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The Curry College Learning Commons

The Learning Commons

Success for Every Student

Originally published in the Spring 2020 Edition of Curry Magazine - by Michelle Adams O'Regan.

In the late 1800s, Samuel Silas Curry wrote:  “The mission of the School [is to] show you what you are. It will train you to use your power . . . It will bring you into touch with your fellow-men so that you can show them the life that stirs in you.”

Though Curry was addressing one of the School’s earliest cohorts, his inspiring words are as relevant to today’s students as they were over 130 years ago. And perhaps nowhere else on campus is that vision better exemplified than within the gleaming glass façade of the brand new Learning Commons, featuring the Science and Research Center.

The class of 2023 was the first to experience the 36,500 square foot facility as an integral part of their College experience. The building, which opened in phases throughout 2019, provides extensive collaborative space and centralized academic and student support services, not to mention state-of-the-art labs, learning tools and resources...and a Starbucks®. With an emphasis on collaboration and student success, the Learning Commons is designed to ensure that today’s Curry students live out their founder’s mission on a campus that supports them.

The building was conceived as part of the College’s current Strategic Plan, Vision in Action: A Focus on Student and Institutional Success, to develop campus facilities aligned with the College’s mission.

According to Edutopia, the educational foundation created by innovative and award-winning filmmaker George Lucas, a learning commons is conceptually a physical learning hub for the academic community, spatially designed to encourage teachers and students to collaborate, communicate, and share. Students interact with content, technology, the space, and each other; all learning styles and levels are accommodated; and the maximization of potential is a defining feature...just as Samuel Silas Curry envisioned for Curry College itself.

The planning process, which took place over the course of two years, drew on feedback and collaboration with the entire community, including faculty, staff, members of the Board of Trustees, and especially students. At the opening of the second phase of the facility in the fall of 2019, President Kenneth K. Quigley, Jr. thanked students for their involvement, saying “it was the students who understood the need and drove the vision for The Learning Commons as a place where learning and research have the space and tools to grow. Their contributions added incalculable value to what this building will provide for them, and for Curry students for generations to come.”

Photo Gallery: Learning Commons Ribbon-Cutting and Opening

Watch: Demonstration of the New Anatomage Dissection Table

Phase One

On January 28, 2019, the facility opened in its first phase, encompassing a rebuild of the Science and Research Center building, originally opened on the Academic Quad in 1968. In the redesigned facility, Chemistry, Physics, and Biology labs are designed to take student experimentation and research to a new level. Along with an enhanced classroom experience, science students now have the advantage of more meaningful one-on-one and small group interactions with faculty members for research projects, preparing them for real-world settings. These new spaces also come with the tools to support this learning, including the latest in laboratory and data analysis equipment. Curry’s strategic forward focus on the sciences was the key driving force in the development of this new facility.

This phase included:

  • Active Learning Classrooms
  • Advising and Academic Success offices
  • Student Collaboration and 24/7 Study Space
  • New science labs for:
    • Physics
    • Introductory and Organic Chemistry
    • Biology and Chemistry Research

Phase Two

On September 4, 2019, the Learning Commons opened in its second phase, with a new addition to the original building, including an elevated and enclosed walkway to Louis R. Levin Memorial Library.

This phase included:

  • The Learning Commons Café (serving Starbucks® coffee products)
  • The Quantitative Commons to support curricular and co-curricular programming in math, statistics, and quantitative reasoning
  • Seminar rooms
  • The Writing Center, Speaking Center, Academic Enrichment Center, and Study Away Programs
  • Math, Science, and Peer Tutoring
  • Assistive Technology Lab
  • Disability Services
  • Faculty offices
  • Additional Student Collaboration and 24/7 Study Space
  • New science labs for:
    • Anatomy and Physiology
    • Microbiology
    • Cell and Molecular Biology