Jacksonville University announced it is embarking upon renovations to create a first-of-its-kind, 30,000-square-foot facility dedicated to interdisciplinary science, technology, engineering, the arts, data science and mathematics studies on its Arlington campus. It is expected to be completed this fall.
The institute will be among the first of its kind in the country – a standalone space dedicated to STEAM studies, housing unique learning spaces for students in the sciences, engineering, and arts. The main disciplines that will use the space include students in animation, computing sciences, cybersecurity, data science, engineering, film, fintech, and graphic design. Students in the STEAM Institute will develop highly-valued skills in today’s workforce: creativity, collaboration, critical thinking and communication.
“The facility brings to our campus a dynamic and future-forward learning environment that will transform the student experience,” said Dr. Timothy Snyder, dean of the Linda Berry Stein College of Fine Arts & Humanities, which will play a central role in the curriculum and experiential learning activity at the STEAM Institute. “The strategic design and interspersion of learning environments in engineering and design, cybersecurity, financial investments, data science, software development, film and animation will encourage a range of creative endeavors and approaches while building a community of innovators and problem solvers.”
At the forefront of the project will be spaces unique to Jacksonville University and other institutions in the state, including a CyberRange simulation training center and FinTech Lab. A new undergraduate major and a master of business administration concentration in FinTech, or financial technology, will complement the creation of the new space. The interdisciplinary program will offer students courses at the intersection of finance, computer science, business analytics and data science. This innovative offering will be the first of its kind in Northeast Florida, a burgeoning hub for FinTech companies such as FIS, Black Knight, Deutsche Bank, SoFi and more.
“The future of higher education is at the intersection of disciplines,” said Dr. Barbara Ritter, dean of the Davis College of Business & Technology and Director of Career Services. “The interdisciplinary initiatives housed in the STEAM Institute will allow us not only to advance knowledge, but also to meet our industry partners’ needs and the desires of future students.”
Highlights of the new STEAM space include:
- The STEAM Institute’s CyberRange offers state-of-the-art technology that simulates an organizations’ network and includes applications to provide students with a safe environment to learn hands-on cybersecurity skills. Students can participate in hyper-realistic, simulated cyberattacks to test their knowledge and develop their skills. The Cyber Forensics Laboratory will complement the CyberRange as it provides space for students to examine, repair and extract data as well as analyze intrusion and malware. It will also be used to train law enforcement and support counterintelligence and Defense Industrial Base operations.
- The FinTech Lab at JU provides an experiential setting where students apply software, mobile applications, and other technologies that support wealth management, banking, and financial services. Students will learn A.I. and machine learning, big data analysis, and financial programming in the lab.
- The 2,200-square-foot Film and Media Studio serves as a space to produce high-quality visual and audio products while utilizing top-of-the-line industry cameras, lighting, audio and equipment. Students in animation, communication, dance, engineering, design and theater will collaborate in the space.
- Animation, Design and Illustration Studios are creative spaces for motion graphics, data visualization, creative entrepreneurship, 3D modeling, virtual reality, medical imaging, and 3D printing.
- In the Robotics Design space, students explore the precision movements of robotic systems by using computer programs to control a robotic combination of sensors and motorized wheels and actuators that can perform a complex task or drive through a maze.
- The Immersive Learning Studio is a scalable space to develop and leverage immersive simulation technology for instruction across multiple disciplines. This space supports the creation of original virtual reality content for both educational and entertainment applications in partnership with Media Arts. It also can be utilized in clinical nursing training, applied health sciences, aviation, military and global studies.
For more information on STEAM at Jacksonville University, visit ju.edu/steam.