Humanities Dept. Unveils New Lab, New Name At Open House

SOCORRO, N.M. January 15, 2010 -- The department formerly known as Humanities is inviting the campus to a special open house Monday afternoon to unveil its new technical communications lab and to officially christen its new name.

  Dr. Mary Dezember, the chair of the newly christened Communication, Liberal Arts, Social Sciences department, shows off the new Technical Communications lab in the first floor of Fitch Hall. At right is student Victoria Carreon.

The Department of Communication, Liberal Arts, Social Sciences – or CLASS – is hosting “2010: A TC Odyssey” from 1 to 3 p.m. Monday, Jan. 18, in the lower level of Fitch Hall.

The new department name was selected to represent the expertise and disciplines of the department. “Long overdue, this name reflects the areas of expertise in research and teaching of our department and what we provide to our institution and our students,” department chair Dr. Mary Dezember said.

She said she wanted to invite the campus to be the first to warp into the new decade by visiting the newly-renovated Technical Communication Lab. The updated lab offers, in fascinating style, what students of the technological 21st century want and need for communication, collaboration and research.

“I’m excited for the additional visibility for the department,” Dezember said. “Technical Communication is such an incredible minor for students to add. For students not interested in TC as a major, they may want to consider a minor when they see the facilities we have and see the way we are accommodating our students' needs.”

“The lab is truly a work of art, designed by Tech Architect Dan Jones,” Dezember said. “So, come to the TC Lab Open House, buckle on those warp speed safety harnesses, and let the odyssey begin!”

   Nida Stewart, a student in Technical Communications, spent Friday installing new equipment, including computers and flat screen monitors.


Professors Clint Lanier and Julie Ford, department administrative secretary Ann Hewitt and others in the department contributed to the plans. James Martin and Leo Guerra of Facilities Management supervised the engineering and construction, and many others contributed to this incredible enterprise, Dezember said.

Lanier formerly worked at IBM and wanted the Technical Communication lab to resemble a legitimate corporate workspace.

“In the real world, workstations are dynamic and interesting, high tech and a bit quirky,” he said. “I asked the architects to look at a lab at Google – an environment where our students may be working. They took my note about Google and that’s what they did – bright colors, corrugated steel wainscoting and different flooring. Nothing else on campus looks like this.”

The lab will have computers for student use and a large flat screen monitors for collaborative use. However, since most students have their own laptops, Lanier said the department envisioned the lab as a combination lab and lounge, where students can gatheR for group projects and interaction.

The room is equipped with WIFI access so students can access the web via laptop. He also hopes to install software on departmental servers that can be accessed via laptop.

“You could put this lab at IBM or Macintosh or Google,” Lanier said. “It looks like one of their labs and that’s what I’m really proud of.”

The department is also embarking on another exciting odyssey of a new decade in a new century at Tech. January 18 represents the launch date of the official new department name: the Department of Communication, Liberal Arts, Social Sciences.

“The name expresses the scope and foci of what we do and who we are,” Dezember said. “As it is just a bit long – since we provide so many disciplines for the institution in one department, a fact we are committed to, dedicated to, and proud of – using our acronym is also appropriate:  CLASS. As we have always known, but now we can officially say, Tech has CLASS.”

– NMT –

By Thomas Guengerich/New Mexico Tech