The two-story expansion of Carol Grotnes Belk Library opened this year and is home to the university's Academic Advising, Learning Assistance and Disability Resources programs.
With a snip of a ribbon, Elon University on Friday celebrated the official dedication of the Koenigsberger Learning Center, a two-story addition to Carol Grotnes Belk Library that is now home to the Academic Advising, Learning Assistance and Disability Resources programs.
With 16,000 square feet of new and renovated space, the center provides a central location for these three academic and learning support initiatives at Elon to allow them to work more closely together and discover synergy between them.
The project was made possible through a leading gift by Elon parents Robert and Dilek Koenigsberger, whose daughter, Amber, is a member of the Class of 2017. Their gift supported both the construction of the new center and also established an endowment that will fund annual operations of the center, including new staff positions and technology resources.
“Through its Academic Advising, Disabilities Services and Learning Assistance programs, Elon through the KLC has differentiated itself as a national leader in engaged learning for its entire student body,” said Robert Koenigsberger during his remarks at the Sept. 28 dedication ceremony. “This building is indeed spectacular. However most inspiring of all it Elon’s courage and wisdom to place the KLC in the heart of campus attached to the Belk Library.”
Koenigsberger said the location allows “convenient and seamless access” to the cumulative resources of the KLC for the entire student body. The Academic Advising and Disabilities Resources programs had been located in Duke Building while tutoring services, now called Learning Assistance, had been located in Belk Library.
“Through this new center, Elon is providing a one-of-a-kind, cutting-edge learning facility with increased staffing and programming, ample and inviting spaces for student learning and support, advanced assistive technologies, and dynamic partnerships for a holistic offering of student services,” said President Connie Ledoux Book. “And to be honest, we’ve just put our toe in the water. We are going to be learning a lot over the next few years about how to be more effective together.”
Along with consolidating these resources into a central space, the new center is also responding to the increased demand for the broad range of services these three programs provide, said Becky Olive-Taylor, executive director of Koenigsberger Learning Center and director of academic advising.
Last year, Elon saw more than 4,000 academic advising visits and more than 4,500 tutoring sessions, Olive-Taylor said. The Disabilities Resources staff managed hundreds of consultations with students, proctored more than 2,600 tests and exams, and trained and monitored 50 active peer academic coaches who delivered more than 400 mentoring sessions, she said.
“With the addition of this beautiful space and increased awareness around academic support services, these numbers will continue to increase,” Olive-Taylor said. “Over the summer we experienced first-hand the excitement prospective families felt as they made phone calls to our offices wanting to know about services in the Koenigsberger Learning Center.”
The center includes an assistive technology lab, a conference room for staff and families to discuss student academic needs and 18 new testing rooms that will be available for students to study or work on group projects in the evenings. The new facilities are just part of what’s been accomplished through the generosity of the Koenigsbergers, Olive-Taylor said.
“Their gift is forever magnified by the creation of a true learning commons with partnership not only among colleagues in the KLC but also with colleagues in Belk Library, Teaching and Learning Technologies, and the Writing Center,” Olive-Taylor said. “We are more than the sum of our parts and pledge to become a model of support and cooperation in the service of student access and success.”
The center is also supported by an endowment funded by Richard and Gail Morris and their son, James, a member of the Class of 2019. The Morris-Miller Endowment for Learning will generate funds earmarked to obtain or update assistive technology in the new Koenigsberger Learning Center.
The assistive technology lab in the Koenigsberger Learning Center is being outfitted with a wide variety of tools, including adaptive hardware such as specialized keyboards, mice and LiveScribe pens as well as software designed to address a range of needs. These include magnification software, screen readers and powerful text-to-speech tools, among others. There will also be tools in the lab with the capability to convert inaccessible documents to alternative formats. The Morris-Miller Endowment for Learning will help provide regular updates or additions to such learning enhancements, ensuring that Elon students have access to the latest technologies.