Oklahoma Higher Education Campus E-Clips sponsored by the Communicators Council

October 2010

UCO Celebrates Opening of Center for Transformative Learning

 

The University of Central Oklahoma community celebrated the opening of its Center for Transformative Learning, the first higher education building of its kind in the state, designed intentionally to encourage collaboration and creativity in its learning spaces.

In his comments, President Roger Webb referred to the university’s iconic Old North building, one of the first buildings of higher education in the state and a symbol of Oklahoma’s commitment to educating its young people since classes were first held there in January 1893.

Webb said he expects the Center for Transformative Learning will soon prove to be just as iconic, representing the university’s commitment to advancing the way higher education is delivered to today’s students.

“Not a lot has changed in the way we deliver higher education in our nation's colleges and universities. But this is the ‘digital age,’ and we are recognizing that today’s student is different, a different kind of learner. And it’s not that they’re coming here. They are here.”

The 33,000-square-foot building includes 11 learning spaces, featuring boards, desks and chairs that are easily moved to cluster students in collaborative groups, as well as a recital hall, faculty offices and an outdoor classroom. Students will also find several “unassigned spaces” designed and furnished to encourage collaboration outside of the classroom.

University administrators call this approach to teaching “transformative learning,” and at the university, the approach is embodied in six tenets called the “Central Six”: discipline knowledge; leadership; problem solving (research, scholarly and creative activities); service learning and civic engagement; global and cultural competencies; and health and wellness.

“Studies on teaching and learning demonstrate that students respond better to content when faculty serve as guides on the side rather than as a ‘sage on the stage.’ This means students must become engaged in and own their learning experience,” said UCO Provost Bill Radke.

“We recognize that not every student learns the same way, and, further, that our students must be developed to be adaptive through their education. Today’s college graduate is likely to change careers half a dozen times because what they learned is obsolete.”

At the opening celebration, Webb surprised Radke, who has led the effort to integrate transformative learning into Central’s classrooms, with the dedication of the facility’s recital hall in his honor, unveiling a plaque naming it the Radke Fine Arts Theater.

The CTL cost approximately $8.5 million, and was paid for by a bond issue approved in 2005, using no institutional or state funds. Students and faculty began using the building at the start of the fall semester in August.

For more information on the Center for Transformative Learning, visit www.uco.edu/tl.

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