With a ribbon-cutting ceremony Oct. 2, Wesleyan unveiled a facility that enables Wesleyan to focus resources, encourage curricular innovation, original research and scholarship, and foster greater public understanding and responsibility.
The Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life, which occupies the renovated Davenport Campus Center, will emphasize its academic engagement with the public sphere. The center continues Wesleyan’s commitment to preparing students for lives as active citizens and for leadership. It seeks to support Wesleyan’s tradition of the scholar-teacher by encouraging faculty research in a manner that directly benefits and enhances student learning.
The Center reflects changes that have transpired across the social scientific disciplines. These include the creation of new multidisciplinary ventures, the growing number of studies employing multiple methodologies, and the rethinking of the idea of the public in a variety of intellectual and social movements. In addition, university-based intellectuals have been rethinking their connection to the greater public and, consequently, are forging knowledge-seeking alliances with innovators and leaders in government and the corporate world.
The Allbritton Center is made possible by the generous support of Robert ’92 and Elena ’93 Allbritton. Robert Allbritton is serving as a Wesleyan Board-Elected Trustee through 2015. The building was completed 1904 and dedicated to John Scott Bell, Class of 1881, who died as a result of an illness contracted during the Spanish-American War. Scott Lab, as it was known on campus, was remodeled and opened in 1984 as Davenport Student Center. With the opening of Usdan University Center, the building has returned to academic use as the Allbritton Center.
This renovation featured a comprehensive approach to sustainability, including maximizing operational efficiencies while minimizing environmental impacts. As a result of this effort, the U.S. Green Building Council has awarded the Allbritton Center renovation its highly-prized Gold LEED Certification.
The Allbritton Center hosts the following, among others:
The Shapiro Creative Writing Center provides a locus for students and faculty seriously engaged with writing. It houses offices for visiting writers teaching in the proposed certificate program or in the English Department’s concentration in creative writing, as well as an office for one of the Writing Workshop’s Ford Writing Fellows. John Shapiro ’74 and Shonni Silverberg M.D. ’76 of New York City made this exciting writers’ space possible through their generous gift in 2009. It includes offices, a comfortable lounge with shelving for books of interest to writers, and a workroom for student literary publications. The writing center is located on Level 3.
The Quantitative Analysis Center (QAC) prepares today’s students for success in an information-driven future through the close collaboration of Wesleyan’s faculty with the Center’s staff. It provides support for quantitative analysis across the curriculum. In addition, the QAC provides opportunities for students to develop a practical quantitative analytical skill set, support students and faculty whose work involves data analysis, and enhances Wesleyan University’s appeal to new faculty engaged in quantitative research.
The Feminist, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program focuses on constructions of gender and sexuality in relation to race, class, and ethnicity, and employs feminist and other critical methodologies to interrogate the historical and contemporary, local and transnational, forces underlying social and economic injustice and inequality in an effort to promote greater possibilities for freedom and social justice. The Program sponsors an annual Symposium, Faculty Salons, and the Diane Weiss Memorial Lecture.
Instructional Media Services (IMS) is a student-staffed organization under ITS that provides high-quality technology services for the Wesleyan community. Three professional employees and a large student staff are responsible for the campus computing labs, deploying and supporting the multimedia classrooms and conference rooms, and videotaping and webcasting campus events.
More photos of the Allbritton Center are online at http://www.wesleyan.edu/allbritton/gallery.html