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History meets high-tech

Above

Nursing instructor Joe Degitz ’97 MSN ’09 uses an interactive projection system controlled by an iPad to teach class in Westlake Hall’s fully wired 100-seat auditorium.

Online Extra

View six videos featuring Westlake Hall: a time-lapse video and photographs of the construction of the Westlake expansion; films about the clock faces and the copper dome of Westlake clock tower; a video featuring the placement of the final beam during construction; a historic look at Bradley’s Horology School located in what is now Westlake Hall; and a video from the dedication ceremony.

A facility for the future

Building Facts:

  • New Westlake Hall: 84,591 square feet
  • Original building: 13,386 square feet
  • Cost of renovation/expansion: $24 million
  • Built to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold Certification standards

Academic Details:

  • 16 teaching spaces: classes, labs and auditoriums
  • 8 student study areas
  • 5 counseling suites with observation rooms and electronic recording systems
  • Teaching resource center
  • 135-seat professional development center

Technology in use:

  • 100-seat auditorium with wireless internet and power available for each student
  • 17 mediated classrooms with iPad-touch panels
  • 13 classrooms with advanced Smartboard technology
  • 13 classrooms for faculty to record audio and video for after-class review by students
  • 5 student lounges with LED displays to promote group collaboration and presentation review
  • 4 miles of cable for audio and video sharing
  • Lecture streaming resources linked throughout the campus

Home to:

  • College of Education and Health Sciences
  • Department of Leadership in Education, Human Services and Counseling
  • Department of Teacher Education
  • Center for STEM Education
  • Center for Collaborative Brain Research
  • Institute for Principled Leadership in Public Service
  • Robert and Carolyn Turner School of Entrepreneurship and Innovation

History:

  • Constructed in 1897
  • Architect of original building: Henry Ives Cobb
  • Only building in U.S. constructed solely as a horology school
  • 1946: Name changed from Horology Hall to Westlake Hall, in honor of Allen T. Westlake, dean of the School of Horology
  • 1961: Westlake became home of the College of Education

By Jacqueline Kelly

Melding 19th century architecture with 21st century technology, Bradley’s renovated and expanded Westlake Hall offers a state-of-the art, collaborative learning experience for students and faculty.

In Dr. Jean Marie Grant’s class, students use clickers, iPads, Smart boards, interactive calculators and blogs every day.

But Dr. Grant doesn’t teach a technology course. Rather, she leads a teacher education class designed to prepare her students to teach math. “There’s so much technology out there,” Dr. Grant says. “The class lets students invest in technology for themselves, and then they own it.”

A TI-Nspire graphing calculator, for example, features a colored screen and allows students to upload 3D photos and graph equations, which can then be transferred to computers. Clickers enable students to submit survey answers and then see them charted in real time.

Dr. Grant has always advocated greater use of technology, and the renovation and expansion of Westlake Hall has allowed her to continue to adopt the latest developments in the field of education to her classroom.

Westlake transformation

The second oldest building on Bradley’s campus is now one of the most high-tech, thanks to a $24 million renovation that expanded Westlake Hall to six times its original size. The 84,591-square-foot facility is now a center of collaborative and project-based learning in classrooms, laboratories and study areas.

“The whole idea of the project was to make Westlake a very friendly learning environment for students and faculty,” says Dr. Joan L. Sattler, dean of the College of Education and Health Sciences.

The renovation maintained the integrity of the 1897 building, the only facility in the nation built solely as a horology school. Westlake has been updated to help students meet the technological challenges that await them in their fields, while also being energy efficient.

The new Westlake Hall was designed to achieve gold LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification, a standard of high performance in sustainable site development, water and energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality. For example, the hallway floors in Westlake are made of energy-efficient bamboo and scores of bamboo stalks live in the four-floor indoor atrium.

“The bamboo in the atrium is part of it; it’s a healthy thing,” Dr. Sattler says. “Westlake is a great place to think, work and learn.”

The Campaign for a Bradley Renaissance, the University’s largest fundraising campaign at $161 million, supported the building project.

Modern technology

In the new Westlake Hall, Smart boards and projectors are available for student use in each room. Wireless technology and numerous electrical outlets are available in the auditorium, classrooms and hallways, so students can easily use laptops or tablets. Computer labs allow students to plug their laptops into ports and project their assignments onto a larger monitor in the center of computer desks.

