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Taylor Institute opens after two-year construction period

By Scott Strasser, April 25 2016 —

After a two-year construction period, the Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning (TITL) opened on April 18.

Around 200 community members gathered at the University of Calgary’s newest building for its unveiling. Don and Ruth Taylor, who provided the $40 million to fund the institute’s creation, cut the ribbon alongside U of C president Elizabeth Cannon and Alberta’s Minister for Advanced Education Marlin Schmidt.

“This is a truly transformational day for our university,” Cannon said in her remarks. “We are extremely grateful to Don and Ruth Taylor and their family for the tremendous support to our students, our faculty and our university.”

The TITL was built on the foundations of the old Nickle Galleries, which were demolished to make room for the institute in 2013. The building includes a large staircase, a reflection loft, an atrium, breakout rooms, touch screens and the 370-seat amphitheatre.

TITL academic director Nancy Chick said the building will host U of C courses in customizable classrooms called “learning studios.” The rooms are built with wheels on all the furniture and connectible touch screens at each table.

Professors who wish to teach in the learning studios will have to fill out an application to show they have viable research-based reasons for teaching there.

“It doesn’t have to be a full-fledged research project,” Chick said. “It could also be as small as wanting to teach a class there to see what it’s like to teach 150 students in a space that’s not a traditional lecture hall, but instead a bunch of round tables and where there’s no front of the room. What will that do to a large lecture-sized class?”

Incoming Students’ Union president Stephan Guscott hopes the building will have a positive impact on students.

“The benefits and impacts to come will become a lot clearer to us as students as these types of initiatives start rolling out,” Guscott said.

Chick said the TITL could start hosting classes in the fall semester.

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