Monday, April 1, 2019
A rendering of a Steelcase active learning environment.

UNC Charlotte recently received a $67,000 grant from Steelcase Education’s Active Learning Center (ALC) program to add a new active learning classroom in the College of Health and Human Services.

Steelcase Education’s ALC program is in its fifth year; it supports educators and students by creating an environment that encourages engagement, collaboration and creativity. Active learning is often defined as an approach to instruction in which students are asked to engage in the learning process. UNC Charlotte, starting in fall 2013, invested funding to create two active learning classrooms as part of Kennedy Building renovations. Courses taught in the rooms focus on hands-on learning; student teams often engage in collaborative projects that promote problem solving.

“UNC Charlotte was chosen because of a demonstrated commitment to active learning,” said Craig Wilson, Steelcase Education director of market development.  “Research shows that space impacts behavior, and these classrooms will help a new group of professors and students explore the learning possibilities an interactive space can bring.”

UNC Charlotte was one of seven colleges and universities awarded a grant from Steelcase Education’s ALC program; five grants were awarded to K-12 schools.

The University’s grant-writing team of Pilar Zuber, Public Health Sciences Department; Jules Keith-Le and Heather McCullough, Center for Teaching and Learning; Rich Preville, AISLE; and Mike Moore, College of Health and Human Services; excelled in its efforts to obtain the grant. According to the grant evaluators, they “knocked it out of the park on every metric.”

The grant-funded Steelcase Education learning environment is slated for installation during the summer in order for use starting with the fall 2019 semester.

In addition to the new classroom, Zuber and Keith-Le, co-principal investigators for the grant, will receive training from Steelcase on how to use the space and will have the opportunity to share insights and best practices with all awarded schools. During the two-year program, Steelcase Education and UNC Charlotte will partner to conduct assessments and research on the impact of this newly designed space.

“We are so excited to be recognized by Steelcase Education for our efforts in promoting personalized, engaged learning with our students,” said Keith-Le. “With Steelcase Education’s support, we will continue this mission and foster better collaborations between students and faculty in the classroom.”

Image: A rendering of a Steelcase active learning environment.