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Gift Establishes Visionary Adaptive Learning Classroom

April 26, 2016

The Charles and Helen Foster Adaptive Learning Classroom, located in SIUE’s Peck Hall, is an innovative space that allows for the continuous reimagining of teaching and learning across all academic disciplines.

Through a six-figure gift to the University from Tom Foster, PhD, professor of physics, and Ann Robertson, the visionary learning environment has been established and named in honor of Foster’s parents, and their firm belief in the value of higher education.

“My parents pushed my brother, sister and I toward college, and realized that we could do more than everybody else, if we just had that college degree,” Foster said. “This gift was intended, because I have a deep love for the students at SIUE and this University, and a deep love for my parents. It just made sense to put the three together.”

At a special naming ceremony held Friday, April 22, Gregory Budzban, PhD, dean of the SIUE College of Arts and Sciences, thanked Foster and Robertson for their thoughtfulness and generosity.

“Your forward thinking will serve as a catalyst for future instructional innovation, and allow us to thrive, despite uncertain economic times,” Budzban said. “A classroom such as this does not happen by chance. It takes careful thought, planning and passion to establish it as both a learning space and a legacy.”

The adaptive learning classroom includes whiteboard throughout the classroom, moveable tables to create a modular space andan iPad for each student, which can be used to display their work directly on the video projection areas, among other creative learning tools. The innovative space aims to put students in charge of their own learning and nurture an intrinsic motivation to learn.

“As a brick and mortar institution, we have so much to offer for student learning, if we can just do it well,” Foster said. “This classroom is a testament to that, and I’m tickled pink it’s going to be perpetually in motion. That means there’s going to be energy, entropy and everything that should be going on in a classroom.”

Interim Chancellor Stephen Hansen extended his sincere gratitude to Foster and Robertson on behalf of the University.

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