Developments at the Hege Academic Commons

The Hege Academic Commons — envisioned in 2014 as a part of the Hege Library Strategic Plan — has begun to come to fruition with new enrichment spaces such as the Teaching, Learning and Research Collaboratory and ITS [email protected] Previously known as the Hege Library, the Hege Academic Commons has been the epicenter of student collaboration, peer tutoring and innovation here at Guilford.

The Hege Academic Commons is introducing the ITS [email protected] (coming later this spring), which is a service point to students and faculty. This new addition allows students to visit the Hege Academic Commons for a centralized learning and technology hub.

 The Hege Academic Commons completed renovating and enhancing the Collaboratory this past fall, with the addition of four interactive mobile panel units and smaller classroom spaces including the IDEA Incubator. Over the past five years, the Collaboratory has enabled faculty to engage students in creative and collaborative lessons.

 The Collaboratory also houses the Learning Glass Development Studio, which allows professors to record and teach asynchronous lessons using cutting-edge multimedia technology. Faculty can use the light board in this studio to record forward-facing videos and develop interactive, explanatory lessons for their students.

Ben Marlin, Associate Professor and Chair of the Mathematics department here at Guilford, said that Hege provides centralized access to new technologies including monitors and recording rooms. 

Marlin finds the collaborative hubs helpful for small classes in which students can share their ideas on monitors and “pass along ideas and share work quickly.”

Suzanne Bartels, Director of Hege Academic Commons and Learning Technologies, explained the goals of the Commons. 

“Here at Hege, we want to centralize academic services and support. It’s about student success,” said Bartels.

Jordyn Jackson, a sophomore double majoring in biology and health sciences here at Guilford, agreed that Hege is more than a typical library.

“I definitely do not think Hege is just a library. There are so many more things there to aid you in being at your best than just shelves of books,” Jackson said.

Bartels said that these new additions to the Hege Academic Commons mark the beginning of a series of projects to develop Hege into a collaborative space that inspires students to strengthen their innovative minds. 

“Our next big project is enhancing the Commons Ground with a maker, collaboration and creation space,” explained Bartels.

The makerspace is envisioned to support a variety of offerings.

“We will be offering a recording studio, an immersive experiences lab to explore virtual reality, and an ideation lab for supporting digital project development,” explained Bartels. “We really want to support collaboration, creation and innovation.”

Another forthcoming project at Hege is the re-imagining of the presidential portrait gallery, which is adjacent to the Carnegie Room. The new gallery will house interactive technology, including mounted panels, that will showcase the research and creative endeavors students partake in here at Guilford. Bartels hopes that this addition to the Academic Commons will encourage and inspire current and prospective Guilfordians to enhance their educational journey through research projects and collaborative digital projects. 

With students like Jackson spending over 10 hours of their week in Hege, it is vital for the space to encourage a safe, collaborative environment. The Hege Academic Commons does just that – using unique seating arrangements and monitor panels to enhance student learning experiences.

“…The Commons is the perfect place when you are trying to get work done,” Jackson said.

The Hege Academic Commons has also recently introduced the Honors Program and Research Hub on the Commons Ground, which is now open 24/7 to the Guilford Community. Hege also partners with the Global and Off-Campus Initiatives (GOCI), Guided Discovery, the Learning and Writing Center and the Accessibility Resource Center to offer student enrichment and tutoring programs, ultimately reflecting Hege’s role as a collaborative cornerstone here at Guilford.