Milstein Center for Teaching and Learning

The Milstein Center for Teaching and Learning, at the heart of the campus, houses the Barnard Library and Academic Information Services along with Academic Centers that together provide research platforms and sustain robust services for students to facilitate their scholarly work. It serves as an open, accessible, and creative space to connect with and create information in a way that is engaging, fosters collaboration, and sparks new thinking. The Milstein Center is a home for scholarly exploration, innovation, and production, empowering the Barnard community collectively to challenge and expand methods and scholarship, mix and remix content, and create new conversations. It acts as a gateway to a creative frontier of information that can lead to brand new modes of teaching, learning, and discovery.

Barnard Library & Academic Information Services 

Barnard Library and Academic Information Services (BLAIS)  supports excellence and innovation in teaching and learning by providing exceptional research and instructional services, and connecting the Barnard community to extensive information resources. Located on floors 2, 3, and 4 of the Milstein Center for Teaching & Learning, BLAIS includes the Library, Instructional Media and Technology Services (IMATS), AV/Classroom Technologies, the Barnard Zine Library, and the Barnard Archives & Special Collections. 

The staff of the Barnard Library Circulation and Help Desk on the 2nd floor of the Milstein Center welcome you to ask questions and learn from us how to use the Barnard and Columbia Libraries collections in all formats. The Barnard Library is the Columbia University library specializing in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies as well as in Dance Studies. We also serve as a general undergraduate library with a thriving collection including humanities, social sciences, and texts used in courses. Our circulating collections in print and digital formats not only support our curriculum, but also the interdisciplinary work of students and faculty researching in the Barnard Archives and Special Collections and the many academic centers in the Milstein Center.

We have many specialized materials available for check-out. The internationally-renowned Barnard Zine Library is a collection of zines written by women with an emphasis on zines by women of color, trans women of all races and ethnicities, and zines on feminism and femme identity by people of all genders. Zines offer both contemporary and future researchers primary resource insights into today’s feminist culture. The circulating zines collection is on the second floor of the Milstein Center, while an archival collection is held in the Barnard Archives. We hold a focused collection of books in Art and Architecture to complement Columbia’s Avery Library holdings. The Avery Library collection is largely for library use only; the Barnard Library collection circulates. Our other special circulating collections include the Barnard Alum Collection; the Barnard BIPOC Alum Collection, which affirms the lives, histories, and imaginations of past and current Barnard students who are Black, Indigenous, and/or People of Color; the Barnard FLI Partnership Library, a textbook library for first-generation and/or low-income students, a partnership between the Barnard Library, the Columbia First-Generation Low-Income Partnership, and Barnard SGA; Course Reserves; and the Media Collection. 

The size of our collection makes our library browseable, and we welcome you to visit the shelves. We hold more than 130,000 circulating books, zines, journals, and media in the Milstein Center on floors 2, 3, and 4. Another 23,000 volumes reside in a retrievable storage facility; these are available for request in the shared Columbia University Libraries CLIO Catalog and will be delivered to Barnard Library for pickup. 

In addition, the Barnard Library operates as one of the Columbia University Libraries to contribute to and provide access to a world-class research collection. The Columbia University Libraries collections include over 11 million volumes, over 150,000 journals and serials, as well as extensive electronic resources, manuscripts, rare books, microforms, maps, and graphic and audio-visual materials.  

The Personal Librarian program connects each student and faculty member with a member of our research and instruction team, librarians specializing in academic disciplines across the curriculum. Incoming students are assigned to a personal librarian who will help them navigate library resources, build on their research interests, and explore new methods for research and scholarship. Personal librarians seek to understand student, faculty, and staff research needs, and provide individualized attention to the researcher through one on one consultation. As students select a major, the librarian affiliated with their field becomes a guide for the research process in advanced courses, and ultimately the senior project, thesis, or capstone. Librarians also provide instructional workshops in First Year Writing as well as foundational courses across the curriculum. They support both students and faculty in making connections from the course syllabus to the vast collections available at the  Barnard Library, within the Columbia University Library system, across the New York metropolitan area, and beyond. The Personal Librarians are partners for researchers seeking to build projects that utilize the Milstein Centers, serving as a point of connection to other Milstein specialists. 

