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Wilmeth Active Learning Center


Writer(s): Steve Scherer

Wilmeth Active Learning Center (WALC) is on schedule to open August 2017, and several Chemistry faculty members recently took a tour of the building’s active-learning classrooms where they will be teaching in the fall.

The 164,000-square-foot facility, located just north of Wetherill (WTHR) where the old power plant stood, will house 27 classrooms, each incorporating one of seven different room configurations.

Professor Mary Wirth, who is teaching Analytical Chemistry I (CHM 321) plus the honors section (CHM 323), will be in a ‘BoilerUp Classroom’ where students work at 6-person wedge-shaped tables in a fan-shaped, tiered layout.

Based on Purdue’s IMPACT program, she will use a blended-lecture and flipped classroom approach, alternating between mini-lectures of 10-15 minutes and student collaborations to apply the lecture content.

“The classrooms in Wilmeth are well designed and the fixed positions of work tables will save time in switching between lecture and collaboration, making it less of a barrier to use of the IMPACT approach. The layout will make it easier for me to see everyone so that I know when a group needs help,” she explained.

Professor Peter Kissinger will teach Senior Seminar (CHM 494) in a 50-seat ‘Flexible Classroom’ where trapezoid tables are reconfigurable.

Kissinger likes that he will be able move around the room as he teaches and that the room can be reconfigured for group project presentations. “Traditional rectilinear seating doesn't allow that very much,” he said.

“The connectivity of these teaching environments can be very handy. The open, well-lit facilities tend to be more creative spaces than the dingy 1930s era arrangement. This will be fun,” he added.

The M.G. Mellon Library of Chemistry in WTHR will be moving into WALC beginning May 5, 2017 and will open August 7, 2017 as the Engineering and Science Library - combining six disciplinary libraries (Chemistry; Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences; Engineering; Life Sciences; Pharmacy, Nursing and Health Sciences; and Physics.) The Libraries faculty and staff, collections, and new technology supporting these disciplines will come together in the WALC.

Wilmeth classroom

April 2017 Chemistry tour of Wilmeth Active Learning Center classroom.

WALC group photo

Department Head Tim Zwier, General Chemistry Course Coordinator Marybeth Miller, 2017 Distinguished Alumnus Hank Foley, Karin Foley, Professor Mary Wirth, Professor Adam Wasserman, and Professor Pete Kissinger in Wilmeth Active Learning Center's main lobby. (Click on photo to enlarge.)

Wilmeth Active Learning Center photo

Architectural rendering of WALC with WTHR behind the belltower.