McKeon Residence Hall Used for Class

This is not the first time Residence Hall lounges have doubled for classrooms, according to Dean of Students at FCLC Keith Eldredge. (JESS LUSZCZYK/The Observer)

This is not the first time Residence Hall lounges have doubled for classrooms, according to Dean of Students at FCLC Keith Eldredge. (JESS LUSZCZYK/The Observer)

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This is not the first time Residence Hall lounges have doubled for classrooms, according to Dean of Students at FCLC Keith Eldredge. (JESS LUSZCZYK/The Observer)

By JUSTIN REBOLLO and SHERRY YUAN
Assistant News Co-Editor and Staff Writer
Published: January 28, 2015

Part of McKeon Residence Hall is acting as an academic building this semester with two sections of Math for Business Calculus being held on the 22nd floor. The lounge, already equipped with a projector and whiteboards, officially doubles as a classroom. Although this is a first for McKeon, the concept of class being taught outside the classroom is not a new one for Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC). 

“In the past, professors would occasionally teach a class in fifth floor lounge in McMahon Hall, if they needed a different setting,” Dean of Students at FCLC, Keith Eldredge said.

Jenifer Campbell, director of Residential Life at FCLC, said, “It was a natural segue with McKeon Hall that we continue the same tradition. Professors teaching integrated learning community courses [now] have the option to have sessions in the [McKeon] building if they choose to do so.”

According to Rev. Vincent DeCola S.J., assistant dean and program advisor for the Gabelli School of Business at Lincoln Center (GSBLC), who is teaching the class, the decision to use McKeon 2205 resulted from both the necessity for space and the drive to facilitate integrated learning. “[The decision was made] partially out of default. McKeon Hall has allowed for us to grow our numbers; however, we haven’t grown our space yet – especially our classroom space,” he said.

Timing also contributed to the decision to hold the classes later in the afternoon. Eldredge added, “As classroom availability is tighter in the night than it is during the day, with graduate school and professional continuing studies classes being taught [in Lowenstein], we were looking at a class time later on in the day.”

The two sections are being held back-to-back on Mondays and Thursdays, from 4:00 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. For those living in the building, including DeCola himself, it will mean a short commute.

“Another reason why I thought it would be a good idea to teach a calculus class [in McKeon] was because the vast majority of students taking the class are in their freshman year,” he said. 

For commuters taking the class, Eldredge said, “It is simply a matter of signing up. Father Vin has given a list of those students [enrolled] to public safety.”

“The security guard has been very good about keeping that list,” DeCola said.

Beyond the need for space, DeCola sees the decision as a way to realize the concept of integrated learning. He said,  “Using the room is homage to the idea that learning should be able to take place in all aspects of life, beyond the cube known as the classroom.”

According to Eldredge, “Having a classroom in a residence hall has some attractiveness to it. There is [certainly] a distinction between your academic life and intellectual pursuits, and your social life and living space. To some extent, we want to a see a merger [of these], as the hallmark of Jesuit education is being a well-rounded person.”

Campbell, on her initial reaction to DeCola’s proposal, said, “Wonderful. It gives an opportunity for learning to take place outside the traditional classroom setting.”

The class already experienced a bump in the road during the first week of class, when issues with room reservations forced the class to be held in an available room in the Law School. 

As for the rest of the semester, DeCola affirms that McKeon Hall will be reserved for the classes during that period. 

Even though 2205 will be used as a classroom, Eldredge maintains that “first and foremost, [McKeon 2205] is a residence hall lounge, and we want it to be available for students living in the building who need the space. It is a pilot experiment. We don’t know how many professors are interested, or what bumps we’ll encounter, but if it works well, it’ll likely continue.”