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Fisher Receives Higher Ed Capital Funding to Transform Classrooms

October 26, 2021

Nine classrooms at St. John Fisher College are being transformed into innovative, flexible, active learning spaces, thanks in part to a $52,000 grant from the Higher Education Capital Match Program (HECap) that was secured in collaboration with the College’s Office of Sponsored Programs.

A newly designed classroom.

A competitive grant program administered by the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (DASNY), HECap requires a three to one financial match by the participating college or university to receive the funds.

“We are grateful to the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York for helping to make possible the creation of modern, flexible classroom spaces,” said Dr. Gerard J. Rooney, president of the College. “The upgrades enhance the active learning techniques our faculty use as part of their teaching pedagogy and further enrich the academic experience for our students.”

The funds are creating new spaces featuring easily moveable furniture, including tables, color-coded chairs that can facilitate the formation of small groups, and portable whiteboards that can create a variety of classroom layouts. These modern classrooms will, in the short term, offer ways to create in-person socially distanced learning spaces and in the longer term, allow faculty more leeway in designing and implementing course activities that suit their instructional styles, while maintaining a student-centered pedagogical approach. To date, three classrooms have been completed, the remaining six are on track for completion by fall 2022.

The classroom upgrades are a critical component of the newly established DePeters Family Center for Innovation and Teaching Excellence (CITE), a $2.2 million center, made possible thanks to $1 million gift from Jack ’73 and Donna DePeters and a $1 million matching gift from Wegmans Food Markets. CITE is dedicated to promoting the design and delivery of innovative teaching and learning activities both on campus and for the broader community through professional development offerings. It is the College’s hub for disseminating evidence-based teaching practices that promote student success, and will contribute to thought leadership on the scholarship of teaching and learning in the 21st century.