As a former Purdue Graduate Student Government president and member of the Graduate Student Libraries Advisory Council, I wholeheartedly disagree with the article “Construction of WALC done in poor taste.” It misrepresents the function, design and day-to-day use of the Wilmeth Active Learning Center. Indeed, it completely misses the advantages WALC brings to Purdue.
Through my experience in PGSG, I witnessed firsthand the painstaking efforts Dean James Mullins and Purdue Libraries personnel took in planning WALC. Students were integral in each design portion. Because of this, each room was built with keen insight into Purdue students’ educational needs. No other building on campus offers such versatility in instructional use; WALC is one of the few places on campus where STEM, social sciences, and humanities have classrooms suited to their needs. As a result, WALC is bustling with students almost 24/7.
Your description of access to the Libraries’ books seems to indicate many are no longer accessible and are stored haphazardly. A fact check would have verified that many books (not moved to the shelves) are held in the Libraries’ repository, available via request. In addition, books are not stored in airport hangars. A simple call would have verified this, too.
I am also quite surprised by the mischaracterization and inaccuracies of active learning. Research consistently demonstrates flipped classrooms improve students’ experiences and grades. I have observed the benefits of active learning by incorporating active learning techniques in the classes I teach. I see the direct advantages of active learning in their test scores and assignments.
WALC is hardly “poor taste.” Rather, it is a bold step in embracing innovative learning techniques in higher education. The leadership demonstrated by the Libraries in making WALC a reality is highly admirable. For Purdue University to lead in educational excellence, we should embrace what WALC stands for, not condemn it.
— Christopher Kulesza, Purdue graduate student in the College of Liberal Arts