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Edward St. John Learning and Teaching Center at the University of Maryland Will Transform the Classroom Experience

May 11, 2017
Contacts: 

Katie Lawson, 301-405-4622

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The University of Maryland dedicated the new Edward St. John Learning and Teaching Center today, named for Baltimore-based developer, philanthropist and 1961 alumnus, Edward St. John, founder and chairman of St. John Properties. The 187,000-square-foot space, which includes 12 classrooms and nine teaching labs with a total of 1,500 seats, will elevate the culture of collaborative learning on campus.

Photo of Edward St John Teaching and Learning Center“It’s exciting that the vision for a space that will transform the classroom experience and shape the way faculty teach has come to fruition,” said St. John '61, D.P.S. '12 (Hon.), who donated $10 million toward the building’s construction. “This center will create a new and innovative standard of teaching that accelerates interactive learning and will impact the education of more than 12,000 UMD students each day for years to come.”

Focused on a student-centered approach to learning and teaching, the center features labs, informal study spaces, group study rooms, and technology-enhanced TERP Classroomswith flexibility such as tiered seating, mobile desks and swiveling chairs that encourage active learning and collaboration. TERP is an acronym for Teach, Engage, Respond and Participate, which helps explain the fundamental principles of the design.  Other unique features include four food spaces and two green roofs, one of which is intended for instructional use.

“The St. John Center will hasten the transformation of our learning and teaching for generations of students,” said University of Maryland President Wallace D. Loh. “Its classrooms and teaching labs will give our faculty the flexibility and technology to perfect their art. Edward St. John and the state have made a magnificent contribution to campus excellence."

The center will also house the university’s Teaching and Learning Transformation Center, the main hub for the Academy for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and the Division of Information Technology’s Academic Technology and Innovation team.

The center is a key example of how architecture can drive the function of a building. “The inspiring classroom designs in the Edward St. John Center challenge faculty to teach and students to learn in ways that research has shown work better than traditional lecture methods,” said Mary Ann Rankin, UMD's senior vice president and provost. “It will enable the transformation of teaching and learning in a fundamental way.”

Innovative TERP Classroom designs in various rooms include features like round tables or a tiered structure, which allows students to move seamlessly from lecture to discussion mode, promote group interaction and problem-solving. The classrooms also feature technology that encourages wireless screen sharing, making it possible for students to collaborate with their peers in classes of all sizes. Both formal and informal meeting spaces throughout the building give students space to study together and work on group projects. A dedicated Loft space in the center will support innovation and entrepreneurship.

The Edward St. John Learning and Teaching Center represents the beginning for enhancing collaborative learning at UMD. There are currently 10 active learning prototype spaces on campus, and Provost Rankin has committed to converting more classrooms on campus to active learning spaces.

Centrally situated between Campus Drive and McKeldin Mall, the Center was built at the former site of Holzapfel Hall and Shriver Laboratory. This dynamic academic space is part of the university’s Greater College Park initiative, a $2 billion public-private investment to revitalize Baltimore Avenue and the academic campus. Classes will begin in the Edward St. John Learning and Teaching Center on May 30, 2017 for the start of UMD’s summer session.

To view photos of the Edward St. John Learning and Teaching Center, click here