New TLC at Rock Creek offers faculty, academic staff dedicated space to better serve students, community
April 16, 2014
Story and photos by Karen Kane
Thanks to part of the $63 million invested at Rock Creek from the $374 million 2008 voter-approved bond program, faculty and academic staff at the campus now have a dedicated space for professional development, engagement and enrichment. The new Teaching Learning Center, located in Building 7, is a much-improved version of the former TLC, and is designed with improving the learning experience of both faculty and students in mind.
“Providing places and opportunities to cooperatively explore and enhance teaching and learning is important,” said Heather Mayer, incoming coordinator of the Teaching Learning Center and part-time history instructor. “The new TLC provided by the bond program gives us better capabilities to serve our faculty and the community.”
Mayer said the TLC is also open to advisers, counselors and others involved in student services. The Center is available for them to continue their professional development, discover new teaching practices, discuss hot topics in higher education, learn about and stay up-to-date with new technology, and organize workshops, presentations and discussions.
“We are very appreciative to the voters for helping us to grow through the bond program. Now we can better serve our students, and in turn, the community at large.”
The old TLC, located in Building 3, began its life in the early 1990s was spread throughout three different rooms. Chris Kernion, outgoing coordinator and part-time instructor of Communication Studies, said the space was a multi-purpose area, where events took place simultaneously and where faculty performed grading, ate lunch, took breaks and met informally. Kernion said the rooms were noisy, and it became increasingly difficult to manage effective group activities and schedule time during which faculty could work without being interrupted.
The new TLC, which Kernion helped to design, is more intentionally planned, with spaces for specific activities. They include a separate classroom for workshops, presentations, practice teaching demonstrations or other professional development events, and a small conference room with teleconferencing equipment. An open area has a smart board and podium to work collaboratively on projects or presentations, or to discuss research with colleagues. Shared work stations, which are especially useful for part-time instructors who may need more time outside their allotted cubicle time to work on class preparation are also available, as are closed-door offices and a technology room to record AV presentations or partake in online conferences. The new TLC also has community space to grade papers, prep for classes or meet with colleagues, and an information center stocked with current journals on teaching and learning.
Watch a video on Rock Creek’s new TLC
Mayer said the Center is becoming more popular since it opened at the beginning of March 2014. “Instructors really like space, once they enter it’s evident how welcoming it is,” she said. Currently, instructors are using the TLC for conferences and discussions, but Mayer said that she and Kernion are working to get the word out to all faculty and academic staff about all possible uses of the TLC. The two are encouraging more informal use, because “faculty learn best from each other, and that sharing ultimately benefits our students and our community,” said Kernion. “We are very appreciative to the voters for helping us to grow through the bond program, he added. “Now we can better serve our students, and in turn, the community at large.”
Kernion said the TLC is still in a transition period, with excitement about how it can be used increasing. Recently, a science and technology instructor gave a presentation on her specialty, a department hosted a “meet and greet” for new instructors, and a faculty conversation on “trigger warnings” was scheduled.
“This is nice, because we either didn’t have the space or time available in the old TLC for these kind of activities,” Kernion said.
PCC’S 2008 voter-approved $374 million bond program is increasing opportunities for residents to access quality, affordable higher education close to where they live and work. Additional classrooms, updated equipment and technology, and advanced workforce training programs are helping to pave the way for future employment options. For more information, visit bond.pcc.edu/about