Friday, January 26, 2018

Friday, January 26, 8:45-10:00 am


  1. Dan Dressen, Associate Provost and Professor of Music, St. Olaf College
  2. Robin Wright, Professor, Department of Biology Teaching and Learning, University of Minnesota
  3. Susan Fliss, Dean of Libraries, Smith College
  4. Gail Burd, Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, University of Arizona
  5. Meredith Bostwick-Lorenzo Eiroa, Associate Director, Skidmore, Owings and Merrill LLP

This is an interactive session, modeling how discussions about learning spaces should happen on a campus–before, during, and after undertaking a particular project. Participants will learn how questions focusing on the future are driving planning of the physical environment for undergraduates at campuses across the country. In a facilitated conversation, panelists–one librarian, one faculty member, one administrator and one architect—will begin by sharing their experiences at the early stages of planning: what was the initial on-campus spark for attention to spaces (faculty members frustrated with current spaces); what voices were at or needed to be brought to the table along the way (senior academic administrators; faculty at different career stages, trustees, students, staff); what lessons about planning they adapted from the work of peers (sandboxing, risk-taking); how they reached a common vision and language for their planning.

Concluding remarks will speak to the impact of attention to spaces on institutional culture of planning and on a campus climate in which all students, no matter their background or career aspiration are motivated to persist and succeed. Findings from research and practice validate the correlation of becoming and belonging to a community of practice as a key to student persistence and success. This sense of belonging can happen in classrooms designed to accommodate research-based pedagogies. It can happen in “third spaces” enabling serendipitous collisions of ideas and private reflection, and in technology-enhanced spaces for exploring, sharing and shaping new ideas. These spaces can be new, renewed, repurposed, in a single building or scattered across a campus. No matter the scope or size of a project, the importance of learner-centered planning and focusing on the institutional mission and vision is clear. One major goal is that students become aware of themselves as learners. Another is that institutional climate for student success has been enhanced for students of today and into the future.

Learning Outcomes

  1. How attention to the physical environment challenges current cultures for planning; the importance of engaging a diversity of stakeholders sharing a commitment to focusing on the future.
  2. How learner-centered planning drives the process: the need for a common understanding of research on learning and a clear awareness of how your students experience learning now and shared aspirations for learners into the future.
  3. How hard this is. How to begin, keep going, and celebrate along the way.