HOW Space, the multipurpose collaborative space fostered by the College of Fine and Applied Arts for two years, officially transitioned into the Walker WORKspace this semester.
Over the summer, Walker College of Business acquired the space on Howard Street across from The Local while solidifying plans for the new Walker Experience, which encourages college of business students to “learn by doing” according to the Walker College of Business website.
Bob Stec, a management lecturer and experiential learning faculty fellow for the college, said access to the new space is the first step in bringing the Walker Experience’s goals of experiential learning and interdisciplinary collaboration to fruition.
Despite the transition, other departments, individuals and community members are still welcome to apply to use the space for events. Those interested can find the application on the Walker College of Business website under the facilities page. However, Stec said priority for booking will go to those affiliated with the college of business.
The purpose of the space is shifting; it will primarily serve as a supplement to the classroom. Stec said the intention is to create an environment that supports team-building, creative learning methods and interaction with industry professionals — which the traditional layout of Peacock Hall’s classrooms hinders.
Jacqueline Tilton, an assistant management professor who teaches business ethics, said she has already taught several classes in the workspace. She said the space helps her teach creatively. For her first class there, Tilton had her students practice civil discourse in rotating pairs.
“There’s no podium or separation, I can just sit with my students around a big table,” Tilton said.
In the future, she said she hopes to use the space for hosting guest experts who can offer direct feedback to students on their community projects.
This collaboration between the university and the wider community follows a precedent set by the students, community members and faculty-led steering committee. Their work transformed a former car showroom into an interdisciplinary community-facing venue, and laid the groundwork enabling the university to hold space downtown.
The previous director of HOW Space and assistant art professor IlaSahai Prouty worked with the town council, permitting the U1 University zoned space to exist within the B1 Central Business zone.
A part of the agreement was that all the work done at HOW Space was community inclusive. In the two years HOW Space was open, it hosted art shows, senior showcases, potlucks, pop-up shops, meetings, guest speakers and interdisciplinary events.
“I think the bones of the space and the history of the space are enough that any college, because of the way its zoned, would be able to support a wide variety of things,” Prouty said.