Today was the ribbon-cutting for the Center for Creative Instruction, which we carved out of library space, central and prominent, with staff and resources pulled from the libraries, computing, the faculty, and the Provost’s office. I’ve been working on this one, actively, since 2011. It was a long, slow climb… but we made it. And I am so proud.
For four years, from 2009 to 2012, I served as the co-chair of the Teaching and Learning with Technology Roundtable. I was the co-chair because the Libraries have always been strong technology partners on this campus, but I became invested in the work of the TLTR because I saw the real needs our faculty were advocating for. Working with so many tireless faculty and staff – Ray Bowdish, Mike Rygel, Romeyn Prescott, Nancy Alzo, Steve Major, Don Straight, Andy Harradine, Peter McCoy – I helped draft several plans, all of which argued vigorously for our need to effectively support faculty in exploring new tools, new pedagogical approaches, and new ways to teach their areas of expertise.
And finally, here we are. We say it a lot: the library is at the heart of our campus. A thousand students a day walk through these doors to get coffee, study, do research, and visit with friends. It’s a lively spot, and is the heart of our casual academic space, focused on providing student supports for learning technology skills, information skills, and research skills – the underpinnings of successful academic work in the modern university.
This library, though, should not be just for students. Faculty also need casual academic space that’s designed to meet their needs, and they also need the kinds of support resources we give to students without a second thought. It is both unrealistic and lacking in compassion to believe that in this ever-changing world our deeply busy faculty will learn, unsupported, the kinds of skills we spend constant, unrelenting energy teaching to students.
And so it is my privilege and my honor to be here for the grand opening of a Center that so many have spent years fighting for. The College Libraries have dedicated ourselves to helping our students transform their skills and understanding of information and technology, because that helps them be the fully realized people we see when we envision the Potsdam Graduate. I hope that the CCI, here, at the heart of the campus, can help our faculty realize their own unique visions of themselves as engaged teachers and scholars. Congratulations to us all!