An Interview with Provost Sue Dewine
July 7, 2006
Dr. Sue DeWine has been vocal about her vision and expectations of Marietta College since the day she set foot on campus in the fall of 2000.
While she checks off many accomplishments as proud moments in her time as provost, it is the development and future opening of a new learning and library resource center that is her real shining moment.
Throughout the construction of the new library, which is scheduled to open in January of 2009, College Relations will conduct Question & Answer sessions with people involved in the project as a way to provide the College's publics with the latest information.
Since you arrived on campus in the fall of 2000, you have worked to bring a new learning and library resource center to Marietta College. While it is still two years from completion, explain how you feel about seeing this project come to fruition?
As the chief Academic Officer it is my responsibility to keep the focus of the campus on learning and teaching. With the help of the faculty we have added some dramatic new teaching initiatives to this campus, including: learning communities, team teaching, faculty summer workshops, teaching awards, increased faculty development opportunities, J-term, and instructional technology. All of these are focused on delivering the best education possible to our students. We spend a great deal of time constantly improving our teaching methods. Now we will have all of these activities focused in one place in the Learning and Teaching Center in the new library.
This will be a place where faculty and students can come to try out new teaching technologies and work on improving the learning process. Faculty and students will collaborate in the new Center to try new teaching and learning methods. Laura Little will be Director of the new Center and she will continue the excellent job she has done to get this campus ready to use technology in the classroom.
More than 80 percent of our faculty have now taken advantage of a wide variety of training workshops Laura has provided and will continue to provide. We will have some of our most technologically skilled faculty working in the center with Laura to model for others the latest advances in teaching. I am delighted that this facility and these opportunities will be made available to our faculty and students.
There are many exciting aspects to the new library project, but what do you see as the most intriguing part of the new facility for faculty, students, alumni, and community?
I believe the 24-hour study space in the cyber cafe will be the most dramatic change for students. This will be a place you can see into from the mall and students will see their friends there and want to join them for a cup of coffee and some conversation. Students have been very interested in a 24-hour study space and I am very pleased to be able to bring this to them.
Faculty will benefit most from the Learning and Teaching Center where they can try out new teaching techniques and technologies before we implement them throughout campus.
Alumni and community members will find significantly grand space in which to read a newspaper or use the wonderful resources contained in the special collections. The special collections will be in larger and more comfortable space. We will also have opportunities throughout the library to display some of Marietta College's historical documents and artifacts. Marietta has some rather amazing collections of art and artifacts and until now have not had places to display them. We want the public, as well as our students, to enjoy seeing these treasures.
While the College has a detailed plan on how to provide library services during the transition, do you have any concerns during this 18-month transitional period?
Doug Anderson, Director of the Library, and his staff, have done an outstanding job of carefully planning how services will continue uninterrupted. I have no doubt that the plan they have worked out will allow faculty and students to continue to have access to all the resources they need. The only concern I have is for new students who may see a disrupted campus for over a year. We want to put up a large rendition of what the library will look like when it is completed. All of us have to help new students see the advantage of this new building, which they will get to enjoy.
You have been intimately involved with the design phase of the project, especially the Learning and Teaching Center. Can you tell us your impressions of how the inside of the library is taking shape and what you are most excited about?
The inside will be quite spacious and open. We have worked very hard to keep the best space open for students. So, you will find books shelved in the center of the floors keeping the outside ring of the building open for comfortable seating for students to study. Perhaps the most stunning part of the library will be the top floor where students will be able to sit around the perimeter of the floor and look out over the entire campus. Above them will be a large dome giving the space a spectacular look and feel.
For many people, a library has stacks of books, reference materials and quite locations to study for finals. How will this new learning and library resources center be different?
First, all those elements will still be in the library—books, quiet spaces to study, etc. But in addition there will be group meeting rooms, a forum for entertainment and presentations, a cyber cafe to get coffee and chat, a learning and teaching center with two experimental classrooms where faculty and students will be constantly trying out new techniques and experimenting with them. This library will definitely have quiet spaces but it will also have areas alive with activity and socializing. Our hope is the library will become the new place to "be seen" on campus!
Any final thoughts or comments on anything we haven't talked about?
The lead gift donors, Laura Baudo Sillerman and Rob Dyson, believe strongly in the importance of making a statement about the centrality of academics on a college campus. This building, besides having all these wonderful opportunities inside and out, also stands as a symbol to current and prospective students that academics and learning are Central to the heart of this campus. Learning is our first priority. This magnificent facility will symbolically and in very concrete ways enhance the learning of every student at Marietta College.
Tom Perry, Director of College Relations at Marietta, conducted this interview.