- The Academic Innovation Center, a new facility of classrooms and workspaces at Bryant University in Smithfield, RI, offers instructors the opportunity to apply innovative educational approaches in communal spaces intended to stand apart from the traditional university model.
- In an interview with EdSurge, School President Ron Machtley and architect Kip Ellis spoke about how the school’s faculty had been involved in the architectural process, shopping new classroom designs for years prior to construction to find the right fit with plenty of open light and transparent communal areas.
- Machtley said the facility is one of the first attempts to thread several divergent approaches to innovative classroom designs into one facility. He hopes the building will serve as a prototype for future classroom design projects at other colleges and universities.
Promoting innovation and a start-up culture on campus is a growing trend in academia, as institutions look for more ways to entice students to campus. A UK study on young students found that classroom design could impact academic performance by as much as 25%.
As such, transforming classrooms into facsimiles of Silicon Valley tech businesses is one way to promote innovation on campus, and in K-12 classrooms as well. Schools in the area plan to renovate classrooms to mirror their startup neighbors, buoyed by a $9 billion bond initiative funding school construction and renovations throughout California for the next decade.