3:30 – 5:00 p.m. EDT

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  • Joe Atkins, Principal—VMDO
  • Jay Verspyck, Senior Designer—Shepley Bulfinch
  • Verna Case, Associate Dean for Teaching, Learning, and Research—Davidson College
  • Debra March, Dean of Library Services—Young Harris College



Davidson College E. Craig Wall Jr. Academic Building

Young Harris College Rollins Campus Center & Library



  • Team Science
    Team science is a collaborative effort to address a scientific challenge that leverages the strengths and expertise of professionals trained in different fields. Although traditional single-investigator driven approaches are ideal for many scientific endeavors, coordinated teams of investigators with diverse skills and knowledge may be especially helpful for studies of complex social problems with multiple causes.
  • Key Conditions for Successful IDR at Academic Institutions Based on Committee Interviews with IDR Leaders and Scholars
    Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences, and National Academy of Engineering. Facilitating Interdisciplinary Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2005.



In this webinar, we explore lessons learned and what works when academics and architects tackle the challenge of planning spaces that dissolve boundaries, that collectively shape an ecosystem for learning: spaces to become the social and intellectual heart of the campus at Young Harris College; spaces to become the hub for formal and informal active learning at Davidson College.

This grid is an example of how to examine and understand how various and diverse spaces within the physical boundaries on a campus can play a role in serving larger institutional goals for learning.

At Davidson College, one goal for the E. Craig Wall Jr. Academic Center, was to continue developing an academic “neighborhood,” with planning driven by questions such as:

  • How can the project accommodate more than just science?
  • What are the “third spaces” needed to encourage collaboration? 

An open atrium acts as the nexus and point of entry for the complex, with a stepped forum at its heart, providing space for open study, exhibits, and presentations for use by the broader academic community. Informal collaboration and gathering spaces along circulation paths are infused throughout the complex, creating academic “neighborhoods” around which research, seminar, and group study spaces are clustered to create new synergies.

At Young Harris College, the Rollins Campus Center was to become the social and intellectual heart of the campus, accommodating the student center, the library and a dining hall, with planning driven by questions such as:

  • What are the beneficial impacts/ synergies of blending library and campus center programs?
  • Can a mixed-use building save money and space by capitalizing on those impacts/synergies?
  • Do these programmatic overlaps intensify the use of the building? Is there increased use of the library by more diverse groups?


Co-locating and cross-training library, campus life, and student development staff brings program synergy to life. This overlap translates into a more efficient building—with fewer spaces than if built separately—concentrating and amplifying the sense of activity around learning outside the classroom. In fact, the number of students using the library has increased by nearly 80% since opening.