Ann Tillery

After a decade of planning, the College of Education is getting a new home. The $9.5 million building unifies the majority of the College of Education into one central location that is easily accessible to students and faculty alike. The new building incorporates state-of-the-art technology to pave the way for the future of education.

In 1905 the primary mission of the Nebraska State Normal School at Kearney was teaching. That credo became even more noticeable during the institution?s name change in the 1920s to Nebraska State Teachers College at Kearney. Then, all teacher education faculty were housed in one building. Currently, faculty and staff in the College of Education are housed in five different buildings.

In 1988, the need for a College of Education building was addressed, but was tabled because of the economy in 1991. In 1995, the College of Education identified three strategic themes: diversity, technology, and democracy. Those priorities were then incorporated into the plans for the new building which was funded by the legislature in May 1999.

“We see technology not as an end but as a vehicle to providing enhanced education. The focus is on faculty and students using technology, not on the technology itself,” Marilyn Hadley, dean of the College of Education, said.

On May 9, the building will be officially dedicated with the first classes scheduled for May 20. The building will house faculty in the departments of Counseling and School Psychology, Communication Disorders, Educational Administration and Teacher Education. The Health, Physical Education and Recreation department will not be housed in the new building.

The new building brings together students and staff in a new way, connected in and outside the classroom by the information superhighway.

“Today teachers can no longer be an island unto themselves,” Marlene Kuskie, associate dean of the College of Education, said. “The building and new curriculum are planned around technology and interaction. It is the wave of the future.” Faculty offices are spread between two wings in the new building and are not grouped by department to encourage interdisciplinary interaction. To bring cohesion to the department, the new building is near Cushing Colesium, which houses the fifth department, Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Leisure Studies.

A major part of the plan for the future is technology. The faculty will use high-tech devices to teach their students and the students use the technology in their classes, homework, and in preparation for their future classrooms.

Technology is used in every area of the new building. The distance learning center will be equipped with fiber, satellite and IP capabilities. There are two computer labs for student use, one Mac lab and the other is a PC/Windows lab.

The building is a collaboration among all areas in the College of Education. “The college is very supportive and interested in creating multidisciplinary projects. That is one of the reasons suites were not designed for the different departments,” Kuskie said. All spaces in the building were planned for flexibility and a variety of teaching configurations that will enhance optimum usage and modeling of teaching/learning.

In addition to the clinic practicum spaces, there are four video supervision rooms which allow five to six students per room the opportunity to view activities in the 17 clinical rooms.

Six large classrooms are equipped with electronic teaching stations, wireless computer capabilities and the potential for computer assisted teaching. Dataport areas on the second floor allow students to attach their laptops and interact with other students and teachers.

Incorporation of technology into education is the “way of education in the future,” according to Kuskie.