Baker College

Baker College is a private, non-profit, fully accredited, degree granting, higher education institution with locations throughout Michigan. Baker prides itself with a 97% graduate employment rate.

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Location Muskegon, Michigan

Number of People Served 6,000+

Sales Representative Contact Information Jim Seibold, Seibold Baker & Associates

Designer The izzy+ team

The Need

As a college that's committed to preparing its students for the constantly changin workplace, Baker College approached the design team at izzy+ with a clear goal in mind: to design a classroom that can support-- and keep up with-- those changes.

"We wanted an environment that would bring collaboration-- that would bring in things like productivity, creativity, independent thought, and critical thinking," says Lee Coggin, JD, President of Baker College.

A highly flexible, adaptable learning environment was key to meeting those goals, as well as a space that supports classroom and 1:1 technology-- curriculum that calls for each student having access to a tablet or laptop.

Baker instructors, along with the izzy+ team, identified four key criteria in the classroom design that would help support the kind of teaching and learning needed:

  • Flexible orientation (there is no set "front" of the classroom)
  • No visual barriers to human interaction (clear views to and from different sides of the room)
  • Smart technology support (secure, powered storage and charging)
  • Mobile communication surgaces (with writable and tackable options)

The izzy+ solution

The result of the collaboration between the izzy+ design team and the faculty at Baker College is called "The Learning Port," a new classroom concept that supports the teaching and learning of 21st Century skills.

The Dewey collection and Hannah seating, all on casters, were the go-to products for meeting the criteria around technology needs, flexibility, and human-centered design.

"Dewey was designed specifically for ultimate flexibility," says izzy+ learning spaces expert, Brandon Reame. "It can quickly and easily be reconfigured in multiple ways throughout the day, depending on the subject matter and teaching styles. Dewey was also designed to integrate technology in smart ways, and to be durable enough to withstand all that movement and use."

The Baker College Learning Port features two Dewey table shapes-- rectangular and the unique 6-Top-- which can be arranged in a variety of layouts to facilitate small group discussion, large group presentations, and technology use. Dewey's mobile Help Desks, Lecturns, and Connection Carts support technology and information sharing from different vantage points around the room. To safely store the 1:1 classroom technology, izzy+ brought in its customs team to design a ventilated station that charges the 25+ devices while keeping them safe and cool.

Baker College administrators and staff say the finished space not only accommodates today's teaching and learning styles, it actually inspires new approaches and full student engagement.

"When you walk in this room you instantly appreciate the fact that you can shape what's about to take place," says Coggin. "Students want to play a key role in their education...I think when they see this classroom, they see a college that's committed to making them the center of what we're doing, both in terms of their future success and also in terms of their current learning." Baker's Vice President for Academics, Dr. DeAnna Burt, agrees.

"It's jsut transformational, when we think about even the mindset of students and faculty walking into that classroom," Burt says. "It compels a learning experience that's different from anything else the students have ever had."