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New UMSL Undergrad Science Education Facility To Promote Interactive Learning

The University of Missouri-St. Louis has begun construction on a new science teaching facility.

The four-story addition to the Benton-Stadler science complex will house laboratories, lecture halls, and a central meeting space for students and faculty.

The dean of UMSL’s College of Arts and Sciences, Ron Yasbin, says science education used to mean students going to lectures on campus, and then working through homework problems on their own, outside of class.

“Nowadays we’re trying to do most of the problem-solving in groups, in the classroom, so that everybody learns how to solve the problems, and everybody learns how to think correctly,” Yasbin said. “And they do a lot of the basic lecture material as homework.”

Yasbin says UMSL’s new science facility will be designed to promote that kind of group-based learning, with more interactive lab and study spaces.

The UMSL administration had hoped the state would provide funding for the new addition.

But when that didn’t happen, the UM system issued bonds to cover the cost of the $32 million project.

“We just couldn’t wait any longer,” Yasbin said. “So we took rate budget cuts from across the entire university, and are putting that into the money that will be used to pay off the bonds.”

Yasbin says an additional $60 million will be needed to renovate existing science facilities in Stadler and Benton halls.

Follow Veronique LaCapra on Twitter: @KWMUScience