Academic Innovation Center

, Bryant University

Smithfield, RI

open study space
open study space
tiered classroom
social space
exterior view

Bryant University believes that to impact the real world, you need to go beyond the textbook. Leadership requires experience, practice solving problems, and opportunities to collide with industry partners. You also need a space that inspires excellence and empowers students to push the boundaries of what's possible for learning. Bryant University's 50,000-SF Academic Innovation Center (AIC) does just that!

A ground-breaking resource for experiential learning, Bryant's AIC is prominently sited at the campus' main entrance. Boasting collaboration spaces that inspire creative problem solving and high-tech classrooms that encourage debate and communication skills, the AIC creates an environment conducive to innovative teaching and active learning.

At the heart of Bryant's ACI is the Innovation Forum — an immersive central core and activity hub. Here students gather for workshops, break into small groups, and meet with industry partners. Theory meets practice as faculty, students, and corporate partners gather to tackle real-world business challenges.

Curiosity, collaboration, and interactive teaching are clearly on display when stepping through the building's open and light-filled halls. Glass walls showcase energized students solving problems with one another while writing, sketching, and drawing on floor-to-ceiling whiteboards.

Ten classrooms surround the central Innovation Forum. Five are "tiered" classrooms, Inspired by the case study method of teaching. Five are "flat," featuring fully reconfigurable furniture to accommodate different pedagogies and classroom dynamics. Need a quiet moment to think? Find your way to one of the 24 study and breakout rooms available for student work.

The new Academic Innovation Center has measurably increased student engagement, energized the faculty, and attracted businesses to create opportunities for students to learn critical thinking skills and successfully transition into the workforce.

Building Facts

  • 1 Divisible Classroom
  • 5 Tiered Classrooms
  • 5 Flat Classrooms
  • 24 Breakout Rooms
  • 48,000 GSF
  • Innovation Forum, Admission Presentation Room, Cafe
  • 12 Projection Units
  • 40 Flat Panel Display Screens
  • 45 Wireless Media Units
diagram of a network

Activate Your Business Community

Bryant’s entrepreneurial approach is changing how Industry views and relates to Higher Education. The Design Thinking class attracts businesses to campus, creating opportunities for students to practice on real-world challenges – an experience that positions them for success after graduation.

94% diagram

Activate Your Faculty

A recent faculty survey shows the use of new/different instructional methods is up by 94% at Bryant University.

In exploring new ways of teaching students outside-the-box thinking and active problem-solving skills, Bryant faculty are showing students how cross-disciplinary Design Thinking enables innovation. University grants help these pedagogical projects go from ideas to practice.

89% diagram

Activate Your Students

A recent faculty survey shows student-to-student engagement is up 89% at Bryant University.

Flexible, tech-infused environments bring people together, inspiring curiosity and collaboration to promote hands-on discovery. Bryant University’s Academic Innovation Center is helping students in the IDEA program experience the power of Design Thinking.

Faculty are energized by the classrooms in the AIC. I have witnessed the enthusiasm of new pedagogy, new delivery, and almost a “re-awakening” to the calling of teaching. It has been transformational...

Glenn Sulmasy Provost and Chief Academic Officer, Bryant University

Innovative Teaching

See how Sociology Professor Sandra Enos teaches "Community Engagement and Service Learning" in the Ideation Lab.

Design that Fosters Innovation

Bryant University President Ronald K. Machtley and Lead Designer Kip Ellis explain how the trailblazing facility activates effective, results-oriented collaboration and innovation.

In Their Own Words

Bryant’s IDEA Program is a 3-day intensive workshop that focuses on team-based activities and how to use the creative process to address a real-world problem in business or the community.