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UT Arlington Libraries’ new lab to foster transformative learning for inventors, artists, engineers and entrepreneurs

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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

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Media Contact: Bridget Lewis, Office:817-272-3317, Cell:214-577-9094, blewis@uta.edu

News Topics: art, business, education, engineering, innovation, research, students

The University of Texas at Arlington Libraries has announced plans to significantly expand creative services, spaces and technologies during fall 2015, when a 24-hour laboratory for Creation, eXploration and Innovation, or CXI Space, will launch in the Central Library.

The CXI Space will launch fall 2015 in the Central Library.

The CXI Space will be a “makerspace” built upon the expertise of UT Arlington faculty, alumni, industry thought-leaders and the philanthropic investment of corporate and private partners. Makerspaces are a fast developing phenomenon worldwide, bringing together diverse inventors in a technology-rich space to create, test ideas and innovate.

Rebecca Bichel, dean of the UT Arlington Libraries, said the CXI Space is unique in Texas.

“It’s an ambitious plan that we developed due to overwhelming demand by students seeking extended access to industry-driven technologies to prepare them for their careers,” Bichel said. “The CXI Space will provide students with a competitive advantage in the job market by extending classroom learning.”

UT Arlington faculty and students will have round-the-clock access to technologies, such as 3D printers, 3D scanners and laser cutters. There will also be simulation and digital media software and hardware, and robotics in a hands-on laboratory for practical application of the theoretical design concepts learned in the classroom.

Ronald L. Elsenbaumer, UT Arlington provost and vice president for academic affairs, said the technology makeup of the CXI Space will address the needs of today’s graduates in their respective disciplines.

“Students will become better-equipped with problem-solving skills, technical expertise and real-world experience in iterative design, data application and entrepreneurial invention,” Elsenbaumer said. “The collaboration among the sciences and arts will be impactful to the University and community at large.”

Bichel added the Central Library is the right place for such a facility because it is open 24-hours, and because libraries have a long tradition of democratizing access.

“This is a natural extension of our mission, and an opportunity to serve an emerging need of our students and faculty,” she said. “The innovative space will be a collaborative laboratory for all types of innovators, inventors and entrepreneurs wanting to apply and hone design process skills using industry-driven technologies.”

Entrepreneurs-in-residence and makers-in-residence will enrich learning through applied projects and entrepreneurial mentoring.

Development of partnerships with nearby school districts will allow the Libraries to extend an invitation to middle and high school students to experience the robust learning environment. Future collaborations with industry and civic organizations will shape opportunities for community access to this one-of-a-kind facility.  

UT Arlington Libraries is currently seeking UT Arlington alumni and industry thought leaders to participate in focus groups and interviews to inform the development of the CXI Space. Contact Rebecca Bichel, rbichel@uta.edu, for more information.

The University of Texas at Arlington is a comprehensive research institution and the second largest institution in The University of Texas System. The Chronicle of Higher Education ranked UT Arlington as the seventh fastest-growing public research university in 2013. U.S. News & World Report ranks UT Arlington fifth in the nation for undergraduate diversity. Visit www.uta.edu to learn more. Follow #UTAdna on Twitter.

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The University of Texas at Arlington is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer.