Learning at the Crossroads

WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MEDICINE is known for providing a collaborative, collegial atmosphere for learning. Beginning in August 2005, the school enhanced this atmosphere with the addition of a new centralized, dedicated teaching facility. Called the Farrell Learning and Teaching Center, the building, for the first time, creates a "hearth" for learning that both students and teachers can call home.

Located at the heart of the medical center, the striking six-story structure serves as the main venue for teaching and events at the school. The official grand opening was held on September 16, 2005.

A four-story atrium sits on top of Scott Avenue, allowing pedestrian traffic between Euclid and Scott. The exterior of the North Building serves as one wall.

The facility, which will serve medical and graduate students, sits at the corner of Scott and Euclid avenues, abutting the North Building. Nearly every level houses teaching spaces, as well as hearth areas for social gathering. Level two's hearth area supports "the informal curriculum" - learning that takes place during informal discussions among students and faculty. Pedestrian walkways feed into this hearth space, providing seamless indoor foot and wheelchair traffic from one end of campus to the other. For after-hours learning, the building also includes computer rooms and study carrels.

Throughout, teaching spaces are built for flexibility and convenience. All furniture and audiovisuals in the teaching labs and small group rooms are mobile to easily meet the needs of any given class. Every teaching workstation is equipped with power and data connections. Level six initially will be shell space; adding a seventh floor is possible in the future.

"I think this project is exciting because it sends the message to both students and faculty that teaching matters here-that we care about them being in a comfortable, beautiful, highly effective learning environment," says Alison Whelan, MD, senior associate dean for education. "That's an incredibly important message."

Grand Staircase



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