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[Pacific Lutheran Scene]

Leadership and Service

Center for Learning and Technology brings PLU’s future into focus

A LOOK INTO THE FUTURE: This computer-generated model shows what the Center for Learning and Technology will look like from the front. The building will be constructed just west of Rieke Science Center.

The Center for Learning and Technology, the new facility that could be under construction as early as mid-2002, will continue to develop PLU’s role as a trendsetter.

According to President Loren Anderson, there has been a clear need for a facility “that could advance the integration of new technology in teaching while helping to sustain the university’s liberal arts focus.”

The university will answer this need by provid-ing a new home for the School of Business and the departments of mathematics, computer science and computer engineering. The new building will also house a variety of campus offices, including the dean of the Division of Natural Sciences, the Center for Executive Development and the Tacoma/Pierce County Mathematics, Engineering & Science Achievement Program (MESA).

Anderson and the planning committee see the structure promoting interdisciplinary activity.

“Graduates who attended our PLU 2010 sessions spoke of the excellent business education they received, but expressed regret that their education was not more oriented to the use and understanding of new technologies,” Anderson said. “Those with degrees in computer fields said a better foundation in society-focused areas of the curriculum, such as business, would have helped them.”

With the improved facilities that The Center for Learning and Technology provides, faculty members plan to foster this type of curricular interaction. The current M.B.A. program in Technology and Innovation Management will be mined for material helpful to undergraduates; programs drawing on the theoretical capacity of mathematics, the modeling capacity of computer science and the strategic dimensions of business are also planned for the future.

The Board of Regents approved The Center for Learning and Technology concept at its January 2001 meeting, and now planners are refining issues of scope and budget. David Aubrey, vice president for development and university relations, said Regents authorized development of construction drawings last month. Pending fund raising progress and approval by the Board at its spring 2002 meeting, construction is projected to begin in May 2002, with the building open for classes in September 2003.

The project budget is approximately $18 million, and Aubrey said already $6 million in gifts and commitments had been secured.

The Office of Development hopes to complete funding by the end of the 2001-2002 academic year. “In addition to counting on the support of all friends and alumni, we specifically are encouraging graduates of our School of Business, department of computer science and computer engineering, and department of mathematics to contribute,” Aubrey said, “ as well as graduates working elsewhere in the technology sector.”

The Center for Learning and Technology is the second major project of three outlined in the Campaign for PLU: The Next Bold Step, which passed the $83 million mark in May, en route to its $100 million goal. The renovation of Xavier Hall will be complete this summer, with social sciences faculty scheduled to move back in August. A rededication of Xavier is planned for Homecoming weekend. Eastvold Auditorium is also scheduled for restoration as part of the Campaign.

Pacific Lutheran University Scene
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