Ball State University has announced that the Virginia B. Ball Center for Creative Inquiry (VBC)—the birthplace of Ball State’s signature brand of Immersive Learning—is being integrated into the University’s Honors College. This change will give VBC increased visibility, and allow it to contribute more fully to the overall campus experience through increased staffing and administrative support.
In addition to being integrated into Honors Colleges, VBC will move from the Kitselman Center, an off-campus site in Muncie, to the Edmund F. and Virginia B. Ball Honors College House located towards the heart of Ball State’s campus.
“This partnership represents a perfect alignment of mission and goals,” said Dr. Jim Buss, dean of Ball State’s Honors College. “The Honors College has been a strong supporter of VBC activities since its inception, and Honors students participating in these projects have regularly reported transformative experiences at the VBC.”
Originally conceived as a retreat-like experience where students met at the Kitselman Center, VBC piloted unique projects and courses that included faculty and students from nearly all on-campus programs and majors. This program was the predecessor to Ball State’s integral student education and experiential offering: Immersive Learning. During its 23-year history, VBC sponsored projects have been recognized nationally and internationally, garnering eight Emmy Awards, 10 international Aurora Awards, and a host of other accolades.
“As Immersive Learning evolved to become a core component of our University’s undergraduate experience, we discovered that the retreat part of the VBC wasn’t as crucial as in the early years,” said Jennifer Blackmer, director of VBC. “Moving to the center of campus will help the VBC better accommodate our students and utilize existing campus resources as we look to pilot new forms of transdisciplinary education.”
Since VBC’s launch in 2000 with funding from Virginia B. Ball, the Center has served as a site for intense, semester-long, student-driven projects created specifically to transcend disciplinary boundaries. Following Virginia’s death in 2006, the VBC has been supported by ongoing grants from the Edmund F. and Virginia B. Ball Foundation. This Fall marks the beginning of Ball State’s long-term commitment to preserving Virginia’s vision of offering unique educational experiences to all University students by ensuring ongoing support for VBC and its programs, while enhancing the campus-wide presence of the Honors College.