The Noel Studio for Academic Creativity

With the formal dedication Oct. 29 of its innovative Noel Studio for Academic Creativity, Eastern Kentucky University ushered in “a new era” in the life of John Grant Crabbe Library. The Noel Studio offers a variety of spaces that allow students to develop their communication skills through critical and creative thinking: invention spaces where ideas are born, presentation practice rooms, a presentation suite for delivering and refining oral communication, breakout spaces for spontaneous collaborative group work or creative work with manipulatives, conference space for networking with colleagues on campus and remotely along with practicing and capturing group dynamics, and a discovery classroom for orientations, guest speakers, conferences, and instruction sessions.

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Spotlight on Russell Carpenter, Director, Noel Studio

Russell Carpenter



Students can benefit from Noel Studio resources in a variety of ways. The Noel Studio’s primary service is the consultation, which provides students with the opportunity to meet one-on-one or in small groups with one of our trained consultants. Students can use the various Noel Studio spaces—including the breakout and presentation practice rooms, Greenhouse, invention space, and presentation practice suite—with or without consultants to develop and refine their communication skills, products, and practices. Finally, the Noel Studio offers hundreds of workshops, seminars, and other sessions, some of which have included “Confronting Speech Anxiety,” “Turning a Paper into a Presentation,” and “Writing Effective Introductions and Conclusions and "Visual Rhetoric for Academics.”

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Unique Features

The Noel Studio follows an integrated model, which brings together services for writing, research, and oral communication in one technologically sophisticated space. This integrated design makes the Noel Studio unique. Furthermore, the Noel Studio’s interest in creative and critical thinking allows for an inspiring vision that encourages students and consultants to shift perspectives in the development of their communication pieces.

Students First

The Noel Studio is central to student success. Consultations are available at a variety of times, including evenings and weekends, and the space is available during most of the times that the library is open. Furthermore, the Noel Studio supports the QEP, the Quality Enhancement Plan, a carefully designed and focused university-wide initiative to improve student learning by developing informed, critical, and creative thinkers who communicate effectively.

Interactive Learning

The Noel Studio recognizes multiple learning styles; therefore, the space includes a variety of manipulatives and opportunities for hands-on learning, including working with marker boards, magnetic tiles, games, and other materials that encourage students to think with their hands. Furthermore, touch-screen technologies allow students to construct and deconstruct ideas on the screen. Students can record and display texts such as videos in the breakout spaces and presentation practice rooms.

Why Noel?

The Noel Studio is an exciting new space and vision that is unique to EKU. Students can visit the Noel Studio at any stage of the communication-development process, even if they don’t have anything written down yet. We like to see students come in and give new life to their projects by using the invention space. We like to see students collaborating and demonstrating creative and critical thinking. The Noel Studio has undergraduate and graduate consultants who can help students craft ideas, refine speaking and presentation skills, hone group dynamics, revise written pieces, and assist in transitions from written communication to visual or oral communication.

About Russell Carpenter

Carpenter, who came to EKU in August 2009, holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English, with an emphasis on technical writing, and a doctoral degree in Texts and Technology from the University of Central Florida. Dr. Carpenter recently earned the Von Till Outstanding Newcomer Award presented by the National Association of Communication Centers (NACC).The award is presented on the basis of innovation, scholarship and intellectual work, mentoring, and effectiveness, as well as participation in the National Communication Association (NCA) communication centers section and NACC conferences.

Related Sites of Interest

The Noel Studio for Academic Creativity

The Noel Studio Photo Blog

EKU Libraries

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