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Published March 3, 2016
For students and faculty in the School of Public Health and Health Professions (SPHHP), new technologically-enhanced student learning spaces in Kimball Tower 102 & 103 are now open and ready to book online.
The renovation project is a result of a student survey initiated by Jean Wactawski-Wende, Dean of UB’s School of Public Health and Health Professions. The goal of the survey was to identify ways to improve the student experience.
The student survey was created by Keith Conroy, Director of IT Services for the School of Public Health and Health Professions. “We were looking for their feedback. What do they like about being here, especially this building?” Keith said. The SPHHP Student Experience survey was administered during Spring 2015 using Survey Monkey with responses from 246 students.
"The survey showed that students weren’t happy with the facilities in Kimball Tower," Keith stated. He had already observed that many students would only come into Kimball Tower for classes and leave immediately after. It was clear there was a lack of essential resources to attract students.
"The students that did stay here were often outside classrooms sitting on the floor in the hallways," Keith added. "We didn’t have things set up well." As a result, Dean Wactawski-Wende approved the changes to be made to Kimball Tower.
The two new learning rooms are similar, but arranged for different purposes. Each room has a conference table and chairs that can be used for group meetings. Kimball 102 has a couch and chairs for quiet learning sessions and may be used by both students and faculty. Kimball 103 is for students only and has an easy-to-use digital display screen that allows for collaboration on group projects.
Keith believes cutting-edge technology like this will be attractive to students. "Four devices can connect at the same time into four separate quads on the display," Keith said, while demonstrating how to easily connect a personal tablet to the screen.
The learning rooms opened at the end of the Fall 2015 semester and have already been popular with students. "Every time I’ve peeked my head into the rooms there have been students working with the display up and laptops going." Keith said.
Renovating these two rooms is just one of several projects completed with the goal of improving the student experience on South Campus. As of January 2016, Kimball Tower’s basement is undergoing construction to convert a storage area to a student learning workspace. Keith believes that these changes will help make UB South Campus a much more student-friendly place.
"This is one of a few projects we’ve started and it’s all about student needs. It’s exciting, we’re pushing to give students a better experience in our school," he said.
Both student learning spaces will be open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays. Reservations are required by noon the day before, or by Friday at noon if the weekend is requested. Students are allowed to schedule up to two hours per session.
To request either learning spaces, fill out the online form to schedule a room reservation.