Defining and Designing Learning Spaces for Inclusion and Interdisciplinarity


  • Jeanne L. Narum, Principal – Learning Spaces Collaboratory
  • Kurt Paterson, Head and Professor, Department of Engineering – James Madison University
  •  Daniel Robinson, Institute for Visual StudiesIVS, Associate Director – James Madison University
  • Representative of SENCER

What do we want our learners to become? This is the question driving those responsible for shaping the undergraduate environment for learning. A focus on becoming requires attention to the increasing diversity of current and future generations of learners and to the changing context. What kind of learning experiences enable that becoming? Campus leaders and national communities of practice are transforming learning experiences so that students are actively engaged, collaborating across disciplinary boundaries, learning by doing, persisting and motivated to succeed. What kind of spaces enable those experiences?

Representatives of four Collaborating Partners of the Learning Spaces Collaboratory (LSC) will present case studies about how their efforts – to advance undergraduate research in all disciplines, focus on learning as making, equip students for civic service, inspire generations of creative problem-solvers, innovators – requires attention to the physical environment. How can an interdisciplinary, inclusive, institutional team of planners shape an agenda for repurposing existing spaces to serve goals for transforming the learning experience? Individual table teams will identify and present the case for a strategy by which campuses can capitalize on existing resources (expertise, connections, spaces, etc.) to integrate attention to the physical environment with pedagogical, programmatic, and institutional transformation. The focus is on repurposing, on shaping a campus-wide ecosystem of learning spaces. A portfolio of their strategies will be collated for sharing broadly within the AIS and the LSC and beyond.

Association for Interdisciplinary Studies Conference