Trent Semans Center holds first classes Jan. 2
When Leonard White, Ph.D., convenes his School of Medicine course on brain and behavior on Jan. 2, he will do so in a new building designed around the innovative way in which he teaches Duke medical students.
The class will be the first one to meet in the new Mary Duke Biddle Trent Semans Center for Health Education (TSCHE), a part of the dramatic transformation of the Duke medical campus. The striking new building was built to support School of Medicine's team-based learning model.
“There are still appropriate times and places for lectures in medical education, but we have been working hard to move into a pedagogy that reflects the real-life experiences of health care professionals,” said White, associate professor and director of education for the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences. “The details that make the opening of the Trent Semans Center so exciting are its flexibility and its ability to support small teams of students thinking and learning together.”
Construction is nearly complete on the six-story building adjacent to the Seeley G. Mudd Building and at the crossroads of the transformed medical campus. Its main entrance is just yards from the new Duke Cancer Center, the Duke Medicine Pavilion and Medical Center Library.
Each floor of the building is designed to bring together education spaces that are now spread throughout the medical campus.
“The Trent Semans Center is all about spaces – big spaces for large groups, medium spaces for labs and demonstrations, and small intimate niches for self-study,” said Edward G. Buckley, M.D., vice dean of medical education.
The building is configured for adaptation. Walls move, furniture is portable and technology allows for communication for anywhere to anywhere. Most important, Buckley said, the building is readily accessible because it is at the very heart of the medical campus.
Before the TSCHE, the brain and behavior course met in an amphitheater in the lower level of Duke Clinic for lectures, in rooms on the fourth floor of the Davison Building for small group sessions and in the gross anatomy lab in the lower level of that building to examine brain specimens.
In January, 100 first-year medical students and about dozen grad students from other parts of the university taking the brain and behavior course will use team-based learning environments on the second and third floors of the TSCHE. They will work primarily in teams of six to seven students. Med students learn with their team throughout their first year.
The centerpiece of the second floor is a 140-seat amphitheater with unique, extra-wide stadium-style tiers. On the third floor, six reconfigurable, networked teaching labs can support 25 students each, or be combined into larger groups by retracting movable walls.
As student moves through their time at the school, they will learn and hone clinical skills in model clinical exam rooms and surgical simulation center on the fifth floor. Student life will be centered on the fourth floor, which will provide a bright, comfortable student lounge, lockers, and kitchenette. Advisory deans, who provide one-on-one academic counseling, have their offices on the floor.
On the ground level is the 400-seat great hall, which can be opened up to the adjoining atrium to accommodate even larger groups.
“Through the building’s location, and its many configurable spaces, we can now achieve our aspiration to bring health professions learners together so that they can realize benefits from communicating and learning from each other,” Buckley said. “The center hopefully will serve as a resource for med, physician assistant and physical therapy students, as well as alumni and faculty and other life-long learners.”