On Tuesday, May 15 at Xavier University, LOTH, Inc. proudly partnered with Steelcase Education, Xavier University and GC3 to host a half-day educational workshop titled “Rethinking Teaching and Learning: A Collaborative Approach”. Over 90 people from eleven Higher Education institutions in Greater Cincinnati participated in the workshop. A cross-section of attendees ranged in roles such as: President, Dean, Provost, Director, Librarian, Facilities, Design, IT, and Instructor.Schools in attendance included: University of Cincinnati, Miami University, Xavier University, Cincinnati State University, Mount St. Joseph University, Art Academy of Cincinnati, Cincinnati Christian University, Northern Kentucky University, Thomas More College, Christ College of Nursing and Gateway Community and Technical College.

The innovative and interactive workshop featured experts from Steelcase Education that shared research and discussed how to improve learning and teaching by planning for new or renovating current learning spaces.

“It was wonderful to have a forum in which leaders in higher education from across the region came together to engage in a variety of thought-provoking workshops. Discussions centered around the how the built environment can increase student success and the significance each stakeholder can play in the process.”

Adam Kocher
Vice President of Sales, LOTH

Education Event Part 1

The workshop began with a general session introduced by professor Jeff Klemens from Thomas Jefferson University. He provided an overview of the process used to update campus learning spaces. Jeff also conducted a “Meet the Stakeholders” activity. This scenario-based role-playing game, engaged early in the process of stakeholder involvement, serves as an ice-breaker and provides an opportunity to explore multiple stakeholders’ viewpoints, concerns, and agendas throughout the process of a campus’ learning space initiative.

Education Event Pt2

Attendees were next given the option of two breakout sessions to continue their discoveries. Kathy Waterman and Malena Montoya, Steelcase Application Specialists, led a group exercise that looked at designing active learning spaces both inside and outside of the classroom, including spaces where students collaborate and study. These classroom designs rethink  “the box” and move away from the traditional setting of rows of fixed tablet chairs and a lectern. Participants utilized a creative, new hands-on design tool to create learning spaces that can easily morph from lecture mode to teamwork to group presentation, discussion and back again.

Mark DeNapoli, Director of Steelcase Sales Operations, led a group activity in which participants identified the key skillsets that future employers desire students to have upon entering the workforce. He also introduced the Learning Environment Evaluation Tool used by Steelcase with learning institutions that measures the effectiveness of changes made to learning spaces  to drive student success. This tool collects data from pre-and-post installation surveys gathered from students and faculty including a summary report.

Marisa Sergnese, Steelcase Leader of Training Initiatives, was the speaker for the event’s lunch portion and facilitated an Active Learning Ecosystem Workshop. This workshop explored the impact of active learning on formal learning spaces and helps learning institutions define a direction for moving forward. A cross-functional team from each institution in attendance identified opportunities to increase active learning though pedagogy, technology and space. Together they explored challenges and opportunities in transitioning from the traditional classroom environment to more active learning spaces.

“Rethinking Teaching and Learning Spaces: A Collaborative Approach exemplifies collaboration on many levels. First, it shows the impact business and higher education can have when they work together to  achieve a goal, in this case how something as simple as ways seating can affect how a teacher teaches and a student learns. Secondly, it brought together the various stakeholders throughout the college or university allowing them to work cooperatively to discuss space issues. Attendees left with the ability to improve teaching and learning in their classroom, college, or university and an understanding how important it is to involve all stakeholders from the start.”

Co-host Janet R. Piccirillo
Executive Director, GC3

LOTH, Inc., Steelcase Education, Xavier University and GC3 extend their gratitude to all that attended this event and looks forward to utilizing the valuable insights gained from the variety of voices that were heard. LOTH will be following up the event with visits to educational institutions that requested further interest in the suggested topics: Active Learning Classroom Test Drive, Active Learning Ecosystem Workshop, Learning Evaluation Measurement Tool, and Research Topics (Gen Z, Biophilia, Faculty Spaces, Maker Spaces, Blended Learning, etc.).

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