Miami University's newly constructed Voice of America Learning Center (VOALC) opened today (Jan. 12) with the first class, Environmental Biology 121, taught by Brian Keane, associate professor of zoology.
As classes began 269 undergraduates were registered for 1,549 student credit hours spread across 18 classes. Associate degree students numbered 113, and 137 students have baccalaureate degrees as their declared goal. The average age of the undergraduate students was 27.
There also were 93 graduate students registered for 360 student credit hours in 9 master's of education courses offered by the School of Education, Health and Society.
The 23,000-square-foot facility offers Miami's nationally renowned academic undergraduate and graduate courses and programs, together with work-force development and customized training opportunities for business, industry, school districts and government agencies.
When fully scheduled the VOALC can support up to 80 classes per week. The facility has three 40-seat classrooms (including one tiered classroom equipped for videoconferencing), two 24-seat classrooms, a 150-seat auditorium that also serves as a classroom, seminar room, and a twelve-station computer classroom.
Miami's Hamilton and Middletown regional campuses coordinate undergraduate courses at the VOALC. Current graduate course offerings are from the School of Education, Health and Society. Beginning in fall 2009 the Farmer School of Business will offer its Professional MBA program at the VOALC, with classes scheduled in evenings and weekends to meet the needs of working professionals.
Miami's Corporate & Community Institute is located at the VOALC, providing contract training to meet the needs of regional employers as well as professional development training. Alumni Career Services from Miami's Alumni Association also has a base of operations at the VOALC to provide increased access to their services for alumni in the region.
The Learning Center planning began with discussions between Miami University, West Chester Township, and Butler County officials in March 1995. Miami applied for its 20-acre site to the U.S. Department of Education in July 1996, and received title to the land in December 2000. Ground was broken for the new facility in September 2007, and a ribbon cutting ceremony was held in November 2008.
A formal dedication ceremony is planned for April 2009.