Research shows that students learn better and fail less when they actively engage in their learning and collaborate with their peers (Freeman, S., et al., 2014). Research also shows that space makes a difference (Whiteside, D., et al., 2010). To that end, UA has made a significant commitment to create environments that promote collaborative active learning. Twenty centrally-scheduled Collaborative Learning Spaces (CLSs) have been built and more are planned. The Innovative Spaces for Learning and Engagement (ISLE) Program was established to encourage departments to transform existing departmentally-controlled rooms into innovative learning spaces to provide additional opportunities for students, faculty and learning assistants to work collaboratively in spaces that invigorate and inspire.
ISLE Program grants provide dollar-for-dollar matching funds, up to $50K, to assist academic units with the transformation of existing rooms into innovative learning spaces. Departments awarded an ISLE Program grant partner with members of the UA Classroom Committee (Office of Academic Affairs, Facilities Maintenance, Classroom Technology Services and others) to design, plan, prepare and construct the renovated spaces. The cost of the renovations is shared by the department/college and the ISLE Program. Costs that exceed the matching funds are the responsibility of the department. Upon completion of the project, the unit retains control of the space; however, the renovated room(s) must support both formal (i.e. credit-bearing courses) and informal collaborative learning for students.