Southern Miss Gulf Coast Think Center to Host Open House for New Active Learning Classroom October 1

Southern Miss Gulf Coast Think Center to Host Open House for New Active Learning Classroom October 1

LONG BEACH, MS (WDAM) - The following is a news release from The University of Southern Mississippi

The University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast Think Center is hosting an open house for the new Active Learning Classroom Thursday, October 1 from 1 – 3 p.m. in the Library room 204 on the Gulf Park Campus at Long Beach.

The newly redesigned Think Center Active Learning Classroom is part of the Learning Enhancement Center (LEC) at Southern Miss. Guests are invited to tour the newly outfitted classroom, learn more about the Think Center and active learning, meet with the staff, and enjoy light refreshments. Remarks will be at 1:15 p.m. featuring Dr. Steve Miller, Vice President of the Gulf Park campus and Dr. Casey Maugh Funderburk, Interim Associate Provost for Gulf Park.

The Active Learning Classroom upgrade is funded in part by a $1.95 million, five-year U.S. Department of Education, Title III – Part A Strengthening the Institution (SIP) grant which provides funds to improve and strengthen the academic quality, institutional management, and fiscal stability of eligible institutions.

Sheri Lyons, LEC director, said the goal was to purchase furnishings and technology for the room that provide "choices for the students and instructor, enable movement and connection, and support engagement and collaboration."

Bonnie Cooper, assistant director for academic services, says active learning classrooms allow instructors to teach in a variety of arrangements and utilize various technologies. "All the tables and chairs are mobile and can be moved into a variety of configurations," said Cooper. "The room offers differing types of seating, whiteboards and large monitors where presentations, videos, lectures, or other course materials can be shared."

Cooper says the new Active Learning Classroom is not just about having "cool" furniture but is an effort to create rooms that are conducive to "a deeper level of engagement with course content, instructors, and peers." The Think Center offers "flexible, collaborative furnishings to provide opportunities for students to work in small groups, interact with others, and experience real-world team and learning environments," said Cooper.

According to Dr. Michele Williams, instructional development specialist at the Gulf Coast Think Center, the body of research supporting active, student-centered learning is growing rapidly. "Active learning includes both instructional methods and tangible elements, such as furnishings. This new Active Learning Classroom is just one way we provide resources to academic units across the university," said Williams.

For additional information about the Think Center and the Active Learning Classroom, visit For more information about the Learning Enhancement Center, visit