“We want to mirror the technology you see in society,” says Dr. Dean Cantu, chair of the Department of Teacher Education. “We really broke down the walls. It’s a ubiquitous technology environment that emphasizes collaborative learning. Learning doesn’t stop with the classroom. We want to try to emphasize that, and it starts with the environment we create.”

The new technology and resources will not only prepare students to tackle their student teaching and clinical placements, it will also help them step seamlessly into the workforce.

In teacher education courses, for example, students work with technology they’ll use in modern classrooms. “Our students make an immediate impact,” Dr. Cantu says. “They are going out armed with the knowledge and skill sets they need to be effective in the classroom.”

The facility is set up so that students can work and brainstorm together, even when they’re not in class. Large flat-screen TVs in student lounges and on various levels of the building allow students to fine-tune and practice their presentations. Special wall coverings permit students to brainstorm and write on “idea walls” with dry-erase markers. Floor-to-ceiling corkboard walls give students a place to work out problems or post messages.

“We teach students to be leaders and innovators because they’re going to need to be innovators in the world,” Dr. Sattler says. “We want them to be entrepreneurs in the classroom, or in physical therapy or in counseling labs because things are changing all the time. We need to be collaborative in our problem-solving. We need to work efficiently with others and solve problems.”

Faculty members were instrumental in designing each classroom to meet their needs. The math classroom has clover-shaped tables that bring students close to the table surface as they work with math manipulatives. The assistive technology lab caters to students with disabilities and has technology wired into the walls for those with hearing impairments.

Students can use dry-erase markers on writable surfaces such as tabletops and walls in Westlake Hall’s eight collaboration spaces. Technology allows students to videotape their presentations and display them on wall monitors.

“They took everything they knew from their research and put it in the rooms — things like furniture, tables, surface, storage, safety features and water stations,” Dr. Cantu says of the faculty and architects. “We counted on the faculty in their areas of expertise.”

The college also offers students a teacher resource center. There, students find the space and products they need to create projects and instructional materials for their novice or student teaching experiences and other clinical practicums.

“Students have a place to try things out and utilize equipment before they actually teach lessons. They didn’t have that before,” Dr. Cantu says.

Each classroom has a camera and microphone to record teaching lessons. Students can use those videos to critique their performances and make adjustments before they head into a classroom with students. The videos are stored digitally and can be used for teacher certification portfolios.

Students in special education courses now have access to assistive technology devices that will prepare them to deliver those services in their classrooms, says Dr. Hwa Lee, professor of education.

An assistive technology lab has technology devices that aid in reading, writing and math, as well as hearing, learning and computer access for daily living. Dr. Lee was one of several faculty members who made recommendations about infrastructure and accessibility features for the lab, which has acoustic panels and dim-glare control lighting. Chairs and desks are also accessible for those in wheelchairs.

The room will ensure that teacher candidates are provide with the most current technology to best serve their future students.

“The faculty continue to identify, add, update and organize the materials in the room,” says Dr. Lee, who is working to find assistive technology devices that benefit students with Down syndrome.

For counseling students, therapy rooms are equipped with cameras and microphones that record sessions with clients and upload them to a server. Counseling students and professors can review the video files, noting areas of strengths and those needing improvements.

A computer lab offers individual and group workspaces and wall-mounted monitors on Westlake’s lower level. Smart board technology promotes an interactive learning environment for instructors and students.

“It will help the whole supervision and learning process for the student,” says Dr. Chris Rybak, chair of the department of Leadership in Education, Human Services and Counseling. “They can assess how they’re doing and what they’re doing well and build on it.”

Each therapy room also has a one-way mirror that allows for real-time observation of counseling sessions. Students can practice role-playing, while classmates or supervisors watch from another room. “We can watch and eventually make suggestions to the student about how to handle something or approach a situation,” Dr. Rybak says.

The rooms are particularly helpful for student interns who currently work with the local nonprofit Central Illinois Agency on Aging. Caregivers of the elderly and grandparents raising grandchildren can meet with interns and receive counseling in private, comfortable rooms that overlook the grassy quad or Westlake’s atrium. Two group therapy rooms are sized for larger counseling sessions, and an area for children encourages play therapy with various items, like toys or sand.

“This facility was designed for 21st century learning,” Dr. Sattler says. “Students in the College of Education and Health Sciences now have a state-of-the-art academic building that is fully conducive to project-based learning and collaboration across disciplines. Equipped with advanced technology, the new Westlake Hall will enhance our students’ critical thinking and creativity to be effective leaders in their fields.”

The expanded Westlake Hall opened in the summer of 2012.