The Barnard Archives and Special Collections collects and makes accessible materials that document campus and academic life at Barnard, as well as histories of feminism and dance. The mission of the Barnard Archives is pedagogical at its foundation. We provide source material to students, staff, alums, faculty, administrators, and other members of the Barnard College and Columbia University communities, as well as to local, national, and international researchers, activists, and artists. Our work is informed by reparative and redistributive frameworks, to actively confront histories of exclusion of people with marginalized identities within our collections.

Instructional Media and Technology Services (IMATS) consists of Audiovisual Technology Services, which supports Barnard's audiovisual needs and classroom technologies; and Instructional Media Services, which provides resources and training in media equipment, editing, and digital technology for Barnard College. Our media equipment room is located on the second floor of the Milstein Building, where a variety of equipment is available for checkout including cameras, projectors, microphones, and more.  IMATS supports academic technologies at Barnard as well, including Canvas, course evaluations, the digital archives collections, website development, and consultation on implementation of new software or computing needs.  IMATS uses media and technology to support teaching, learning, and creativity at Barnard.

Academic Centers 

The Milstein Center for Teaching and Learning houses a number of Academic Centers, flexible learning and collaboration spaces, each with a specific emphasis, including computational science, empirical reasoning, digital humanities, design, media, pedagogy, and movement. Also in Milstein are the Barnard Center for Research on Women and the Athena Center for Leadership. The Library and the Centers collaborate on a range of programming and workshops throughout the year. We invite all students to explore how the Centers’ offerings can extend and deepen your learning and exploration at Barnard

DESIGN CENTER

The Design Center is an incubator for creative making. It’s an open and inclusive studio space for active experimentation with materials, tools, and equipment, supporting the design of objects as well as the pedagogy and learning associated with making. Our team is committed to addressing design justice and inclusivity in the fabric of our programming and our operational framework, to providing equitable access to design technologies within the Center, and to empowering members of the Barnard community to discover, experiment with, and pilot new technologies and design practices.

Incorporating a broad tool set that includes 3D printers, laser and vinyl cutters, sewing and embroidery machines, and a variety of soldering, hand, and woodworking tools, the Design Center expands opportunities for design-centered thinking across the Barnard College curriculum. Our programs and workshops will address everything from foundational maker concepts to sustainable design practices to the powerful ways in which designed and constructed objects impact our lives.

This center is committed to maintaining an open and accessible culture of making and welcomes all levels of skill and ability. Once trained on the equipment, members of the Barnard community can visit anytime the space is open.

DIGITAL HUMANITIES CENTER

The Digital Humanities Center (DHC) is a research, teaching, and learning facility designed to foster technological approaches to the humanities to help researchers create dynamic connections between the analog and the digital. The DHC will provide students and faculty with support for a range of methods, from textual and timeline analysis to sonification and mapping. Additionally, the DHC hosts workshops, events, and conversations about the intersections of critical theory, technology, the humanities, and feminism, sustainability, and racial justice, and is equipped with video conferencing technology to connect people around the globe.

EMPIRICAL REASONING CENTER

The Empirical Reasoning Center (ERC) helps faculty, students, and alumnae to engage critically with data, both qualitative and quantitative. At our offices and lab on the first floor of the Milstein Center, ERC staff provides empirical research support and technology training at all levels -- from introductory to advanced -- in statistical, textual and spatial analysis, and data visualization methods.  Our services include dedicated course workshops, stand-alone short courses, and a drop-in help desk, as well as  programming (e.g., forums, panel discussions) on current, vital issues.

ELSIE K. SLOATE MEDIA CENTER

The Sloate Media Center is a place for original media production, media content creation, media experimentation, and media research.  This is an inclusive and accessible space open to all members of the Barnard and Columbia communities, and everyone is welcome to learn how to be media makers no matter their background, experience, or skill level. With both a bookable production studio and a drop-in post-production lab, the Center allows digital media producers to access a wide range of resources such as an audio booth, an LED light-grid operated from a switchboard, backdrops and greenscreens, as well as BlackMagic and Adobe software.  We also have emerging technologies including VR & 360 cameras, and welcome exploration of new media technologies.  We also provide support for community members interested in incorporating media into their research, curriculum, and instruction. 

VAGELOS COMPUTATIONAL SCIENCE CENTER

The Vagelos Computational Science Center (CSC) facilitates the understanding of how data technology can help find solutions to the world’s most complex problems. Students can use the CSC’s visualization wall to collaborate on code, see each other's work, and share ideas. In addition to the high-tech computer classroom, the CSC offers a CS/Math Collaborative Space where students can work together and a lounge space for socializing and relaxing.

