Sept. 8, 2005
The Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust , of Muscatine, Iowa, has awarded Morningside College a grant of $200,000 to support the transformation of the college’s Hickman-Johnson-Furrow Learning Center, formerly known as the Hickman-Johnson-Furrow Library Center, from a book-centered location to a student-centered learning facility.
“We are very pleased to receive this grant and would like to thank the Carver Charitable Trust for supporting this project,” said Morningside President John Reynders. “We want our students to have the best educational experience possible, and the renovation of the library center will enhance residential life on our campus.”
The learning center
& café are
open to the public.
Regular hours are: Monday-Thursday,
7:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Friday,
7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday,
1 p.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday,
1 p.m. to 11 p.m.
The Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust, according to its Web site, is the “largest private philanthropic foundation in the state of Iowa with assets totaling $250 million and annual grant distributions of over $12 million” and was created through the will of the late Roy J. Carver, a Muscatine industrialist and philanthropist. Higher education is one of the program areas of greatest interest to the trust.
Morningside’s library redesign project answers one of the college’s strategic goals to be fulfilled by the year 2015, to “create a culture where the library transitions from a book-centered location to a student-centered facility and becomes a place of increased student activity, housing other services and serving as a gateway to information and a learning laboratory for information literacy.”
Accordingly, the name of the facility was recently changed to the Hickman-Johnson-Furrow Learning Center.
The college will have invested a total of $400,000 in the redesign of the facility by the fall of 2006. The first phase of the project, involving the most construction, was completed this summer, when offices for Academic Support Services were moved from Lewis Hall to the second floor of the learning center. Additionally, the summer saw the installation of the Spoonholder Café, a coffee and dessert bar; a new first-floor seating area that includes overstuffed chairs and an electric fireplace; and new open study spaces on the second and third floors.
The second phase will include the installation of additional rest rooms on the second floor and new lighting and furniture on the second and third floors.
An important and ongoing part of the project is for faculty and staff to receive training in establishing a culture of student-centered learning at the facility, according to Dr. William Deeds, vice president for Academic Affairs. Assessment tools will also be put into place to evaluate the effects of the redesign and to identify other needs.
“Our goal is to facilitate collaborative learning and support contemporary pedagogy by providing a range of choices for studying, from quiet individual spaces to group study, that embrace the social dimension of learning,” said Deeds. “We want the learning center to become a highly used space on campus that will encourage out of class interactions between faculty and students by developing a sense of community in an atmosphere which facilitates conversation and collaboration.”
The path to the library’s renovation began in 1999, when Reynders first established six task forces to review the state of the college. The task force on student life sought ways in which to integrate academic and co-curricular environments more fully, and one of their recommendations was the redesign of the library center.
In the fall of 2004, Dr. Scott Bennett, Yale University librarian emeritus, was brought to campus as a consultant to review the operations of the library in relation to the college’s goals. His report sparked the formation of two sub-committees. One was charged “to evaluate the library as a student-learning environment” and to make recommendations on the “appropriate use of space” and the second to determine which of the college’s programs would “better support student learning” by being relocated in the library center. Their recommendations formed the basis for the redesign project.
The center, which has on site more than 107,000 volumes, currently offers the campus community online access to over 15,000 full-text journals as well as to numerous subscription databases and other libraries’ catalogs and Web sites.