JCU Education Central - James Cook University

Project Details

Architects
Wilson Architects with Architects North

Award
Winner Category 2 - New Construction Major Facility

Address
1 James Cook Drive, Townsville Qld 4811

Submitter
Hamilton Wilson

Cost
$16.76M

Photographer
Christopher Frederick Jones

Project Overview

Education Central is the new front door to the university. It follows a student-led / staff-assisted model of service that was developed specifically for JCU. Based on the latest retail service models, students have a choice of service points and access to interview rooms and pods, and flexible furniture. 

JCU identified a need to upgrade its Townsville Campus to improve student services and to support contemporary methods of teaching and learning. In so doing, it had the opportunity to create an environment that better reflected JCU's tropical identity, and to build a stronger sense of community among the staff and students. The first step was a comprehensive research program including staff and student interviews, and area/use studies of the whole campus. The research covered all areas of the student experience. These insights became the basis of a plan to revitalise the campus with JCU Education Central at its heart.

Housing both Student Services and the School of Education, Education Central is the new front door to the university. Student services functions follow a student-led / staff-assisted model of service that was developed specifically for JCU. Based on the latest retail service models, students have a choice of service points (from self-service to fully assisted), access to interview rooms and pods, and flexible furniture.

The new spaces encourage staff away from traditional 'stand and deliver' 'master teacher' delivery modes inviting them, instead to: harness the power of collaborative learning where students actively engage and interact in the learning process rather than listen (or not) to talking heads; explore the promise of peer-to-peer learning in technologically supported spaces; allow for individual reflective learning in quiet in-door and out-door spaces, and so on. Where previously students left the University once they had finished class, Education Central has exceeded our expectations in creating a 'sticky campus' where communities of students more readily cohere and augment their opportunities to learn.

In its particular configuration of space, Education Central provides opportunities to teach more efficiently, particularly in the technology-enhance active learning spaces. Thus, networked and connected learning, hallmarks of next generation learning paradigms, have been coupled with longer-term budgetary savings.

This page last updated: Monday 21 April 2014