College of Science plans new lab teaching facility


Author(s): Nikita Singh, Purdue Exponent

Read the article in the Purdue Exponent.

The first new lab teaching facility at Purdue in nearly 50 years is being planned by the College of Science, bringing new equipment and new science courses with it. A plan for a state-of-the-art lab teaching facility was announced in early November, with the aim of strengthening links among departments within the College of Science, especially in chemistry and the biological sciences.

Patrick Wolfe, the Frederick L. Hovde Dean of the College of Science and the William F. and Patty J. Miller Professor of Statistics, said the new facility would introduce not only new courses, but also new methods of teaching. “Co-locating biological sciences and chemistry means that for the first time we’ll be able to design and teach courses that span these two fields,” Wolfe said. “We’re envisioning up to eight new jointly designed courses which will also support Purdue’s recent major investments in areas like the Pillars of Excellence in the Life Sciences, including the Purdue Institute for Drug Discovery.”

The new facility will also be supplied with new equipment.

Wolfe said the planning team has been touring labs across the country to get a better idea of the requirements for a successful lab in order “to create a very high-quality experience for every one of Purdue’s students and prospective students who set foot into this building.”

Purdue News reported that on the West Lafayette campus, roughly 60 percent of incoming freshmen are pursuing a science, technology, engineering or mathematics degree, and courses in science form part of the core curriculum for every student on campus.

This large number of students brought the need for a newer facility in addition to the current facilities, such as the Lilly Hall of Life Sciences and Brown Laboratory of Chemistry, which were constructed in 1950 and 1970 respectively. The new facility will help share lab support and space and keep costs down, according to Wolfe.

Students using the new facility will come from within and outside the College of Science, including colleges such as the College of Health and Human Sciences, the College of Engineering, the College of Agriculture and the College of Pharmacy.

“More than 30 percent of the incoming class will be using this planned new facility once it is built,” said Wolfe. “We calculate that fully 83 percent — more than four out of every five students — will be in the planned new building for classes.”

Internal planning for the facility has commenced within the departments at the College of Science and plans should be discussed at the Board of Trustees meeting in December.

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