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The 21st Century Classroom has Arrived


“A vision without a plan is a hallucination; Barb had the vision and the plan to go with it.” Vivek Choudhury, Dean, Daniels College of Business at the University of Denver(DU), stated at the June 3rd, 2022, dedication of the Marion J. Crean Collaboratory. Dean Choudhury told the story of his second day at DU when Dr. Barbara Jackson, director of the Burns School, came to him to request two classrooms be dedicated to a new model of how universities and businesses can work together in solving the issues of how humanity creates the places it lives and works. “Dedicating space for special interest classrooms is a tall order for any University.”  Dr. Jackson stated as she talked about the nine-year journey from idea to dedication of the Collaboratory on the 3rd.  

“The Collaboratory is where students can interact in real-time with industry professionals to understand the constantly changing technology and solve the issues facing companies with student research teams. Technology is changing faster than Universities and I can keep up with; this model keeps DU’s students at the forefront. My role is to facilitate the process…. The best part for me is, that I get to have this for my classes.” Stated Eric Holt, Ph.D., who gave a demonstration with a team of students to the large group of faculty, students, alumni, donors, and industry professionals who were in attendance.  


“Envision a classroom of the 21st century” is the tagline on the Daniels website Link Here. Dr. Jackson cut the Ribbon with the son of the Collaboratory namesake, Marion J. Crean, a woman who embodies the Pioneer spirit of DU, breaking barriers in athletics and business for future generations of women. Her son Michael, who gave the dedication on her behalf, spent over four decades of his life teaching at the Burn’s School. It was suggested initially, that the Collaboratory be named after Michael. Still, he insisted his mother be the namesake, a testament to his character. Many past students and professors shared their memories of how Michael changed the trajectory of their lives during his career at DU.  

The space is open and inviting in the main room, with a smaller interactive conference center that can be closed off if needed. The integration of technology is what sets this space apart; the center stage is surrounded by the Liquid Galaxy system utilized by major corporations to overlay data on Google Earth. Other walls contain a multiscreen data sandbox system, a series of movable whiteboards, and remote conferencing. As the center opens, Companies and Foundations across the country are interested in launching projects with DU. Many speakers described Michael Crean being the launch pad for their careers. The Collaboratory will be that space for students, foundations, and companies as this new integrated form of research, teaching, and industry problem-solving, commences at DU. For more information click on DU’s article here.

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