Health Sciences Sector set to foster collaborative learning, research

Published: August 22, 2017
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Auburn University’s new Health Sciences Sector is bringing together its School of Nursing and the Harrison School of Pharmacy’s Pharmaceutical Research Building in one complex to support advanced innovations and collaborations.

The location at the southwest corner of South Donahue Drive and Lem Morrison Drive was chosen as the site for the Health Sciences Sector—part of the university’s master plan—because of its proximity to the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine’s Auburn campus.

School of Nursing Building

The new 89,000-square-foot home for the School of Nursing, which opened this summer, is the first at Auburn specifically built and designed for nursing education. By relocating to a building more than four times larger than Miller Hall—home to the School of Nursing since its inception in 1979—the school has room for more students and additional faculty. Its design provides students and faculty with spaces specifically to foster learning and research initiatives.

"Learning spaces are functional and diverse," explained Assistant Professor Caralise Hunt. "Each space is meant to enhance learning by utilizing various teaching and learning methods."

The new building has two lecture-style classrooms, which can be used for traditional lecture, as well as collaborative learning and group work space and one Engaged Active Student Learning classroom. A large commons area—90 feet long and three floors high—fosters a sense of community, where students and faculty can interact outside the classroom.

"We deliberately planned spaces for our students, as well as for interdisciplinary collaborations," explained Jean Dubois, associate clinical professor and director of outreach for the school.

Pharmaceutical Research Building

"Laboratory research at the Harrison School of Pharmacy continues to grow and every day becomes a bigger part of what we do here," said Lee Evans, former dean who led the effort to construct the building. "We have some of the finest research scientists in the country that have helped our research and graduate programs grow exponentially over just the past few years."

To continue growing, a Pharmaceutical Research Building became a necessity. The 37,000-square-foot facility, which also opened this summer, has space for 14 principal investigators and more than 80 graduate students and research assistants. On each floor, several faculty members share a single, large, laboratory space. The absence of walls dividing the space facilitates collaborations and dynamic laboratory space assignments.

The number of students in Auburn’s pharmacy graduate program has more than doubled in recent years, and the addition of the new building will allow the program to further grow and develop.

"Combined with the high level of research activity that will be housed in the new building and the campus-wide resources available at Auburn, we will have one of the best environments in the Southeast to pursue graduate study in the pharmaceutical sciences," said David Riese, associate dean for research and graduate programs. "We anticipate that this will greatly enhance our ability to recruit, train and educate graduate students."

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Auburn University is a nationally ranked land grant institution recognized for its commitment to world-class scholarship, interdisciplinary research and an undergraduate education experience second to none. Auburn is home to more than 29,000 students, and its faculty and research partners collaborate to develop and deliver meaningful scholarship, science and technology-based advancements that meet pressing regional, national and global needs. Auburn's commitment to active student engagement, professional success and public/private partnership drives a growing reputation for outreach and extension that delivers broad economic, health and societal impact. Auburn's mission to educate, discover and collaborate drives its expanding impact on the world.