The Bio-Commons Project
You are invited to get involved in the Bio-Commons Project.
Download this three-page project description for more information.
The Institute for Biology Education and Steenbock Library have launched a joint Educational Innovation project to create a community and learning space for bioscience students across campus—a bio-commons. The space will be a welcoming home base where students can connect with each other, as well as a central gateway to the biosciences where they can find information, get engaged in high-impact learning experiences, access support services, and integrate their experiences into a meaningful whole.
Existing services and programming from Steenbock Library and the Institute for Biology Education will be incorporated into the space, and it will also offer a potential satellite location for programs from around campus. Networks of faculty and staff providing programming and services across campus will be built to facilitate information exchange, coordination, efficiency, and collaborative innovation, and new programs will be developed in partnership as needs are identified.
The physical location of the space will be at Steenbock Library, and there will also be an online presence, both for information and community building. “Steenbock is a terrific partner for community building,” says Institute for Biology Education Interim Director Janet Branchaw. “Not only do they have wonderful facilities, but they also share our cross-campus vision and our student-centered approach. We both want to bring people together and make information and opportunities more accessible.”
Preliminary plans for the Bio-commons Project emerged from a series of cross-campus conversations focused on connecting bioscience students with beyond-the-classroom learning experiences like leadership, public service, research, and international study. The basic framework of the project was outlined by a cross-campus committee, and now broader input is being sought to move the project into its next phase.
Two Town Hall meetings were held in November/December 2012 to gather feedback from the UW–Madison community, and a series of student focus groups started in December 2012 and will continue into the Spring 2013 semester.
The space is envisioned as an endeavor that will benefit everyone involved. Steenbock Library Interim Director Lisa Wettleson is excited about how the project will enhance the Library’s ability to serve students into the future. “We are delighted to join the growing number of UW–Madison libraries that are partnering to create innovative learning spaces like this in response to student needs in a world of rapid change.”