This summer the College’s classrooms will get a new lease of life, as funding is targeted at raising the quality of dozens of spaces across campuses.
The investment of £2.5million are already underway and will conclude in mid-September, in time for the new academic year. A further round of improvements to larger spaces, such as lecture theatres, is planned for summer 2019.
"We are excited to see these spaces brought up to the standard that reflects the world class teaching students enjoy here at Imperial.” Chippy Compton, outgoing President of the Imperial College Union
The College’s Vice-Provost for Education Professor Simone Buitendijk, said: “There is an urgent need to improve a number of our teaching spaces. Too many fall short of reasonable expectations, resulting in understandable dissatisfaction from both staff and students.
“This investment is a key part of the College’s plan to work with students and staff to discover what impacts their daily lives, and what barriers we can remove to make sure they are able to their achieve their goals.”
The College’s vision for learning and teaching spaces sets out a need for more shared and innovative learning spaces, used intensively, that students and staff want to use together. The type of spaces needed in order to deliver evidence-based teaching in a suitable setting include:
- Flexible/flat floor teaching spaces
- Lecture theatres which support interactive teaching
- Multi-disciplinary, flexible teachings labs
- Project, breakout and study spaces
- Social spaces
Improvements across campuses
Teaching spaces across the South Kensington and Charing Cross campuses will be first to be redesigned, re-purposed and refreshed.
Joel Pendwarden, of the architect practice PendwardenHale, developed his brief by carrying out 52 initial scoping visits with academics, department managers, and student representatives.
Dr Roberto Trotta, Director of the Centre for Languages, Culture and Communication (CLCC), said: "This very welcome refurbishment will transform CLCC's language labs by providing us with state-of-the-art IT facilities and flexible teaching space, which will revolutionise the way we teach.
“We also look forward to being able to take advantage of the many improvements to other teaching spaces across the College. This will help deliver our flagship programme, Imperial Horizons, which now enrolls over 4500 students per year, and will no doubt be appreciated by students from every department in College".
Working in partnership with students
Departing President of Imperial College Union, Alex Chippy Compton, said: “The Union is glad to see the College acknowledging the importance of appropriate teaching space. Through the utilisation of the Union’s Academic Representation Network to identify spaces in most need of improvement, the College has demonstrated its commitment to working with students as partners. We are excited to see these spaces brought up to the standard that reflects the world class teaching students enjoy here at Imperial.”
Outgoing President of Imperial College School of Medicine Students’ Union, Rhys Smith, said: "Previously our spaces have felt run down and in desperate need of modernising. With the work that will be undertaken we will now have flexible learning spaces that can be used for any type of teaching, where students will actually want to go and study, and have the spaces to match the world leading standard of education we are able to provide."
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