Zick and DeGraaf Active Learning Classrooms 

The program also has state-of-the-art Zick and DeGraaf Active Learning Classrooms for our introductory classes, allowing for an interactive atmosphere throughout all phases of the physics coursework.

Zick Active Learning Classroom 

Made possible by a generous 2010 pledge from UM-Flint alum David G. Zick and his wife, Francine, the renovated classroom was completed in 2011 and officially dedicated in October of 2012. As a departure from isolating sit-and-listen lecture halls, the classroom is designed for face-to-face interaction between students and increased instructor-student interaction. Students sit at tables in groups of 5, with networked computer monitors positioned at the end of each table. The smaller environment reduces the distance between learner and the “up-front” screen, enabling students to work collectively on the day’s problems projected through the monitor.

Computer monitors in the Zick Classroom sit atop mobile red tool chests. The familiar mechanic-style hubs house various tools of the science trades, signaling the capacity for hands-on experiments in addition to conversation and computer work. A glance around the room at the remaining shelves and tables reveal the space to be a hybrid of sorts, consolidating lecture, discussion, and laboratory into one educational experience.

DeGraaf Active Learning Classroom

The classroom, made possible by a generous gift from David and Francine Zick, will be named in honor of Dr. Donald DeGraaf, a founding member of the UM-Flint Physics department who taught here from the year the university opened in 1956 until 1990. Like the Zick classroom, the DeGraaf Active Learning Classroom will be a departure from the typical lecture-style classrooms prevalent on college campuses. The design of the classroom is intended to promote dialogue between students and increase teacher-student interaction, using msall groups and activities developed to enhance hands-on learning by consolidating lecture, discussion, and lab work into one educational experience.

For his part, Dr. DeGraaf was touched by the honor. “For a student, simply listening is not learning; for a teacher, simply speaking is not teaching,” said DeGraaf. “Students, especially scientists, must learn with their hands, and this classroom will allow them to do just that and reach their full potential.”