As founding principal of the Learning Spaces Collaboratory (LSC), since 2010 Jeanne Narum’s professional focus is on promoting best practices in visioning, planning, and assessing physical spaces serving 21st century undergraduate learners and learning communities. Her leadership within the LSC reflects more than two decades engaging with academics and architects involved in integrated planning of the undergraduate learning environment—physical, intellectual, and social.
From 1989 – 2010, Narum was Director of Project Kaleidoscope (PKAL), an NSF-funded initiative to catalyze transformation of undergraduate STEM learning environments. This was a unique opportunity to collaborate with leading agents of change from STEM disciplinary communities and from individual campuses, as well as with creative design professionals, to develop and disseminate resources that inform planning of formal and informal spaces for 21st century STEM learners. From 2003 – 2009, with support from NITLE, Narum facilitated workshops focusing on planning technology-enhanced spaces, including information commons and classrooms. She has had leadership responsibility for over 100 PKAL/LSC facilities-related activities designed to advance awareness of how space matters to learning and of planning strategies to realize that spaces matter for a particular community.
The guiding vision of LSC is all 21st century undergraduates, no matter their background or career aspiration, have ready access to physical learning environments that enable them to become engaged learners, contributing members of the 21st century workplace, and citizen leaders in a challenging world. The LSC website (www.pkallsc.org) alerts the informal LSC community to emerging research findings about the relationship between the quality of learning and the character of the spaces for learning. This research is complemented by reports from the field that validate those findings and those that outline strategic approaches to adapt at the local level.
In November 2013, the LSC published a Guide: Planning for Assessing 21st Century Spaces for 21st Century Learners, developed with support from NSF. This guide, prepared by a national working group of academics and architects, presents a template for planning based on four key questions that connect the arc of planning for assessing. The guide, and other resources from the broader community of practitioners, is featured on the LSC website.