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School of Nursing Unveils High-Tech Classrooms: St. David’s Foundation gives generously to support health care education

Posted: Oct. 19, 2017

In 2014, The University of Texas at Austin School of Nursing, as part of the UT Austin’s new and evolving health care district, undertook an ambitious plan to evaluate current spaces and building configurations aimed at creating an upgraded site where nursing education can thrive. Part of that plan included reconfiguring classrooms and incorporating more cutting-edge technology into the 1970s-era building.

Updated hallway

Updated classroom

Updated classrooms now supports the latest innovative
teaching techniques

Recently, the School officially opened the newly renovated classrooms, which were made possible by a generous grant from St. David’s Foundation, an Austin-based charitable nonprofit committed to building healthy communities and a long-time supporter of the School of Nursing. The UT Austin Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost, the School of Nursing Advisory Council, alumni and friends also contributed to making this much-needed project a reality.

The Foundation’s $950,000 grant was awarded earlier in the year to address infrastructure and technological updates and was used on much-needed first-floor classroom renovations to maximize use of the space and support interactive group learning, testing and new technologies. These modern classrooms are now facilitating contemporary teaching and learning methods for the benefit of future health care providers, educators and patients.

“Although the School of Nursing building is physically sound, remaining technologically up-to-date has been a challenge,” Alexa Stuifbergen, dean of the School of Nursing, said. “The static, theater-style classrooms hindered our ability to use the latest technology and adequately support group work. This grant allowed us to update them so that the latest innovative teaching techniques can be used, and students can participate in active learning and team-building activities.”

The UT Austin School of Nursing is fortunate to have such a broad range of support, and as School leadership looks confidently ahead to the important role it will play in transforming health care in Texas and beyond.

It didn’t take students long to start enjoying the attractive space and the provision of new areas for learning, lounging and supporting small group gatherings.

“We used to have to fight over approximately six or eight outlets to charge our laptops in a class of 60 plus students. The chairs had incredibly small ‘tables’ attached and squeaked with our every move,” Richy Lyttle, Jr., a senior in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program said. “We’re now able to have more students seated comfortably in one room. The new rooms and hallways have state-of-the-art video equipment and white boards, as well as ergonomic tables and chairs that have multiple electrical outlets built into the tables themselves. These upgrades are not only aesthetically pleasing but also practical.”

“I absolutely love it!” said Teagan Albin, another undergraduate student. “The entire atmosphere on the first floor has shifted; it’s bright and airy, which has contributed to a better state of mind among the student body. The classroom layouts are more conducive to teamwork, and there are so many plugs!”

“We are grateful to Mr. Earl Maxwell and St. David’s Foundation for their vision, leadership and generosity as they continue to partner with us on our joint mission to transform health care in Central Texas and beyond,” Dean Stuifbergen said.

Classroom generously supported by St. David's Foundation

Dean Alexa Stuifbergen (standing) and
Earl Maxwell, CEO of St. David’s Foundation (seated center),
enjoy slides showing the renovation process during unveiling
of updated classrooms.

 

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