Let’s look at the data. More than 25% of college students are taking at least one course online. Paring that down to traditional 4-year undergraduates, the equivalent of more than 400,000 full-time students are not in the classroom. This is the equivalent of 8 Arizona State Universities or 40 Harvards. Continue reading
Faculty offices are little changed from a time without the web, browsers and cell phones. Most administrative workplaces are just as quaint. This might be appropriate if faculty members could be in their offices, administrators could function at the speed of paper, and students did not expect 24/7 access. Times have changed faster than the campus has adapted.
Responding to this challenge is more difficult than improving teaching spaces. It is more problematic than transforming libraries. Offices are personal. The perquisites of status and identity as well as the culture of the academy are threatened. Continue reading
The physical implications of the digital transformation of higher education are becoming visible. Classrooms and libraries are being retooled in response to changes in basic assumptions that have guided campus development for more than a century. Student housing and campuses are evolving in response to social media and the changing use patterns of members of the campus community. From classrooms to libraries to residence halls, digital transformation is changing the physical presence and requirements of each institution.
The faculty office is the third rail of university facilities planning. It is heresy to say that all faculty members do not need a private office. Parking is the only aspect of campus life that’s more contentious.
Truth is all faculty members do not need private offices, but not all faculty work can be done in open office environments. There’s the rub.
Many will believe this to be heresy, just as did most who commented on Lawrence Biemiller’s article “Do All Faculty Members Really Need Private Offices” [Chronicle of Higher Education, July 30, 2010]. He speculated on the advantages of open offices, and some of the comments called the writer’s intelligence into question and others attacked institutional “bean counters” for daring to challenge the hereditary rights of the faculty. Continue reading