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September 28, 2010

UMBC Creating Retriever Learning Center to Enhance Academic Support for Students

Eleanor Lewis

Preparation has begun to transform an 8,000-square-foot area of UMBC’s Albin O. Kuhn Library into a social learning space that will facilitate student success through peer-to-peer teaching, group learning, tutoring and informal interactions among students and faculty. The Retriever Learning Center (RLC) will be completed in the summer of 2011.

The RLC will feature movable furnishings that groups can configure into study spaces, and will be located near library services, tutoring, information resources and information technology. It will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, consolidating late-night study space into one location and providing improved safety and security through key card access, video monitoring and other enhancements.

UMBC President Freeman Hrabowski said, “The Retriever Learning Center represents another example of UMBC’s innovation in teaching and learning. We are determined to be as proactive as possible in providing an environment that encourages substantive interaction among students, faculty, and staff. It’s always encouraging to see our students learning and growing intellectually.”

The impetus for this project came from students, including the Student Government and Graduate Student Associations, who advocated for a large, open, flexible, inviting space for group study with food and drink permitted. Library planning for this project began in 2006, but was accelerated by a 2008 bequest from the estate of Richard Roberts, a founding faculty member of UMBC and former chair of the Department of Mathematics. All colleges and divisions at UMBC will be committing resources to support the project, and UMBC is working with alumni, parents, friends and foundations to secure the final funds necessary to complete this important project.

Provost Elliot Hirshman emphasized, “The creation of the Retriever Learning Center is a critical addition to the institution’s commitment to support success for all students. By supporting active learning, group discussion, and peer tutoring, and integrating the resources of the Learning Resources Center and the Division of Information Technology in a single location, the Retriever Learning Center will play a central role in supporting student success and academic excellence at UMBC."

Students look forward to utilizing the resources that the new RLC will offer. “As a scientist, I want to have strong writing skills in order to clearly convey my research results and ideas. I will definitely spend time in the Retriever Learning Center as I continue to develop into an independent researcher,” said Genaro Hernandez, Jr. ’15, computational biology.

In preparation for construction, government documents and reference materials have been moved from the first floor of the library to the lower level. The Learning Resources Center’s Mathematics Lab and Writing Center have moved to the first floor, where they will operate temporarily during the 2010-2011 academic year. The final location of these services will be in newly renovated space of the RLC.

Posted by elewis at September 28, 2010 9:17 AM