The Franklin College community gathered on Friday, Feb. 10 to dedicate the Center for Tech Innovation (CTI) on campus. A reception and self-guided facility tours immediately followed.
“With the Center for Tech Innovation, we are expanding the concept of engaged, immersive learning and opening the door to new synergy,” said Franklin College President Kerry N. Prather. “We welcome partners to collaborate with the Franklin faculty and staff and to provide our students with even further access to opportunities for hands-on learning and practice in the skills that will prepare them for careers.”
Prather went on to say that research has shown that an education in the liberal arts and sciences is the most effective preparation for the rapidly changing economy of today and tomorrow. Franklin has kept pace with that reality by adding digital proficiency to the list of essential skills that best equip its graduates for not only their first jobs, but for the many likely changes in their evolving professional careers.
“As I have said often since we began this exciting initiative, the digital fluency initiative is evidence that this is not your parents’ liberal arts college,” Prather said.
The CTI serves as the hub for the college’s newly created digital fluency initiative. It provides collaboration and workspace for students, faculty and staff members to explore new technologies and interact with one another, as well as industry partners on innovative projects and initiatives.
The facility includes a 3-D printer, makerspace, podcast studio, virtual reality space and headsets, and other resources necessary to produce graduates who are tech fluent.
“The tech the students are using today will be obsolete in a few short years,” said Andrew Rosner, the college’s director of digital fluency. “So it is important that the center be a space that develops confidence to learn new things. It needs to be a space where students are allowed to learn, grow and sometimes fail.”
Franklin College has ramped up its efforts in digital fluency in recent years to better prepare students for the workforce after graduation. During the last two years, the college has established the Center for Tech Innovation; launched a competitive esports program on campus; and created a digital fluency initiative that serves as the capstone to the already transformative education at Franklin. Additionally, the college received a $1 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc., through its initiative, Charting the Future for Indiana’s Colleges and Universities. Part of the initiative’s phase two round of funding made in 2020, the grant is helping the college strengthen technology integration and expand learning opportunities.
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Founded in 1834, Franklin College is a residential liberal arts and sciences institution located 20 minutes south of Indianapolis. Franklin offers a wide array of undergraduate majors as well as master’s degree programs in Physician Assistant Studies and Athletic Training. The unique curriculum merges classroom instruction with immersive experiences, research opportunities and study away programs. Students participate in 21 NCAA Division III sports, esports, Greek life, musical and theatre productions and more than 40 student organizations. As the first college in Indiana to become coeducational with the admission of women, Franklin welcomes diversity of thought, belief and person into a community that values equity and inclusion. Franklin College maintains a voluntary association with the American Baptist Churches USA. For more information, visit www.FranklinCollege.edu. Find Franklin College on Facebook and follow @FranklinCollege on Twitter.