structural upgrades to the space and allowed the centre to design the space around the various ways students learn, interact and contribute to their learning environments. Five breakout rooms, a variety of seating options that allow both collaborative and independent study, and increased access to technology, including laptops, virtual reality equipment and a 3D printer highlight the new area.
The new space was given the Blackfoot name Niitsitapi’ksimpstaan by the college’s Kainai Kaahsinnoonik (Grandparent), Peter Weasel Moccasin. The name means “Real Thinking” and celebrates the learning journey of the students who use the space.
“This project has been in the works for years and was an institutional priority,” says Dr. Paula Burns, Lethbridge College President and CEO. “We really looked at how we can best support students, and that meant putting all of these educational resources in one spot where they can access the tools they need to succeed.”
Institutional funding for the project was supplemented by philanthropic partners. Three years of funds from the Clayton Allan Wine Auction went towards the project; fundraising for the space was also part of the successful Possibilities are Endless campaign that connected donors with this project; as well, a group of college employees donated money from their paycheques to make the project a reality.
The Centre for Teaching, Learning and Innovation has long been supported by a gift from Flora Matteotti and the centre bears her name. Student resources in the new space include the Buchanan Library, the Learning Café and Accessibility Services. Other services in the space support college faculty and staff, including the Educational Development, Learning Experience Design, Digital Learning, Production, Regional Campuses and Audio-Visual.
“By bringing all of our teaching and learning services to one location, we’ve created a one-stop shop for student and instructors to easily access the support they need,” says Jaclyn Doherty, Dean of the Centre for Teaching, Learning and Innovation. “This has also provided more opportunities for our team to work more efficiently and collaboratively on institutional initiatives.”
Another highlight of the new space is a dedicated gallery to display works from the prestigious Buchanan Art Collection. Donated to the college in 1958 by brothers Donald and Hugh Buchanan in honour of their parents, Sen. W.A. and Alma Buchanan, the collection includes paintings from the Group of Seven and many other legendary Canadian artists. Pieces from the collection will now be displayed on a rotating basis in the gallery – the first time that the collection has been given a permanent public home on campus.
The new home for the Flora Matteotti Centre for Teaching, Learning and Innovation is conveniently located in the college’s Centre Core and is open to college students, employees and member of the public.
DID YOU KNOW?
- Students and faculty from the Interior Design Technology program helped to design the new space.
- Student breakout rooms were booked for nearly 3,000 hours in the fall semester (the equivalent of more than 123 days).
- Each breakout room features Indigenous symbols meaningful to the campus community.
- Students signed out laptops from the Buchanan Library more than 4,300 times in the fall semester.
- Testing Services is also part of the Centre for Teaching, Learning and Innovation, but is still located separately in the college.
- Using an augmented reality phone app with specially designed posters in the area will bring Peter Weasel Moccasin “to life” to tell the story of the Niitsitapi’ksimpstaan (Real Thinking) name.
- While the Buchanan Collection contains high-profile works such as Group of Seven paintings, art experts agree that its appeal lies in the diversity of the collection.
- Having a Lethbridge Public Library card also allows community members to use and check out resources from the Buchanan Library.
- Major donors to this project from the Possibilities are Endless campaign include Melcor Developments ($25,000) and Randy Dunlop (more than $9,500).
About the Centre for Teaching, Learning and Innovation (CTLI): The centre works collaboratively to provide a broad range of services and offers support to faculty and students from all academic centres and programs. CTLI collaborates with academic centres and the Centre for Applied Research, Innovation and Entrepreneurship to design and develop learning experiences and customized employee development programming. This includes, but is not limited to micro-credentials (or modularized learning); technology integration; facilitated workshops on innovation; employee engagement; design thinking; competency-based learning; and employee training, project design and management. Recent projects include partnerships with Canvendish Farms, Alberta Parks, Farming Smarter and the Lethbridge Police Service.