UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The College of Education once again has become the beneficiary of a family whose philanthropy is literally changing the way students are taught at Penn State and beyond. Gay and Bill Krause, whose $6.5 million gift created the existing Krause Innovation Studio, have pledged an additional $1 million to support the creation of an innovative teaching and learning space that will expand the scale and scope of the work being done in the current studio. The Penn State Board of Trustees learned about the project at its Committee on Finance, Business and Capital Planning meeting today (May 5).
The college has identified 3,800 square feet of space directly across the atrium from the existing space for the Krause Innovation Studio that can be made available for what will be known as the Krause Learning Space.
“Through their generosity, Gay and Bill Krause are continuing to shape the future of innovation in education. Ultimately, our goal is for the atrium second level of Chambers Building to be a collaborative hub for the college that is cohesive in design and coherent in purpose. With this most recent gift, the Krause family is making that vision a reality,” said Dean David H. Monk.
The project was inspired by the scholarship of Scott McDonald, faculty member and director of the Krause Innovation Studio, who has become a leader in research focused on the design of space and technology to facilitate teaching and learning.
As the missing link in the renovation of the south atrium core, the Krause Learning Space design will respect the recently renovated spaces adjacent it. All of the renovations on the second floor of Chambers Building including the initial Krause Innovation Studio, the Mathematics Education Laboratory, the Language and Literacy Studio, the Social Studies Laboratory and now the Krause Learning Space expansion of what will become known as the Krause Studios for Innovation, incorporate a consistent and innovative architectural design including planar suspended acoustical tile ceilings, exposed ductwork, raised flooring to accommodate hidden wiring, built-in furnishings and contemporary finishes.
“We are pleased to be able to continue our support of the Penn State College of Education in improving the education of current and future learners,” said Gay and Bill Krause. “We also are excited to see how the college’s faculty, staff and students will use this new space to draw upon the power of emerging ideas to transform both teaching and learning.”
Similar to the Bring Your Own Device design strategy of Krause Innovation Studio, the Krause Learning Space will feature plug-and-play technology. A “soundstage” grid will provide a framework for updating technology as it advances. Throughout the course of the design process, the design team will continue to research innovative, collaborative technologies while understanding that each element must maintain or enhance the user-friendly nature of the space. The goal is to establish a broad range of very low-tech to very high-tech solutions, significantly advancing the mission of the existing Krause Innovation Studio.
The Krause Learning Space will make it possible to pursue a variety of innovative initiatives including the opportunity to develop and evaluate education technology solutions.
“The Krause Learning Space renovation fits beautifully with the goals of the University in general, and with the College of Education more specifically,” said Monk. “The University has identified ‘transforming education’ as one of its key strategic planning themes for the next five years. Moreover, the College of Education’s strategic plan singles out the provision of international leadership in the area of innovation in teaching and learning as one of its highest priorities for the future. Innovation coupled with rigorous research and evaluation is becoming a signature of the Penn State College of Education.”
As a means of planning for multi-purpose class and meeting modes, a variety of furnishings layouts are being analyzed in the design process. Modes currently being explored include: single class, double class, small group, conference/large presentation, and workshop/training session. Flexible open storage can be closed, allowing for nesting and storing of unused furnishings. All furnishings will be mobile.
Just as the glass and steel storefront at Krause Innovation Studio enhances the openness of the atrium, glass storefront-type doors will replace existing wood doors at the ends of the hallways visible at the second floor of the atrium.To enhance the safety of the existing open stairs at the atrium, glass railings will provide the necessary code-based safety requirements without inhibiting the thoughtful design of the existing stairs and railing system.
In order to complete the renovation of the second floor core at the south end of Chambers, a renovation of the bridges also is planned. These bridges link the north faculty-oriented portion of Chambers with the future Krause Learning Space, offering opportunity to program the bridges in a way that will complement the Krause Learning Space and the Krause Innovation Studio.