One of Western Carolina University’s oldest buildings has some of the newest fixtures, thanks to a recent replacement of classroom furniture.
The McKee Building was constructed as a laboratory school in 1939. Described as an historic structure, it features original woodwork and old-fashioned chalkboards alongside modern technology. It is the location for the Departments of Anthropology and Sociology, History, World Languages and Social Work. McKee also houses the Cherokee Studies and Forensic Anthropology programs.
Twelve classrooms had the old blue-seat desks replaced with either tables and chairs or new – and vastly improved – desks, said Timothy D. Metz, assistant vice chancellor for institutional planning and effectiveness. The total cost of $193,000 was covered as part of the Chancellor’s Strategic Classroom Renovation Fund, he said.
The particular model of desk installed was selected by students as the clear favorite from several options that were on display in A.K. Hinds University Center last fall. Some classrooms received desks with adaptable arms and configurations, while others got collapsible, moveable tables and chairs.
“It should be noted that faculty and staff input guided the purchase of tables that will fold up and stack to the side of the room, when feasible, to give maximal floor space for reconfigurations of space that promote active learning and engagement,” said Jonathan Wade, senior educational technologist with WCU’s Coulter Faculty Commons.
“The new furniture provides a degree of flexibility that previous furniture could not,” he said. “We look forward to seeing the different creative ways in which faculty will use these new capabilities to increase engagement. Some possible uses include group work, process-oriented guided inquiry learning, project-based learning, kinesthetic group learning and sharing circles.”
Faculty interested in exploring different teaching methods can contact the Educational Development Team at the Coulter Faculty Commons at 828-227-7196 or visit the office between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.