With more than 75 years of collective experience using and teaching others to use the roomful of fabricators, drills, saws, presses, welders and 3D proto-typing machines in the Center for Design and Fabrication in the basement of McConnell Hall, the trio of instructors, Eric Jensen, Greg Young and Dale Renfrow, guide students in a range of departments—mathematics, biological sciences, engineering, physics, astronomy—in creating and manufacturing all manner of tools, devices and household gadgets.
In the aftermath of a devastating tornado that touched down in Springfield, Massachusetts, in June 2011 and affected an estimated 40 percent of the population, a class of Smith engineering students this fall used this extreme of nature as a springboard for their study of engineering mechanics.
Smith College is one of the first institutions of higher education to apply innovative teaching methods known as knowledge building to the liberal arts, establishing it as a leader in teaching and learning pedagogy. Now instead of putting the primary focus on lectures, some professors are rewriting the old syllabi and trying a new approach—one that emphasizes higher-level thinking and values the processes of innovation, collaboration and creativity. Read the full story in Insight.
"A love affair" is how Ileana Streinu, Charles N. Clark Professor of Computer Science, describes her relationship with Ford Hall. It is not just the state-of-the-art facilities that she loves, says the Romanian-born scholar recognized for her groundbreaking research in computational geometry, it is also the feel and the atmosphere. "There is so much light here," and the way the space is organized is "conducive to communication and collaboration."