Advice at the Earliest Stages of Planning Spaces for Undergraduate STEM Learners

Lessons Learned from the W.M. Keck Consultancies orchestrated by PKAL (Project Kaleidoscope) from 1994 – 2002

The overarching theme woven through the 2015 Spring LSC Webinars is about institutional responsibilities and opportunities during the planning process, emphasizing that investments in physical spaces is a long-term investment in the future of the institution.

Focusing on planning from an institutional perspective is essential, particularly when the campus community is asking questions such as those below. No matter the status of your planning STEM facilities, the advice presented in three of the Keck consultant reports will be of value.

Question: When new spaces are needed, but not yet near the top of institutional priorities, how might an institution survive in the short term to survive in less-than adequate facilities?

Question: How do you link the planning of new STEM spaces to the larger institutional vision, to an upcoming capital campaign, and - in the process "restart" a stalled planning process?

Question: What is the role of campus leaders in ensuring that the right questions are driving the planning process, are being addressed at the institutional level and closely integrated into the planning taking place within the division of science?

The recommendations set forth in these reports reflect best practices in planning learning spaces. For example, an excerpt from a consultants’ memo to a president:

We began with a recommendation that you and your administrative colleagues facilitate the dissolving of the compartmentalization (isolation) that appears to be present in your science division. We believe that attention to programs for non-majors would be a good place to begin.

From another:

Create common spaces in the existing facility by reconfiguring areas to encourage interactions between colleagues. Several steps can be taken to increase the hospitality of the existing structure. A new facility is not required to create a sense of community.

These reports will inform or confirm institutional approaches to planning learning spaces.

Upcoming Events


March 5, 2015
3:30 - 5:00 p.m. EST


  • Bonnie Sanborn, Department of Design and Environmental Analysis - Cornell University


  • Felix Kronenberg, Assistant Professor and Director of the Center for Language Learning - Rhodes College

Time: 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM

Location: D.C. incubator 1776


  • Leticia Britos Cavagnaro, Epicenter
  • Jeanne L. Narum, Learning Spaces Collaboratory

For more information, visit the workshop website.


April 15, 2015
3:30 - 5:00 p.m. EDT


  • Jeanne L. Narum, Principal - Learning Spaces Collaboratory


  • Verna Case, Associate Dean, Teaching, Learning and Research—Davidson College
  • Nancy Lape, Professor of Engineering—Harvey Mudd College

May 5, 2015
3:30 - 5:00 p.m. EDT


  • Linda Slakey, Senior Advisor for the Association of American Universities (AAU) STEM Initiative and Senior Fellow for Project Kaleidoscope (PKAL)/Association of American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U). 


  • Gail Burd, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs & UofA colleagues



Date: May 13, 2015
Time: 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Facilitator: Jeanne L. Narum, Principal - Learning Spaces Collaboratory



June 10, 2015
3:30 - 5:00 p.m. EDT


  • Leticia Britos Cavagnaro, Deputy Director of the National Center for Engineering Pathways to Innovation (Epicenter) and Lecturer at Hasso Plattner Institute of Design - Stanford University
  • Jeanne L. Narum, Principal - Learning Spaces Collaboratory