ISELF: It's not about the building
Wednesday, August 21, 2013
University officials call ISELF the game-changer, the facility that will inspire how students learn and faculty work.
"It's not about the building," intoned Steven Rosenstone, chancellor of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system.
A remarkable observation for someone standing before the new $45 million, four-level, 100,000 square-foot Integrated Science and Engineering Laboratory Facility (ISELF), near the center of the St. Cloud State campus.
Yet, Rosenstone's suggestion that ISELF is people-powered set the tone at the Aug. 21 grand opening.
People in St. Paul got the project rolling. Planning and construction costs for ISELF were authorized by governors and Legislatures from both major political parties.
"When we come together, from both sides of the aisle, when people work together, and we focus on the common good, we can accomplish great things," said Rosenstone. "Their vision was about the people whose lives would be changed because of this facility."
"It's about the faculty whose dedicated work in delivering an extraordinary education to our students will unfold. It's about the people of Minnesota who will benefit from the contributions and accomplishments of our graduates. And, it's about the students whose lives will be changed, in fundamental ways, by the learning and mentoring experiences that will serve them for their lives," Rosenstone said.
Former dean of the College of Science and Engineering, David DeGroote, conceptualized a facility in which laboratory space would be temporarily allocated to projects and teams of people, not permanently given to campus entities. He famously said: “They’ll come. They’ll work. They’ll leave.”
President Earl H. Potter III saluted DeGroote as "a visionary" and then asked him to cut the ceremonial ribbon.
Kristin Gulrud, assistant professor of biological sciences, remarked that ISELF will allow for more and better industry-student-faculty collaborations, across disciplinary lines.
"Real life is about teamwork," said Gulrud. "ISELF will expose our students to collaborations where they can learn to work effectively in a team."
Central Minnesota businesses, including more than 50 precision manufacturing companies, can prototype new processes using ISELF space and student-faculty ingenuity, school officials say.
"We have the courage, and are committed to being changed by our partners. That's one of the most special things this learning environment, the ISELF, will do for us."
Lindsey Gunnerson, a junior biomedical science student and vice president of Student Government, noted that ISELF will help students live the University's tagline: "Think. Do. Make a difference."
"Employers are looking to hire students that have not only had an opportunity to think in college, but have also had the opportunity to do hands-on work, unique work and collaborative work," she said.
Said Gunnerson: "This building is an investment in our education and the future workforce."
ISELF goes into service fall semester, completing the three-part Science Initiative that creates St. Cloud State's science campus for the future. The $14.5 million addition to the Wick Science Building was completed in January 2009. The $15 million renovation of Brown Hall was finished in December 2009.
St. Cloud State is the largest of the 31-schools in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system.
St. Cloud State University