Milstein Center for Teaching and Learning

The Milstein Center for Teaching and Learning establishes the Barnard Library at the heart of the campus, co-located with academic centers that both create research platforms and sustain robust services for students to facilitate their scholarly work. It serves as an open, accessible, and creative space to connect with and create information in a way that is engaging, fosters collaboration, and sparks new thinking.  Housing 6 new Academic Centers adjacent to the Barnard Library and Instructional Media and Technology Services, it establishes a home for scholarly exploration, innovation and production by empowering the Barnard community collectively to challenge and expand methods and scholarship, mix and remix content, and create new conversations.  It acts as a gateway to a whole new creative frontier of information that can lead to brand new modes of teaching, learning, and discovery.  

Barnard Library & Academic Information Services 

The Barnard Library and Academic Information Services unit supports excellence and innovation in teaching and learning by providing exceptional research and instructional services, and connecting the Barnard Community to extensive information resources. Located in the Milstein Center for Teaching & Learning, the unit includes the Library, Instructional Media and Technology Services, AV/Classroom Technologies and the Barnard Archives & Special Collections. 

The staff of the Barnard Library Circulation and Help Desk on the 2nd floor of the Milstein Center welcome you to ask questions and learn from us how to use the Barnard and Columbia Libraries collections in all formats. The Barnard Library is the Columbia University Library specializing in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies as well as in Dance. We hold a unique collection of books in Art and Architecture that complement the Avery Library holdings. We also serve as a general undergraduate library with a thriving collection including humanities, social sciences, and texts used in courses. Our special circulating collections include the Barnard Zine Library - a collection of self-published magazines by and about women and femme-identified people with an emphasis on materials by women of color; the Barnard Alum Collection and the Barnard Black, Indigenous, and People of Color Alum Collection; the Barnard FLIP Library, a course book library collaboration with the Columbia First-Generation Low-Income Partnership; Course Reserves; and the Media Collection. 

The size of our collection makes our library browseable, and we welcome you to visit the shelves. We hold more than 130,000 circulating books, zines, journals, and media in the Milstein Center on floors 2, 3, and 4. Just over 23,000 volumes reside in a retrievable storage facility; these are available for request in the shared Columbia University Libraries CLIO Catalog and will be delivered to Barnard Library for pickup. Our circulating collections in print and digital formats also support interdisciplinary work of students and faculty researching in the Barnard Archives and Special Collections and the many academic centers in the Milstein Center. 

In addition, the Barnard Library operates as one of the Columbia University Libraries to contribute to and provide access to a world-class research collection. The collections include over 11 million volumes, over 150,000 journals and serials, as well as extensive electronic resources, manuscripts, rare books, microforms, maps, and graphic and audio-visual materials.  

The  Personal Librarian program connects each student and faculty member with a member of our research and instruction team, librarians specializing in academic disciplines across the curriculum. Incoming students are assigned to a personal librarian who will help them navigate library resources, build on their research interests, and explore new methods for research and scholarship. Personal librarians seek to understand student, faculty, and staff research needs, and provide individualized attention to the researcher through one on one consultation. As students select a major, the librarian affiliated with their field becomes a guide for the research process in advanced courses, and ultimately the senior project, thesis, or capstone. Librarians also provide instructional workshops in First Year Writing as well as foundational courses across the curriculum. They support both students and faculty in making connections from the course syllabus to the vast collections available at the  Barnard Library, within the Columbia University Library system, and across the New York metropolitan area. The Personal Librarians are partners for researchers seeking to build projects that utilize the Milstein Centers, serving as a point of connection to other Milstein specialists. 

The Barnard Archives and Special Collections collects and makes accessible materials that document campus and academic life at Barnard. In addition to documenting the history of the College, the mission  of the Barnard Archives is pedagogical at its foundation. We provide source material to students, staff, alums, faculty, and administrators, and other members of the Barnard College and Columbia University communities, as well as to local, national, and international researchers, activists, and artists. The Barnard Archives and Special Collections also seeks to grow Special Collections that relate to histories of Feminism; Women’s, Sexuality, and Gender Studies; and Dance. 

Instructional Media and Technology Services (IMATS) consists of two units: Audiovisual Technology Services, which supports Barnard's audiovisual needs and classroom technologies; and Instructional Media Services, which provides resources and training in media equipment, editing, and digital technology for Barnard College.  Our media equipment room is located on the second floor of the Milstein Building, where a variety of equipment is available for checkout including cameras, projectors, microphones, and more.  IMATS supports academic technologies at Barnard as well, including Canvas, course evaluations, the digital archives collections, website development, and consultation on implementation of new software or computing needs.  IMATS uses media and technology to support scholarship and creativity at Barnard.

Academic Centers 

The Milstein Center for Teaching and Learning houses a range of flexible learning spaces, including centers for empirical reasoning, digital humanities, design, media, pedagogy, and movement. In addition, the Vagelos Computational Science Center, located on the fifth floor, is an inviting space where students and faculty collaborate on pioneering research in data and computation. 


The Design Center (DeC) is an incubator for creative making where students will experiment with, pilot, discover, and test new tools and practices. From 3D printers and laser cutters to sewing machines and soldering irons, the range of equipment allows students to create costumes, electrical prototypes, devices to support their research projects, and much more. This center is committed to maintaining an open and accessible culture of making, and welcome all levels of skill and ability. Once trained on the equipment, members of the Barnard community can visit anytime the space is open.


