GETTYSBURG – The Learning Commons at HACC’s Gettysburg Campus – a dynamic new partnership between the library, academic support, career services and information technology departments – recently won an Innovation of the Year Award, given by the League for Innovation, an international organization serving community colleges.
The award recognizes faculty, staff, and administrators at member colleges who have designed and implemented a significant innovation and is given based on quality, efficiency, cost effectiveness, ease of replication at other institutions and creativity. The Learning Commons won in the category for Learning and Teaching.
Recognized for their contribution to the planning and/or implementing of the Learning Commons were Scott Decker, campus director for technical support; Beth Evitts, campus library director; and Leslie Boon, campus director of academic success. They have been selected to make a presentation, “A Small Campus Learning Commons: One Stop for Academic Support,” in February at the league’s Innovations 2011 conference in San Diego.
The Learning Commons blends departments that are not otherwise connected within the college and leads to unique opportunities for serving students, staff, and faculty. It features an open space with comfortable seating, reference services, computer and technology access and academic support services, all seamlessly integrated as the heart of the campus.
“Student response to the Learning Commons has been overwhelmingly positive,” said Jennifer Weaver, campus vice president of HACC’s Gettysburg Campus. “The computer stations, study rooms, reading lounge and group seating spaces are occupied with engaged students during almost all open hours.”
Student usage of the departments now housed in the Learning Commons has increased significantly since integrating into one hub of activity. This is the first such common area at any HACC campus and may be replicated at other campuses.
“Students who need to know anything about the campus tend to come to us first. That certainly ties into our philosophy that we are about meeting the students’ needs,” Evitts said.