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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University March 13, 2006 | Vol. 35 No. 25
SPSBE Grad Ed Division Takes Root

Designed as a multipurpose room, the Hall was the site last week of a pizza party welcoming students to the new facility.

City-based programs find home in Education Building

By Greg Rienzi
The Gazette

The beaming smiles on the students' and faculty's faces said it all: It was good to be home; better yet, to have a real one to go to.

Johns Hopkins' new Education Building, formerly known as Seton Court, officially opened its doors last week. The 73,000-square-foot building at 2800 N. Charles St. is now the residence of SPSBE's Graduate Division of Education's Baltimore-based programs.

The Education Division faculty and staff moved into the building--located just south of the Homewood campus between 28th and 29th streets--in January, and the first classes there were held on Monday.

Previously, the Education Division occupied space in Whitehead Hall, Shaffer Hall and a townhouse located on East 29th Street.

Nancy Cohen, a lecturer in education, said the reaction to the new building has been overwhelmingly positive. Personally, she said, it feels great to have everybody under one roof.

"There really is a sense of community now," said Cohen, who came to Johns Hopkins in 2002. "Students don't have to walk across campus to see their faculty, and faculty can have closer interaction with each other, as we're now just down the hall from each other. This really is a wonderful, collegial space for us."

The first-floor Gallery, which features computer workstations and ample comfortable seating, is already a popular gathering spot.

The Graduate Division of Education, which this year has 1,771 students, offers programs for the preparation and continuing development of teachers, administrators, special educators and counselors. The division is organized into the departments of Teacher Development and Leadership, Teacher Preparation, Special Education, and Counseling and Human Services.

The four-story Education Building features 11 "smart" classrooms; five seminar/classrooms; two conference classrooms; a Technovations Lab, where students will be able to prepare digital lessons and work on their electronic portfolios; a computer lab; a Gallery with computer workstations; a counseling suite; student and faculty lounges; and 36 offices.

All classrooms, halls and the Gallery feature wireless Internet service. The counseling suite contains small rooms with two-way mirrors so that faculty can observe students in a session.

Paul Adams, senior director of administrative services for SPSBE, said that the new facilities represent a significant step up for the division in terms of technology and services.

"We really have state-of-the-art technology in here, better than the best we have on Homewood campus," Adams said. "The biggest advantage is that now faculty will have all the technology right at their disposal, rather than placing an order for some piece of equipment to be delivered to his or her classroom."

Each classroom desk has a USB connection so that students can plug in their laptops and project a presentation on the main screen for the entire class to critique. Faculty can control all the systems from a wired-in podium.

"Students in particular think the building is just great. For one, they are not spread all over the place like they were before," he said.

Diana Filo, a master of arts in teaching candidate, had her first class in the building on Thursday, and she loved it.

"We have a lot of added benefits in this facility that really help out students like us," Filo said. "We work full time and go to class at night; this building provides us with computers with Internet access and vending machines that provide actual meals. All those added bonuses help to ease the stress of getting a master's degree while teaching full time."

The first-floor Gallery, which features computer workstations and ample comfortable seating, has already proven to be a popular meeting spot for students before and after class. Students also have been congregating at a first-floor computer lab, where they can check e-mails and work on assignments. In addition, the second floor has the Hall, a large multipurpose room.

Previously, students had no central place to gather.

The building originally opened in 1907 as St. Joseph's School of Industry, which in 1928 was renamed Seton High School. The school merged with Archbishop Keogh High School in 1988 and moved to another location. The building was later sold and converted into offices. Johns Hopkins purchased the property in April 2003 from Sheppard Pratt Investment.

To honor the building's past, large framed black-and-white prints of the building's days as a school line many of the hallways. Johns Hopkins also preserved the architectural integrity of the building, which features two wings, a three-story central grand stairwell, skylights, wide corridors and glass transoms. Some of the building's religious artifacts, left from its days as a Catholic high school, also remain in order to retain its historical identity.

SPSBE takes up the building's first two floors but is not its only tenant. The Milton S. Eisenhower Library occupies offices on the fourth floor for its Entrepreneurial Library Program, whose staff moved in last month. The Johns Hopkins University Press will occupy some of the third floor with its Production, Marketing and Circulation departments. The northwest corner of the third floor will be the new home for SPSBE's Center for Summer Learning.

Current plans are for the Press to take occupancy on March 21 and the Center for Summer Learning by the end of April.


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