Among many other changes, including the new Tykeson Hall and demolition of Hayward Field, University of Oregon students can expect to a new lab in the Knight Library for faculty, graduate educators and students doing research projects and pedagogical work.
Although the Academic Design and Innovation Lab will be open for use by faculty and students at the start of fall term, it will not be fully complete until later in the term. Over the long term, the space will adapt to fit the needs of different programs, faculty and GE researchers, said Helen Chu, the associate dean of the Libraries.
“The idea behind the space is really about bringing together the research and instructional missions of the university in a very specific way,” Chu said. “We want to be able to support our faculty, scholars and our instructors and GEs to really integrate research into their teaching at a very nuts-and-bolts level.”
UO Capital Construction, in collaboration with the UO Libraries, Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art and Central Information Services, designed the ADI Lab to be a place “where digital scholarship meets collaboration and technology meets sophistication,” according to the UO Libraries website. The project was funded entirely by an anonymous donor.
The lab will be a place where GEs and faculty can collaborate with each other and connect with experts in certain fields, and Chu described teaching and research in the digital age as something that is “becoming a team sport.”
The space is divided into three main sections: an event or workshop space with 32 seats, a collaboration space with a sofa and bar-height seating and two private consultation rooms. Chu said faculty and GEs will be able to reserve the consultation rooms and event spaces, whereas the collaboration area will be more casual.
“We wanted it to be an inspirational space,” Chu said.
The lab features a variety of comfortable seating, writable surfaces and artwork. Chu said that according to research she has read, students tend to study better in libraries.
“Your physical environment really encourages a certain type of work and focus,” she said.
Franny Gaede, the head of Digital Scholarship Services, said she wanted the space to be flexible. Most furniture and equipment in the lab is mobile and there are outlets and hardwired data connections throughout the lab to make accessing datasets easy.
Gaede said the lab is designed for researchers to bring their own computers and devices, which she described as “empowering.”
“You don’t need a special tool or special technique, it’s what you already have,” Gaede said.
Although there are few desktop computers in the lab, there are multiple high-resolution screens for viewing things like art, manuscripts or data visualizations. Videoconferencing technology is available throughout the lab as well, in addition to a camera in the event space to broadcast events and workshops for people who can’t attend in person.
In addition to the lab, which will likely have a new name come fall term, students will have access to BrowZine, a website that graphically organizes scholarly articles and journals, making it easier to find things in your field, Chu said. The library also has a new LibrarySearch Interface to search for items in the library’s catalogue.
“It really is about bringing together multiple units in the library to be able to bring together research and pedagogy and provide more holistic support for faculty and their GEs and the students that they work with,” Chu said.