Inside the Academic Innovation Center
Jul 24, 2018, by Staff Writer
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"The opening of the Academic Innovation Center is a strategic inflection point for Bryant University. We have created a world-class learning environment that aligns with Bryant's bold future. This transformational, world-class facility will be a legacy for generations to come." - Bryant University President Ronald K. Machtley

The Academic Innovation Center (AIC) is the pinnacle achievement in a 20-year period of unprecedented growth, innovation, and transformation at Bryant University. It is the result of an intensive five-year development and design process to create a vibrant learning laboratory that removes traditional physical and intellectual boundaries to teaching and learning.

Learn more in the President's Progress Report on Innovative Education.

A unifying space for all academic programs

"Environment shapes behavior, so when you change the environment, things change." - Michael Roberto, D.B.A., Trustee Professor of Management

The AIC is a state-of-the art facility that provides an active, immersive, and collaborative learning environment supporting all academic programs at Bryant University. The new 48,290 sq. ft. building is organized around the Innovation Forum, a highly flexible space whose furnishings and whiteboards can be reconfigured to support various collaborative group learning activities. The building features tiered classrooms, flat-floor flexible classrooms, and breakout spaces to accommodate multimodal presentations and learning. Prominently sited at the campus's main point of arrival, the AIC will welcome visitors and serve as the launching point for Admissions tours.

A café located near the building's main entrance and adjacent to the President's Walkway, the campus's central pedestrian circulation path, draws students and faculty to the AIC, further enhancing the strong synergies among the Bryant community.

 Bryant's innovative and entrepreneurial spirit

"The very nature of active and engaged learning means that all the participants have to do something. That idea of doing something is really fostering and ingenerating the entrepreneurial spirit."  - Kip Ellis, Lead Architect, EYP Architecture & Engineering

The AIC is designed to promote the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit that characterizes the Bryant experience. Bryant partnered with the EYP Architecture & Engineering create a space that accomplishes the following:

  • Enables continuous innovation in what we teach and how we teach to create an optimal environment for learning.
  • Removes the intellectual and physical boundaries to teaching and learning. Allows educators the freedom to develop the most effective ways of teaching and learning beyond traditional pedagogies and expectations.
  • Builds critical thinking skills within and across disciplines to prepare students to create value in their communities and an increasingly interconnected global marketplace.


The AIC is intended to leverage best practices and technology to deliver highly energy efficient and sustainable building performance. In addition to the LEED certification process, the project team worked closely with NGRID, as part of their Advanced Buildings Program. Some of the innovative features include energy saving HVAC controls; a high efficiency HVAC system design; daylight harvesting and low wattage LED lighting design; improved thermal envelope; and high performance glazing. 

Academic Innovation Center Spaces

  • Innovation Forum
  • 5 tiered Classrooms
  • 5 Flat Classrooms
  • 1 divisible classroom
  • 23 breakout rooms
  • Admission Presentation Room
  • L'Artisan Café

Technology overview:

  • 40 Flat panel display screens
  • 12 Projection Units
  • 45 Wireless media units

A 155-year tradition of innovation

Keeping with Bryant's 155-year tradition of innovation, Bryant leaders and faculty continue to look ahead to ensure that students and the organization are well prepared to thrive no matter what the future holds. Higher education is changing, and Bryant is positioned to lead that change by developing curricula, pedagogies, and delivery systems that will prepare students for success, and create a legacy for generations to come.

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