Pamela Delphenich and Steven Gift have been involved in planning campuses for decades. Both are now in private practice, but each invested formative years in caring for, planning and creating major campuses.
Pam was at Yale and MIT, Steve at Virginia Tech and the University of South Florida. Their subsequent private practices are as different as the geography and history of Yale and South Florida. Even so, care and regard, even a passion for campuses are clear as each talks about physical places and the community of students and faculty served and enabled.
In separate conversations Delphenich and Gift speak from the experience of hundreds, if not thousands, of discussions with students, faculty members and administrators about the choices that guide the evolution of a campus and its plan.
While immediate concerns may be about parking, building sites and project funding, the campus planner keeps sight of a longer time horizon. The unspoken assumption in each academic mission statement is that the institution continues forever. Caring for, planning and creating the future of campuses is work Pamela and Steven hold dear. It is no wonder so many have found them to be trusted advisors.
If the student is at the center of the higher education business model, the library is where she is sitting. The library is changing around her and her colleagues. Library leaders are transforming academic libraries into 21st century agoras – open meeting and working places – rather than gated cul-de-sacs for storing paper.
When the emperor is naked do you have an ethical responsibility to recommend clothing? The ethical choices of the campus planner are rarely this stark, but the stakes are rising in higher education campus planning.
As a consultant or an employee, the campus planner balances aspirations and limitations, hopes and realities. Not long ago the only question about a department’s long-hoped-for project was when it would be funded. In that time, when the future was rosy, it was easy to say, “Yes. We will put it in the plan.” Including the fictional project in the master plan carried no risk and was without cost. In this time of fiscal limitations, demographic shifts and technological dislocations, saying “no” may be the only ethical option. Continue reading →
In the mid-20th century, a Military Industrial Complex developed to maintain the expansion of American military capability. At the same time, a Campus Planning & Building Complex developed to expand American higher education. Both worked well to produce more, and each benefited from an aura of self-fulfilling prophecy. Continue reading →
Early in 2015 I sat down with Duke Oakley to discuss the future of campuses. The result was a video in which Duke talks about the history and resilience, value and importance of campuses. He is most passionate in describing the role of the campus as a reference point for former students as they grow into positions of responsibility in civic affairs. He views the campus as a nearly ideal environment, an expression of what is possible.
“As former students deal with design and environmental issues, they will have in mind a time when they lived in an environment that cared about them, that supported them, that was a joy to be in. They will know it is not impossible. It is entirely possible. They will remember an environment that began to live up to the potential of all of our environments.”
Charles Warner Oakley is a graduate of Dartmouth and the University of Pennsylvania. From 1986 to 2000, he was Campus Architect and Assistant Vice Chancellor for Design and Construction at the University of California – Los Angeles. “Duke” as his friends and colleagues know him, is a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects and an Emeritus member of the Association of University Architects.
Opportunity for Guest Participants – I am teaching Planning and Design of the University: Future of Campus in a Digital World at Georgia Tech and University of Minnesota. The course will be open to on-line guest participants. A schedule for guest participants is here.
Georgia Tech students and in-class presenters will be in an on-campus classroom/studio. Minnesota students, remote presenters and guest participants will join via web conference.
A limited number of “seats” are available for guest participants, for seven Tuesdays beginning January 20 through March 3, 2015 from 6pm to 8:30 Eastern (5pm to 7:30 Central). A syllabus for the entire 15 week course is here.
Please let me know of your interest in participating by sending an email before January 15 to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please put Guest in the subject line.
This guest participant opportunity is made possible by the Center for 21st Century Universities at the Georgia Institute of Technology and the School of Architecture at the University of Minnesota.
As the need for synchronous place and time evaporates, the physical campus must provide values that are not available by other means. Campuses need to be transformed as if their survival were at stake.
Future of the Campus in a Digital World. is my assessment of the state of the campus at the close of 2014. It is in the form of a 10 page pdf. I hope you will share it with your colleagues and let me know your thoughts.
It is just a matter of time until your campus will be closed. Usually it will be temporary. Sometimes it will be permanent.
Whether by snow and ice, wind, fire, flood, civil disorder or bankruptcy, you may be certain that your campus will be closed. It is just a matter of when and how long the closure will last. Even a brief closing provides a glimpse of higher education without the comfortable assumption of shared space and time – the familiar functionality of a campus. Continue reading →
Upon reading a recent piece entitled Campus Forever? by Michael Haggans in his blogCampus Matters, which discusses the future of the college campus and the question of its continuing relevance, I was thrown into a reverie of memories of and emotions about the phenomenon of campus as I considered the importance in my life of this environmental phenomenon. The blog article Campus Forever? had posed the question “Will your college campus be around forever?” to several different college alumni. Being understood that, in this human world, forever is probably not achievable, to me the question becomes: “Can any particular campus last a very long time into the future?” This makes me want to take a look at the past for some guidance on the possibilities. In considering the continuing existence of any particular college campus – as a college campus – the continued existence of the institutions themselves is obviously a threshold issue. Continue reading →