Middle Tennessee State University has been recognized globally by Newsweek magazine as among the Best Maker Schools in Higher Education 2021.
The universities, community and junior colleges, vocational and trade schools included on the Best Maker Schools in Higher Education list are those with curricula that encourage learning by doing; are supported by educators committed to collaborative problem-solving; have well-developed makerspaces, labs, and studios; and which support diverse, interactive communities that engage in knowledge and skill sharing.
Newsweek partnered with Make, publisher of the Make: magazine and books, to develop the list, which highlights institutions with innovative programs that demonstrate the ingenuity and community engagement that are hallmarks of the maker movement.
Only three Tennessee schools — MTSU, Tennessee Tech University and Vanderbilt University — are on the non-ranked list, which also includes universities such as Brown, Princeton, Yale and UCLA in the U.S.; Cambridge University in the United Kingdom; Universidad de Lima in Peru; and University of Lagos in Nigeria, to name a few.
The list was generated by recommendation through a survey tool in collaboration with an international community of educators, administrators, students and maker leaders.
To be considered for the list, recommended schools had to demonstrate excellence or competency in the following areas:
- Integrated learning-through-doing orientation
- Mentoring/guidance/coaching for making
- Physical makerspaces/fablabs/workshops/studios
- Accessible spaces and tools that support independent, collaborative projects
- A diverse, active community of makers
MTSU’s James E. Walker Library is home to the Makerspace, a one-stop shop on the second floor that provides students and faculty with access to robotics, electronics, sewing, computers, software, laser etchers, button-making, virtual reality technology and 3D printing, among other resources.
“The Makerspace serves as an innovative hub for interdisciplinary experiential learning with a robust selection of technologies and support,” Walker Library Dean Kathleen Schmand said. “I am thrilled for the staff and faculty of MTSU to be recognized for their critical work in designing and supporting experiential learning on campus. The Makerspace is a vital part of the library’s services and I look forward to seeing it grow.”
The university’s Experiential Learning (EXL) program also emphasizes learning-by-doing, providing students with a variety of hands-on learning opportunities in and outside the classroom while encouraging faculty members to incorporate such opportunities in their curriculum.
— Jimmy Hart (Jimmy.Hart@mtsu.edu)