A brighter, more comfortable place to teach, learn

Jane Marone teaching a class

Jane Marone teaches an undergraduate anatomy and physiology in Lecture Center A1 twice a week. “The room was getting old and tired,” says Marone, clinical professor of kinesiology and nutrition. “It’s helpful because now students enjoy being there.” Photo: Joshua Clark/UIC Photo Services


When Andrew Ericson had class in Lecture Center A1 last year, he found the space uninspiring, to say the least.

“It was dingy and sort of felt like a dungeon,” said Ericson, an Honors College student who’s a senior in finance.

But when he visited the auditorium last week, he was impressed with its transformation after a major renovation over the summer. “It’s immensely better — the seating is much more comfortable and it’s a much brighter space,” he said. “To see the new space was invigorating because it’s like, ‘Wow, I’m really seeing a classroom that looks like it’s on the cutting edge.’”

Plastic orange chairs have been replaced with soft red seats. Lighting and acoustics were improved, accessible seating was added and there are more multimedia options to enhance faculty lectures.


Lecture Center A

A student takes notes in the auditorium, one of the largest on campus. Photo: Joshua Clark

Open house Monday, 5-6:30 p.m.

The campus community can see the renovated auditorium — one of the three largest classroom spaces on campus — at an open house Monday from 5 to 6:30 p.m.

“We really want it to be the premier lecture space on campus — the kind of space that can serve students and faculty, but also invited guests to campus,” said Wendy Jeanes, assistant director of the Office of Campus Learning Environments.

The acoustic paneling that lines the wall is visually pleasing, but also serves a purpose, Jeanes said. “While they offer really strong aesthetics, the panels are functional and intentional,” she said. “We want the room to foster discussion so that students can hear each other and not really need to use a microphone.”

Jane Marone, who teaches undergraduate anatomy and physiology in Lecture Center A twice a week, said she’s impressed with the transformation.

“There’s really no comparison to the old room,” said Marone, clinical professor of kinesiology and nutrition. “The sound system is great, the acoustics are much better, there are more options for lighting and there’s more stuff going on at the lectern for presentations.”

Marone and Ericson were among faculty and students who provided feedback on proposed renovations to the Office of Campus Learning Environments advisory board. “The room was getting old and tired,” Marone said. “Now students enjoy being there.”

Ericson says he feels proud when he visits the classroom space. “It’s cool to see how student input can be factored into a decision like this,” he said.

Construction took place over the summer — beginning the week after finals — so that it would be ready for the start of the semester. A variety of courses are held in the room this semester, including theatre, chemistry, biology and business.

“We have to work quickly so as not to displace students,” Jeanes said. “It’s quite astonishing what we’re able to accomplish in just a few months.”

Funding was provided by the Academic Facilities Maintenance Fund Assessment and Library and Information Technology Assessment fees, as well as the Office of Campus Learning Environments.

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