Michigan Tech leads the way in college access and attainment by providing resources for all students. Generous, forward-thinking donors help make it happen—and the results are impressive.
New Ways to Teach and Learn
The William G. Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning opened in 2014 to support student success through the resources it provides faculty and instructors. The Center is a hub of professional development including teaching technologies, tools, best practices, and consultants. Sixty percent of Michigan Tech faculty participate in Center events—and the outreach continues to grow.
"They can walk in or make appointments to learn how to use a response system in class, record an on-demand video for students, or discover how to integrate whiteboards in an active-learning classroom," says Michael Meyer, director of the Center for Teaching and Learning.
The Center was made possible by a $1 million gift from Michigan Tech alumnus Bill Jackson, who graduated with a BS in electrical engineering
in 1958. In addition to space for faculty, the Center coordinates proctored exams for the ve percent of Tech students who require accommodated testing under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Trends indicate the Center could soon serve upwards of 15 percent of the student population. The space is also used to administer commercial exams—and allows instructors to implement computerized- and mastery-based testing.
Jackson’s gift has also funded more than 20 faculty-led blended learning projects and helped to update several classrooms. The latest remodel, slated to open in summer 2016, is a new 60-seat, active-learning classroom space. "Bill’s gift is truly transformational. He appreciates how technology enhances education and has provided us a means to meet the tremendous demand for contemporary teaching and learning models," says Meyer.
Helping Students Succeed
The Waino Wahtera Center for Student Success opened in 2013 and complements the efforts of the Jackson Center by offering resources that attract and support students. The Center plans undergraduate student orientation, coordinates four student-success courses, and helps students explore majors and work through academic challenges.
The Wahtera Center was made possible through a bequest from the estate of Waino Wahtera, who earned a BS in chemistry from Michigan Tech in 1942. The support Wahtera received during his time as a student served as inspiration for the gift.
Peer coaches schedule more than 40 weekly appointments, helping students develop time management skills, organizational habits, and study strategies. "This is a particularly successful program because students embrace the opportunity to learn from peers," says Susan Liebau, director of the Center for Student Success.
The Center, located in the Administration Building, brings dozens of resources and staff that support student success into one centralized location. "Students can accomplish so much once they’re here. Because the Center works so closely with academic advisors, the Dean of Students, and the Learning Center, we can really expedite the process for our students," says Liebau.
As students change, the resources and people who serve them evolve too. Student success will always be at the forefront of what Michigan Tech is all about.
This article was featured in the spring 2016 issue of Foresight.