The Think Center is both a place and a collection of services. The project is an initiative of the Learning Enhancement Center at The University of Southern Mississippi initially funded under grant from the U.S. Department of Education.
With an emphasis on the processes of teaching and learning, the Think Center offers an integrated approach to student success by connecting three important elements: student engagement, instructional support, and learning spaces. These components converge to support active learning and engagement, enrich educational experiences, and emphasize the holistic nature of learning.
About the Think Center
The Think Center project came from an idea to connect student and faculty development to problem-solving in a holistic manner. Staff members work with both students and faculty to customize effective techniques; provide opportunities for investigation, communication, and implementation; and reinforce practices that contribute to academic progress.
Work with our instructional specialist to investigate, design, and assess innovative teaching strategies. Observe students working together in informal groups and collaborative environments. Be part of a learning community committed to exploring solution-oriented approaches to instruction. Systematically evaluate and integrate new approaches to instruction with the support of an instructional designer and your colleagues.
Contact Staci Cox, Instructional Specialist (firstname.lastname@example.org or 601-266-6899) for more information or to request an appointment.
Current instructional initiatives include:
Provide individualized instructional support
Share resources and materials for effective teaching
Faculty learning communities
Prepare graduate students for teaching
Showcase and disseminate effective instructional strategies and best practices
Informal application studios
Instructional Implications series
Lunch and Learns
Seminars, workshops, and brown bags
Educators Connect conference
Support and facilitate other faculty development programs
Learning is not always easy, and it takes practice. The Think Center asks students to reflect on how they approach learning, consider what they can do to be successful, and use creative, critical thinking skills to improve as learners.
Become a Think Center member to take advantage of all the services.
Think Center members have access to physical spaces that supports learning, and faculty can reserve our facilities for class meetings. On the Hattiesburg campus, International Center 319 is equipped with flexible, collaborative furnishings to provide opportunities for students to work in small groups, interact with others, and experience real-world team and learning environments. IC 318 is our experimental classroom which supports the integration of design thinking approaches with teaching and learning. The Gulf Coast Think Center is in Room 101 of the Gulf Park library.
Yes, the Gulf Coast Think Center is located on the first floor of the Gulf Park Library in Long Beach, and Learning Enhancement Center staff travel to the coast for training sessions and events. Additionally, we welcome faculty from any teaching site to our events in Hattiesburg.
Yes, classroom observation can be a very valuable exercise. The Instructional Designer is available to attend class meetings to reflect on instructional practices and make suggestions for incorporating new strategies and activities. This is only done by request and usually results in a rich partnership between the content expert and the instructional specialist.
Faculty have the opportunity to work with an instructional specialist to investigate, design, develop,and assess innovative teaching strategies. Faculty will be able to observe students working and learning together, and will have access to professional development that is focused on implementing design thinking principles in the classroom. Finally, faculty will have a venue to collaborate with others to enrich their instructional methods.
Yes, it is. The Think Center and Learning Enhancement Center facilities may be reserved for occasional use. To give everyone chances to use our active learning spaces, no one is allowed to schedule class meetings on a regular basis, but the rooms can be booked for occasional use. You will meet with our staff to explain the defined outcomes so we can design the optimal experience for you and your students. Please complete a Room Reservation Request Form to begin the process.