Emory Report

September 7 , 1999

 Volume 52, No. 3

College continues improvements to its teaching spaces

A $2 million renovation project conducted during the summer is part of a continuing effort to improve teaching spaces used by Emory College. All 10 classrooms in White Hall received facelifts and acoustical improvements, and five rooms received major technological enhancements in their audiovisual equipment. In addition, an economics lab in the Rich Building was outfitted with new teaching technology and a psychology computer lab was created in the Dental School Building. Audiovisual technology was added to classrooms in Callaway and Tarbutton halls and several classrooms in the PE Center were renovated.

"This initiative is part of our ongoing efforts to upgrade and enhance teaching spaces in Emory College," said Dean Steve Sanderson. "In the past few years, we've added new classrooms in the Callaway Center, Burlington Road Building and the Rich Building. This summer's work ensures that some of our most popular teaching facilities are also our most up-to-date and pleasing for students and faculty alike."

"Some of the renovations were more dramatic than others," said Rosemary Magee, associate dean for arts and sciences. "All of the glitches haven't been worked out yet, but about a third of classrooms used by faculty in almost every college department were improved, and there are plans to do more work over the December holiday break and next summer. In addition to improving the spaces, we worked with Facilities Management and the Information Technology Division to improve the services in the building."

Magee said the college will likely add the technological enhancements to the remaining rooms in White Hall, and they also want to create and improve rooms for small seminar classes. "All new building projects being planned by the college have dedicated teaching space in them," she said.

In adding the audiovisual enhancements to the classrooms, there was an effort to make the eqiupment uniform so it would be easier for faculty to use. "We initially obtained faculty input through surveys and interviews to help us design how the AV equipment would be set up," said Magee. "The economics lab and the psychology labs were designed with the involvement of faculty in those departments."

"Smart podiums" in White Hall allow faculty to control a VCR, DVD/CD, computer, document camera, audio cassette or laser disk while they are teaching. Additionally, a master routing system has been installed that allows ITD staff in the learning technologies group to send digital audio or video to any room in White Hall. "We can send images or sound to any classroom in White Hall from any source," said Michael Harrison of learning technologies. Faculty still must place orders for the services of the learning technology group, however.

There is a study under way to examine faculty use of the technology, and a working group is meeting regularly. "This gives us a mechanism to address problems and issues and a mechanism to respond," said Magee. Thoughts and suggestions about college classrooms can be sent to <RMM_ classrooms@emory.edu>.

After just one class session in White Hall, Matthew Bernstein in film studies sent Magee an e-mail expressing his pleasure in the renovations. "The improvements made there are truly astonishing," Bernstein wrote. "I cannot tell you how wonderful it is to be able to show video images of such high quality, even from tapes, and to be able to control different media and lighting from the computer screen in front of me. This is the most dramatic improvement in teaching space I've seen in my 10 years here."

The economics lab in the Rich Building will be used for instructional purposes, primarily in empirical courses, as well as a lab. "A professor can demonstrate a statistical procedure, students can see it and then download a dataset from the web and do the statistical analysis and write a report," said Hashem Dezhbakhsh, co-chair of the economics department.

Laura Papotto, business manager in the college, coordinated the 18-month renovation project of White Hall. Barbara Brandt, Michael Harrison and Carole Meyers in ITD and Terry Bozeman in Facilities Management, along with many others, also worked on the project.

--Jan Gleason

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