The Digital Humanities Center (DHC) is a research, teaching, and learning facility designed to foster technological approaches to the humanities to help researchers create dynamic connections between the analog and the digital. The DHC will provide students and faculty with support for a range of methods, from textual and timeline analysis to sonification and mapping. Additionally, the space will host conversations about the intersections of critical theory, technology, the humanities, and feminism, and is equipped with video conferencing technology to connect people around the globe.


The Empirical Reasoning Center (ERC) helps faculty, students, and alumnae engage critically with data, both qualitative and quantitative. Now located in The Milstein Center, the ERC continues to offer advanced software for statistical, textual and spatial analysis, and data visualizations. Through course workshops and staffed drop-in hours, the ERC provides the Barnard community with empirical research support and technology training.


The Sloate Media Center is a place for experimentation, research, and original content creation. With both a bookable production studio and a drop-in post-production lab, the Center allows digital media producers to access recording equipment and editing software. Additionally, it provides support for community members who are interested in incorporating media into their research and instruction.


The Vagelos Computational Science Center (CSC) facilitates the understanding of how data technology can help find solutions to the world’s most complex problems. Students can use the CSC’s visualization wall to collaborate on code, see each other's work, and share ideas. In addition to the high-tech computer classroom, the CSC offers a CS/Math Collaborative Space where students can work together and a lounge space for socializing and relaxing.


The Movement Lab is designed for experimentation and exploration at the intersection of dance, performance, and technology. It is a flexible, modular space for movement research, production, collaboration, and interdisciplinary interaction. The Lab’s trans-media function serves to enhance critical thinking and learning through body-and-brain connection as it seeks to explore emerging trajectories in art science and technology. The facility can be reserved for collaborative research and practice that connects movement and performance to multidisciplinary discovery.


The Center for Engaged Pedagogy (CEP) advances the practice of teaching and the experience of learning on Barnard’s campus. With its deep history and commitment to academic excellence and close faculty-student interaction, Barnard has from its inception been an ever-evolving laboratory for innovative teaching and engaged learning. The CEP continues to build on that history as it gathers, connects, and expands best pedagogic practices, and offers new methodologies and support-systems for student learning.

As a forum for dialogue within and across Barnard’s departments, centers, programs, libraries, and collections, the CEP invites experimentation in the classroom, laboratory, studio, and in the community at large. The CEP is founded on the conviction that the best teaching is the most inclusive teaching. Supporting Barnard’s commitment to create an environment where no voices are silenced and all of us can thrive, the CEP explores, promotes, and exemplifies effective and contextual practices to serve every member of the Barnard community. It serves as a hub for student learning and support at all levels of the curriculum by providing student tutorials on study strategies, the use of new technologies and much more. For faculty, the CEP offers workshops and 1-1 sessions on topics ranging from inclusive teaching strategies to the use of streaming technology in classroom instruction.


The Barnard Center for Research on Women (BCRW) is an academic research center that brings scholars and activists together through its working groups, public events, publications, and multimedia projects to advance intersectional social justice feminist analyses and to promote social transformation. BCRW is committed to vibrant and engaged research, pedagogy, art, and activism, supporting the work of scholars and activists to create new knowledge and to challenge and refine how we understand the world around us. Since its founding in 1971, the BCRW has cultivated collaborative and accountable relationships with community organizations, activists, and cultural workers in New York City, across the US, and transnationally. From its signature annual Scholar and Feminist Conference to its peer-reviewed journal S&F Online, unique collection of feminist social movement ephemera (housed in the Barnard College Archives), constantly expanding video archive, and recently inaugurated Social Justice Initiative, BCRW remains committed to critical feminist engagement with the academy and the world.

BCRW enacts its commitment to social justice feminism by hosting several activists, researchers, and artists in residence each year. These residents pursue projects devoted to social change, focusing in particular on issues of incarceration and alternatives to incarceration; legacies of imperialism; restorative and transformative justice; queer and trans liberation; and more. Students can get involved with the center as research assistants and through more short-term affiliations with projects and events.


The Athena Center for Leadership Studies offers targeted academic courses that examine aspects of women’s leadership from the distinctive perspective of the liberal arts. Using an innovative, interdisciplinary approach that combines academic and experiential study, the courses allow students to explore what it means for women to lead, to follow, to collaborate, and to excel. These courses prepare students to assume positions of leadership in all sectors and industries. The Center also offers lectures and hands-on skills building through the Athena Leadership Labs, a wide range of workshops designed to teach practical elements of leadership.


The Center was created in 1973.  Since the beginning, it has functioned as an integral part of the Psychology Department at Barnard College, providing an initial group social experience for toddlers, a unique learning experience for Barnard and Columbia College students, and a research site for developmental researchers. Each year the Center enrolls toddlers in one of four classes for the academic year (mid-September through June). All classes are structured by age and gender, and include children from diverse backgrounds.  Morning and afternoon classes are available and meet once or twice a week. Classes are divided based on toddler age range. Beginning in January, parents and/or caregivers can participate in an educational group focused on the developmental issues of the toddler years and on related parenting and caregiving issues.

The approach of the Center is based upon the philosophy that children learn by doing: through experiences, exploration, and active participation with their environment.  Children’s discoveries promote mastery and feelings of competence. The Center provides a warm environment to support each child’s needs, promote self discovery and facilitate separation.  Activities are adjusted to the developmental level of each child, enhancing his/her social, emotional and intellectual development. The Toddler Center is located in Milbank Hall.