Campuses Matter to Students

Reports of the death of colleges and universities are premature.  Still, as the digital transformation of higher education gains momentum, traditional business models and facilities practices are being disrupted.  From office and classroom, to library and laboratory the academic experience of students and faculty members is being fragmented.

In his blog campusmatters.net, Michael Haggans, explores the implications of these changes.  He writes that the physical campus will remain viable, but only by providing qualities that cannot be duplicated elsewhere.  Such a value proposition lies in providing an intentional balance of scheduled spaces (classrooms and offices) and unscheduled spaces (libraries and study spaces) to support an increasingly transient community of students and faculty.

One of his recent posts begins:  “The long-term survival of the physical campus will lie in keeping students at the center of the diagram.  The required adaptations will result from a different way of thinking about facilities, in which small moves, made with students in mind, can be of strategic significance.” …more…

In another, he recommends the “Physical Space on Campus” report authored by Loren Rullman and Jan van der Kieboom.  “It connects the dots between research on student success and engagement, campus and community formation.  If you care about the future of the physical campus, review this report.  Even now, still early in the process of higher education’s digital transformation, we can see the fragmentation of the “college experience”…more…

In addition to work on the importance of student study space, Haggans’ research includes an effort to better understand ‘sense of place.’  He is collecting 250-word essays on “Favorite Place on Campus.”  All are welcome to add to the growing body of personal statements describing your favorite place and why it is worth remembering?

His writing and research is informed by his work with students as well as consultations with higher education leaders.  As a former university architect and design professional, Haggans brings a perspective that values both design and businesslike analysis when dealing with why campuses matter to students.

Michael Haggans is a Visiting Scholar in the College of Design at the University of Minnesota.