sealPurdue News

March 25, 2003

Purdue launches Discovery Learning Center, appoints directors

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue University has taken another step in creating a vision for a learning center of the future by appointing two award-winning professors to lead the effort.

Margaret Moan Rowe

Margaret Moan Rowe, vice provost and professor of English, and Jon Harbor, professor of earth and atmospheric sciences and co-director of ENVISION, a National Science Foundation funded teacher enhancement project, will co-direct Purdue's Discovery Learning Center. The center will be housed in Discovery Park, a $100 million complex of facilities that will use a multidisciplinary approach to develop new technologies. In addition to the Discovery Learning Center, the park will include the Birck Nanotechnology Center, Bindley Bioscience Center, Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship and an e-enterprises center.

"The Purdue community can expect these two individuals to inspire engagement and experimentation with new technologies and approaches to learning and teaching," said Provost Sally Frost Mason. "In the center, we will bring together teachers, leaders and researchers to explore new technologies, and teaching strategies.

"We plan for the center to be home to a university honors program, teaching academy and a center for instructional excellence. The plans also include a state-of-the-art auditorium where new technologies and teaching applications can be tested."

Jon Harbor

Rowe and Harbor will oversee activities at the center to help Purdue become a national and international leader in science, engineering and math education, Mason said.

Rowe joined Purdue's English department faculty in 1969 and served as assistant dean in what was then known as the School of Humanities, Social Science and Education from 1973 to 1976. She was named head of the English department in 1990. In 1996 Rowe was named dean of the School of Liberal Arts – one of the largest schools at Purdue – which encompasses 11 academic departments and 14 interdisciplinary programs. In 2002 she became vice provost, and continues teaching.

Her expertise is in 20th century British fiction and poetry, commonwealth literature and women's studies, and she has published a book on Doris Lessing as well as essays on a wide range of 19th and 20th century British writers.

Rowe earned a bachelor's degree in 1964 from Holy Family College in Philadelphia and master's and doctoral degrees from Temple University in 1966 and 1972, respectively.

Harbor's research includes work focused on the use of local environmental science issues in inquiry-based learning, which is a method that helps motivate student interest and develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills. He also does research on the impact of dam removal and land use change on water quality and on Arctic glaciers. As a Fulbright Scholar representing the United States in New Zealand in 2000-01, Harbor worked with faculty at the University of Canterbury on ways to help graduate students develop oral presentation skills.

At Purdue, Harbor teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in environmental geosciences and holds a courtesy appointment in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction in the School of Education.

Harbor has been at Purdue since 1994. He earned his doctorate in 1990 from the University of Washington. In 1984 he received his master's degree from the University of Colorado, and in 1982 he received his bachelor's degree from the University of Cambridge.

Writer: Amy Patterson-Neubert, (765) 494-9723,

Sources: Sally Frost Mason, (765) 494-9709,

Margaret Moan Rowe, (765) 494-6969,

Jon Harbor, (765) 494-9610,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

Related Web sites:

Office of the Provost
Purdue Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences

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