Dr. Michael Ainsworth, center, takes medical students Yara Ramirez, Mckay Moline and William Green on a tour of  the new Student Testing Center.Students at UTMB, starting in January, will take their standardized tests in a new central facility wired with 300 computer workstations and big enough to test even UTMB’s largest class all at one time.
 
The 16,000-square-foot Student Testing Center is a milestone in UTMB’s recovery from Hurricane Ike in 2008, and a step forward in academic services. “The testing center has been a multi-school effort since the get-go,” said Dr. Steve Lieberman, a leader in its development. Lieberman is a professor and vice dean in the School of Medicine
Educators from UTMB’s four schools saw an opportunity after Ike to design a shared facility dedicated to online testing, Lieberman said. Online testing has replaced the paper versions of many licensure exams and standardized national exams, he said.
 
The Student Testing Center is inside Research Building 6, formerly called Children’s Hospital, in renovated ground-floor space once damaged by hurricane floodwaters. The center is smartly decorated to be part of UTMB’s new pedestrian concourse scheduled for completion in June. It has:
  • Two testing halls that seat up to 150 people each or can be partitioned for smaller groups. UTMB’s largest class has 230 students.
  • A 150-seat auditorium for lectures.
  • 12 individual testing rooms for students who need accommodation for a disability.
Technology personnel are adding the finishing touches and will be testing the center’s equipment in the coming weeks. Testing services will become available Jan. 2.
 
Completion of the center will end inconveniences of the past. For example, program directors no longer will need to send large classes in “shifts” to the library’s 60-seat online testing facility or revert to paper tests given in William C. Levin Hall.
 
The center will help in other ways, too. Administrators will spend less time on the logistics of setting up tests, Lieberman said. And UTMB students will benefit by becoming familiar with computerized testing because “high stakes” professional exams, such as those for licensure, are now taken online, he said.