Building to Kick Off New Era in Science Education

Facility Promises Innovative Learning Environment for Undergraduate Students

Oct. 27, 2008

Students, faculty, staff and the public are invited to celebrate turning the first shovelful of dirt Tuesday as construction gets under way on the Math, Science, and Engineering Teaching-Learning Center (MSET).

The groundbreaking will be at 10 a.m. just north of the Berkner building with a reception to follow.

With a budget of $29 million and an expected completion date of 2010, the MSET project represents another attractive anchor piece in the expanding “science corridor” that stretches from the Engineering and Computer Science Building north to the Natural Science and Engineering Research Laboratory (NSERL).

In contrast to NSERL, which houses research laboratories, MSET will be a comprehensive facility intended to provide a focused, high-quality education environment for math, science, and engineering undergraduate students. The facility is slated to serve as a major laboratory for research on effective teaching and learning techniques, both at the collegiate level and kindergarten through 12th grade.

“At most universities, chemistry labs are taught in the chemistry building, and physics is taught in the physics building,” said Myron Salamon, dean of the School of Natural Sciences & Mathematics. “But the vision for the new building is an integrated science and math teaching/learning community in a facility that showcases best practices in teaching and learning while emphasizing the unity of science.”

In addition to chemistry, physics, biology and geosciences laboratories, the building will include a 300-seat a lecture hall, a novel Student-Centered Activities for Large-Enrollment Undergraduate Programs (SCALE-UP) classroom for medium size lecture classes and offices for lecturers. The amphitheater design of the lectures halls and the special seating layout allows students to work closely with one another during class. And ample open space allows students to meet informally with instructors before and after labs and classes.

“For open spaces outside classrooms and labs, we've listened to what today's students want,” said physics Professor Joe Izen, chair of the MSET faculty advisory committee. “For example, common areas will have extra power outlets for laptops.”

The 76,000-square-foot facility, designed by a team under Kell Muñoz Architects Inc., will offer 45,000-square foot of assignable space for the offices, lecture hall, recitation areas and instructional laboratories.

Anyone wishing to attend the event should RSVP to presrsvp@utdallas.edu or call (972) 883-6257.


Media Contacts: Brandon V. Webb, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, Brandon.webb@utdallas.edu
or the Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, newscenter@utdallas.edu

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Groundbreaking ceremonies will be Tuesday at 10 a.m. for the MSET building, shown here in an artist’s rendering.

 

At a Glance

Cost: About $29 million

Features:

  • 300-student lecture hall
  • 150-student lecture hall
  • Recitation areas
  • Instructional laboratories
  • Offices for faculty and tutors
  • Shell space for future growth

Location: Just north of the Berkner Building

Building Committee:

  • Joseph M. Izen—professor of physics
  • Cynthia E. Ledbetter—professor of science-math education
  • Raymond Allum—senior lecturer III of mathematics
  • Scott A. Rippel—senior lecturer I, biology
  • Inga Holl Musselman—professor and associate head of chemistry
  • John F. Ferguson—associate professor of geoscience

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July 22, 2014