From left: Stuart McCook, associate dean, research and graduate studies, at COA; John Livernois, acting associate vice-president of research (Research Services); and Sylvain Charlebois, acting dean at CME.

After 18 months of planning and construction, the new Research Commons opened in the University of Guelph’s MacKinnon Building April 18. A joint project of the College of Management and Economics (CME) and the College of Arts (COA), the space will be used by graduate students, visiting scholars and researchers in both colleges.

“The Research Commons is about bringing people together from different disciplines and colleges,” says Sylvain Charlebois, acting dean of CME. “Research in isolation doesn’t make much sense.”

When CME began looking for space on campus for its graduate students and researchers, it contacted the COA dean’s office, which suggested MacKinnon 303.

“We polled faculty and asked them what kind of space they needed,” says Diane Dobbins, manager, research and partnerships, in CME. Based on the survey results, she designed the space. After funding was secured, Physical Resources did the construction, mostly at night to avoid disturbing classes in the building.

“It’s nice to see units pooling resources and working collaboratively toward a common goal,” says Stuart McCook, associate dean, research and graduate studies, in COA.

The 1,000-square-foot Research Commons includes two offices, a retractable glass room divider and audiovisual equipment. The space will also encourage joint research between the two colleges, which already collaborate on projects such as the Historical Data Research Unit.