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The Blue & Gray Press | October 23, 2017

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The UMW College of Education finds their home in Seacobeck

The UMW College of Education finds their home in Seacobeck

DANELLA DONADO

Staff Writer

The College of Education has recently found a new and permanent home in Seacobeck Hall. This news comes after a lot of effort by the College of Education to find a building that could be dedicated to the university’s education program.

Starting in the fall of 2019, Seacobeck Hall will officially host all classes for education instruction. The offices for College of Education faculty, as well as informal learning and event spaces where education students can hang out, study together, where the Student Education Association and the Kappa Delta Pi honor society can meet. Since the news had been announced to students in the College of Education via email during the week of Sept. 18, the responses have been more than positive.

“I’m really excited for it because COE has never had its own building, since my freshman year I’ve been running from the HCC to Trinkle to Combs for classes,” said junior English major, Amani Redic who is in the College of Education. “It’ll be really helpful when we have our own centralized location where we can all meet.”

Students in the College of Education expressed excitement over the opportunity to have their own space to work in.

“I’m really excited to have our own space where we can all gather together and have our own space to work, kind of like the HCC,” said Meagan Wilkinson, a junior Education student and the president of the Student Education Association.  “It’ll really help us continue to grow as a community of teachers and I’m really looking forward to having our own building that’s not shared with three other departments.”

Throughout the week of Sept. 18, faculty, students and alumni of the College of Education participated in focus groups to plot out the design of Seacobeck Hall. Each person involved gave their suggestions on what the new building should look like and how the classrooms should be structured. These focus groups were put together by faculty members in the College of Education and the architects involved in the project.

“We made sure to get faculty, some staff members, a student group, and an alumni group from the College of Education,” said Dean of the COE, Peter Kelly. “The idea is we want to get a lot of input from lots of different people and gather ideas about creating a new home for the College of Education.”

Earlier this month, Dean Kelly and Dr. John Broome, associate professor of the College of Education, gave a tour of the current education classrooms to a group of architects and engineers. These rooms are located in Trinkle Hall, the Hurley Convergence Center, Monroe and Combs.

During the tour, the architects asked the students what they like and do not like about the rooms where the education classes are currently held. Several students commented that they preferred the design of the classrooms in the Hurley Convergence Center than the ones in Trinkle.

“I like that the temperature in the HCC is fairly consistent and comfortable,” said Kelsey Phillips, a junior history education student. “In Trinkle the temperatures were extreme, where some rooms were hot and others were cold… the rooms are darker and with the fluorescent lights can make it harder to engage in lessons.”

Other students commented that they liked the desks in the HCC better and that the bright colors and windows helped to keep them awake during lecture. The architects will take these responses to account as they begin work renovating Seacobeck.

“When we did that tour around the Hurley Convergence Center, we wanted to see what was working and what was not working and what we could change for Seacobeck,” said Dr. Broome. “We want the students to be able to have an open space where they can collaborate, hold meetings, and study.”

One of the major goals that the College of Education faculty envision for the new building is to create classrooms that have enough space for students to have the ability to practice their teaching methods for their specific endorsement area and grade level.

“We’re looking at different configurations which make sense for different classes,” said Dr. Broome. “Some classes are more lecture based, others are more collaborative. We’re looking at different forms of flexible classrooms to be able to make it more appropriate for your endorsement area and your grade level.”

According to both Dr. Broome and Dean Kelly, the ultimate hope for the future of the College of Education is that by having this new building where students and faculty can come and work together in one space. The community between the students and faculty in the College of Education will be strengthened.

“I think the physical structure of a building has an impact on how we come together and how we work together as a group,” said Dean Kelly. “Anything we can do to elevate the teaching profession here and in the world is really important to do.”

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