MOVEMENT LAB

The Movement Lab is designed for experimentation and exploration at the intersection of dance, performance, and technology. It is a flexible, modular space for movement research, production, collaboration, and interdisciplinary interaction. The Lab’s trans-media function serves to enhance critical thinking and learning through body-and-brain connection as it seeks to explore emerging trajectories in art, science, and technology. The  lab collaborates with different departments, Student Artists in Residence (SAR), and Artists in Residence, and presents the creative research in installations and open forums both virtually and in the Movement Lab. 

THE CENTER FOR ENGAGED PEDAGOGY

The Center for Engaged Pedagogy (CEP) strengthens Barnard’s deep academic engagement and support for student and community wellbeing. Its approaches include: facilitating trainings, institutes and communities of practice, developing and sharing scholarship, building and sustaining relationships, and providing tools and resources. The CEP approaches teaching and learning as joint processes that inform the Barnard community as a whole. It is committed to inclusive and innovative pedagogical practices that acknowledge diverse ways of knowing, forms of expertise, and academic pathways. Through this approach, the CEP aims to draw from our own community’s expertise to generate news approaches to teaching and learning. Its goal is to prepare Barnard specifically—and higher education more broadly—to critically engage and contribute to our ever-changing world.

It serves as a hub for student learning and support at all levels of Barnard curriculum by providing student tutorials on study strategies, the use of new technologies, and much more. For faculty, the CEP offers institutes, workshops, public lectures, and 1-1 sessions on topics ranging from inclusive teaching practices, course design, the use of digital tools in face to face on and online classroom instruction, active learning strategies, and assessment.

BARNARD CENTER FOR RESEARCH ON WOMEN 

The Barnard Center for Research on Women (BCRW) is an academic research center that brings scholars and activists together through its working groups, public events, publications, and multimedia projects to advance intersectional social justice feminist analyses and to promote social transformation. BCRW is committed to vibrant and engaged research, pedagogy, art, and activism, supporting the work of scholars and activists to create new knowledge and to challenge and refine how we understand the world around us. Since its founding in 1971, the BCRW has cultivated collaborative and accountable relationships with community organizations, activists, and cultural workers in New York City, across the US, and transnationally. From its signature annual Scholar and Feminist Conference to its peer-reviewed journal S&F Online, unique collection of feminist social movement ephemera (housed in the Barnard College Archives), constantly expanding video archive, and recently inaugurated Social Justice Initiative, BCRW remains committed to critical feminist engagement with the academy and the world.

BCRW enacts its commitment to social justice feminism by hosting activists, researchers, and artists in residence. These residents pursue projects devoted to social change, focusing in particular on issues of incarceration and alternatives to incarceration; legacies of imperialism; restorative and transformative justice; queer and trans liberation; and more. Students can get involved with the center as paid research assistants and through more short-term affiliations with projects and events.

ATHENA CENTER FOR LEADERSHIP STUDIES 

The Athena Center for Leadership Studies offers targeted academic courses that examine aspects of women’s leadership from the distinctive perspective of the liberal arts. Using an innovative, interdisciplinary approach that combines academic and experiential study, the courses allow students to explore what it means for women to lead, to follow, to collaborate, and to excel. These courses prepare students to assume positions of leadership in all sectors and industries. The Center also offers lectures and hands-on skills building through the Athena Leadership Labs, a wide range of workshops designed to teach practical elements of leadership.

THE TODDLER CENTER

The Center was created in 1973.  Since the beginning, it has functioned as an integral part of the Psychology Department at Barnard College, providing an initial group social experience for toddlers, a unique learning experience for Barnard and Columbia College students, and a research site for developmental researchers. Barnard Psychology courses use the center for students to observe toddler behavior and learn about research methods. An upper level seminar provides a year long opportunity for students to be part of the program while studying theory and research in early development. Each year the Center enrolls toddlers in one of four classes for the academic year (mid-September through June). All classes are structured by age and gender, and include children from diverse backgrounds.  Morning and afternoon classes are available and meet once or twice a week. Parents and/or caregivers can participate in an educational group focused on the developmental issues of the toddler years and on related parenting and caregiving issues.

The approach of the Center is based upon the philosophy that children learn by doing: through experiences, exploration, and active participation with their environment.  Children’s discoveries promote mastery and feelings of competence. Emotional development is the core to building security and trust at these ages. The Center provides a warm environment to support each child’s needs, promote self discovery and facilitate separation. The Toddler Center is located in Milbank Hall.