With an ever-expanding campus that has outgrown its various academic homes, class space can be difficult to come by. Whether the course requires a certain space with computers or studios or labs or a standard room, limited space has caused some interesting, if not inconvenient, class times.
“There are moments during the day – and evening – when much of the classroom space is utilized because a lot of faculty want ideal hours to teach,” said John Turner, Professor in the Communications department.
He describes the dilemma surrounding class time versatility as a student-driven predicament. “Ideal” teaching hours are those that appeal to students, usually from around 10-3. So finding more classroom space at those ideal times has caused some interesting class locations, and creating new spaces that can fully accommodate a variety of classes has been a priority of the Julia Rogers’ renovation process.
“When we did the initial academic study, it showed that we probably have a deficit of 80,000 square feet for academic space,” said Linda Barone, Goucher’s Project Manager of Facilities. “[The renovation] will take care of about two-thirds of that. Long-term, there are still needs out there, but we feel like this really gets us a long way into helping all of that.”
The difficulty that comes with the lack of space seems to resemble a competition. Bill U’Ren, one of Goucher’s Writing Fellows, teaches creative writing workshop classes. Because the classes are typically much longer than normal lectures, he opts for night classes once a week.
“Even at night, classroom space is at a premium,” said U’Ren. “When Julia Rogers is done, I think students will be happy. I know I will.”
With the completion of the Julia Rogers renovation next fall, those obscure class times should become fewer and further between.
“We’re going to have a lot more classrooms, which will give a lot more flexibility to when classes can be happening,” said Barone.
Micah Webster, Professor of Mathematics and Computer Sciences, expressed anticipation for the improved class space as well. With a number of his courses requiring a computer lab, Webster has truly experienced the difficulty of scheduling them.
“When students notice how classrooms are going to be nicer, that there’s going to be more of them, and that the technology will match up with what faculty needs, it’s going to make a great impact,” said Webster.
The quality of the new class spaces provides another huge plus for the entire Goucher community, from technological updates to new labs to special features located around the building. One such feature, in the international wing, is expected help to facilitate back from abroad gatherings or different language events.
“Up in the international wing, one of the things that we’re doing is part of the walls actually push away so that we can create a big gathering space, and the space can be used as classroom space on a normal basis,” said Barone.
Turner described another great feature to help accommodate the increased use of media screenings that have become integral parts of several Goucher courses. The room will provide a great space for viewers as well as a darker atmosphere that won’t disrupt image quality like some of Goucher’s viewing spaces do now.
Between the number and the improved quality of classrooms, students will be able to feel the impact of the Julia Rogers’ renovation by the time classes begin next fall.