Students begin a NeW era of learning
University of Newcastle (UON) students started their first classes at the $95 million NeW Space city campus today, with the Newcastle City Hall Clock Tower striking UON blue to mark the historic moment.
Students will experience start-of-the-art, technology-enhanced teaching and learning environments, with NeW Space to deliver new academic and research programs in business, law and emerging fields including creative industries, innovation and entrepreneurship.
Pro Vice-Chancellor Learning and Teaching, Professor Liz Burd, who led the design of the building’s custom learning and teaching spaces, said up to 3000 students will study in the new education environment that features cutting-edge technology, collaborative learning spaces and flip-classrooms.
“The contemporary teaching spaces throughout the building are designed to transform the learning experience for our students. UON has taken a creative approach to education, incorporating flexible learning spaces and an open design to improve student engagement and learning,” Professor Burd said.
Scattered across all eight levels are 20 dedicated learning spaces, interspersed with pockets of social areas, encouraging the exchange of ideas between staff and students as they navigate between the floors of the city’s vertical campus.
“NeW Space has embraced a change in teaching philosophy. Standard lecture theatres have been replaced by purpose-built facilities to enhance the university experience for students and prepare them for a changing global workforce,” Professor Burd said.
All rooms are Technology Enabled Active Learning (TEAL) spaces to accommodate a range of teaching styles including lectorials, tutorials, workshops, break-out work and interactive videoconferencing sessions.
Students can also practice their skills in a mock boardroom and moot court, access study materials hosted in the dynamic campus library and utilise a variety of exclusive student areas, including two elevated, outdoor areas.
With active travel a convenient option for many students commuting to NeW Space, modern amenities including showers, lockers and a secure bike hub have been integrated into the facility, complementing a range of other transport options.
Situated within the business and cultural heart of Newcastle’s CBD, Professor Burd said NeW Space will provide an important connection to the local community, business and industry and allow students to experience real-world applications of their studies.
“Not only will students have community and industry partners at their fingertips, but for the first time the Newcastle community will be able to connect with our University in the CBD and engage with our programs and education more broadly,” she said.
NeW Space was supported by Australian Government funding of $30 million through the Education Investment Fund Regional Priorities Round, NSW Government funding of $25 million and an investment of $40 million from UON.