D'Youville has been awarded a Steelcase Active Learning Center grant which will transform space at the intersection of D'Youville and Leonardo da Vinci High School PS 212 into a living laboratory to support learning strategies that promote engagement, creativity and collaboration, while helping researchers better understand processes of active learning.
Leonard da Vinci High School is located in Madonna Hall on the D'Youville campus, at Porter and Fargo avenues. D'Youville and da Vinci have collaborated on a number of partnerships, including one that allows Buffalo Public School students to earn college credits while still in high school.
The educational arm of Steelcase, manufacturer of office furniture and architectural and technology products, awarded one of its competitive Active Learning Center grants to a team led by Dr. Leah MacVie, director of D'Youville's Institute for Teaching Innovation. Out of more than 1,000 proposals submitted, the partnership between D'Youville and Buffalo Public Schools was one of only 12 education institutions across the nation and Canada to receive the funding. Additionally, the partnership was the first accepted application from New York state since Steelcase began awarding funding in 2015.
"The state-of-the art center will support evidence-based educational practices which focus on the 21st-century skills of communication and collaboration," said D'Youville President Lorrie Clemo, Ph.D. "The center will also help the broader educational community better understand the effectiveness of new and innovative techniques for teaching active learning pedagogy to instructors. More specifically, D'Youville will be focusing on the development of a unique simulation-based teacher professional development.
"However, our more deeply rooted objective is to build a highly functioning learning and training ecosystem capable of connecting high school students through college and into areas of critical workforce demand, particularly within the health care sector which D'Youville is recognized for regionally and nationally."
The ALC will be located in a busy ground level space, that is transparent to the high school lobby and the corridor connecting the two institutions. The location was strategically selected in order to cultivate a showcase for modeling exemplary social, cognitive and behavioral aspects of active classroom teaching and learning across institutions.
"I thank D'Youville President Dr. Lorrie Clemo for proactively seeking the Steelcase Active Learning Center grant," said Buffalo Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Kriner Cash. "The ALC's learning laboratory setting will allow our teachers to finetune practical engagement for Leonardo da Vinci students in the health sciences and give deeper insight to D'Youville educators in shaping effective pedagogy. We would love to see our partnership with D'Youville College expand to even more BPS schools."
From the students' perspective, the ALC will provide new opportunities for community building through intertwined teaching and learning experiences. Additionally, the central and transparent classroom design will provide the high school students an unparalleled vantage into what future possibilities exist as they navigate the challenging transition toward higher education environments.
From the instructional and administrative perspectives, the ALC will provide a communal space for stimulating professional learning communities and be a home for continuing education courses, programs and seminars. These activities all aim to transfer rigorous educational curriculum and pedagogy from D'Youville to the Buffalo Public School District.
The project will also provide opportunities for Leonardo da Vinci High School students to be observed by D'Youville and affiliated higher education partners in ways that support reflection upon the important questions of, "Who are the future students of higher education?" and, "How can we build more efficient ecosystems fulfilling critical workforce demands?"
"This project will further connect the D'Youville College and Leonardo da Vinci High School academic communities and contribute to the college's objective to develop a comprehensive pipeline that helps meet workforce demands in the health care sector. Steelcase Education is excited to partner with D'Youville to create a space that supports this mission," said Craig Wilson, Steelcase Education director of market development.
The purpose of the grant is to improve the field of education by developing more effective, rewarding and inspiring learning environments. The Steelcase Active Learning Center will be constructed in the summer of 2019. Following completion, research will be jointly conducted with Steelcase for two years.