Synopsis: Twenty-five years ago, the McAuliffe Center was established to bring innovative space simulation learning experiences to Framingham State University (FSU) and MetroWest. Now confronted with major repairs and advancing obsolescence, the center has a unique opportunity to strengthen its impact within the University and expand its engagement of K-16 students, educators, and FSU faculty, as well as the greater community.
Detailed Description: The McAuliffe Center proposes to reconceptualize its scope of service to create a suite of multifunctional, technology-enabled learning spaces. Along with supporting office spaces, the center will continue to host a Challenger Learning Center serving students statewide.
The center seeks to maximize the flexibility of its learning environments to facilitate diverse program offerings: differentiated learning, distance learning, project-based learning, college courses, corporate professional development programs, faculty, and staff training events, and other public events. The concentration of diverse user groups in a single space will encourage spontaneous meetings and collaborations among people of vastly different backgrounds.
Collaborative spaces will be central to the renovation, positioning the facility as a center for multidisciplinary partnerships across different departments within the University. These boundary-crossing cooperative projects will leverage the uniquely engaging power of dynamic simulation and multimedia visualization technology at the reimagined center. A creative, collaborative, welcoming environment will also support the McAuliffe Center’s promotion of diversity and equity in STEM education and participation of historically underrepresented groups.
The McAuliffe Center will deliver a strong return on investment through greatly expanded service to FSU and vicinity. The proposed reconceptualization addresses many of the goals of the University’s Strategic Plan, as well as FSU’s core values of academic excellence, personal and professional growth, global stewardship, public purpose, and encouragement of an inclusive, collaborative community.