For current students and faculty/staff

President’s Desk: NHTI Transforms Library into Learning Commons

By Dr. Gretchen E. Mullin-Sawicki

Students in NHTI's Learning Commons

Transformation is integral in continual learning, progressing, and improving. Just as we make revisions to our academic program curriculum to meet the needs of our workforce partners, NHTI’s student services also require attention to ensure that we devote resources to support student success, workforce development, institutional sustainability, and diversity, equity, and inclusion — all pillars of NHTI’s strategic plan. The NHTI Library is one such service where transformation has sparked colorful collaboration and connection.

I have very fond memories of the library in Ontario where I spent countless hours sitting on cozy, green-striped wing back chairs, scouring notes in preparation for exams. For me, libraries are synonymous with quiet comfort, soft glowing lights, and intense focus. However, this vision of the library has morphed into an activity hub of creativity and interaction between students, faculty, and community. Gone is the library with shushing, No Eating signs, and solitary spaces for isolated study; instead, we have welcomed a vibrant and talkative area where group tutoring, advising, faculty and student workshops, career discussions, and coffee is shared; books are read on treadmills; and quiet, individual study spaces are tucked away in the periphery of group learning.

The library has become part of a Learning Commons, a much broader community of activity including our tutoring and accommodation services, caring advising center, English Speakers of Other Languages department, Innovation Lab, and math and English open study labs. Here, collaboration is instinctive; students can wander through the Learning Commons and meet faculty, career panelists, librarians, and advisors, sparking creativity and imagination. Surrounded by this multiplicity of resources, the Learning Commons is our welcome center, where all students can seek research guidance, source material and scholarly library instruction, and find faculty advice, take advisor guidance, and learn about cultural events on campus. The Learning Commons absolutely supports our drivers of student success, workforce development, and diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Resources developed through NHTI’s Learning Commons include our new Gender Equity Toolkit, a living repository of information that explores the contributions of women through history and issues surrounding gender and inclusivity. Another is the Innovation Lab that connects our students and faculty with our workforce by developing projects that benefit our local communities. Yet another is our Career Talks interactive speaker series that explores pandemic-proof careers through conversations with NHTI alumni involved in a variety of professional fields.

NHTI is local community and we invite you to meander through our Learning Commons (as soon as it is safe to do so) to join this incredible learning experience. The Learning Commons is currently open to students, faculty, and staff Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m.-5:00p.m.

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