Campus does matter for graduation rates and Amir Hajrasouliha has done the math.
Three physical campus dimensions, urbanism, greennessandon-campus living, are significantly correlated with student retention and graduation rates. His work controlled for the influences of student selectivity, class size, total enrollment, university types and education expenditures. However, he found no significant correlation between student success and land use organization or spatial configuration.
Amir’s dissertation, The Morphology of the Well Designed Campus is the first research to use rigorous statistical methods to quantify the relationship between the physical characteristics of a campus and student success. This is not a series of case studies or perceptual surveys. This work connects the theory and practice of campus planning to student success by carefully controlling for relevant variables. Continue reading →
Academic libraries have long shown the signs of digital transformation. The card catalogue was the first old friend to leave the building. Online resources have grown exponentially. Millions of unused books are being removed from active holdings. A wave of construction is transforming academic libraries into vibrant hubs of campus activity and community – no longer cul-de-sacs of paper.
Often lost in the glitzy stories of architecture, trendy furniture and high tech gadgetry are the leaders and the ideas that are at the heart of the transformation. Now on the stage are Lee Van Orsel and a generation of academic librarians leading and sometimes pulling their organizations and institutions into a future that is both physical and digital. They share a passion for the reinvention of libraries for people not paper, for access not control.
Lee and I talked at the Re-think It: Libraries for a New Age Conference at Grand Valley State University. Hers is a story of mission before place, changing academic culture before changing architecture and throughout serving to the needs of students and faculty. There are lessons here for all campus planners and designers.
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.
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.
My campus planning course explores the future of campuses and prepares emerging professionals for these practice settings.
For the first half of the semester I experimented with making the room bigger – dissolving the walls that bound the traditional classroom. On March 3, 2015, for example, our session on the future of the campus included more than 40 students and guests in time zones from Western Europe to British Columbia. The synchronous discussion engaged students with the perspectives of academics and professional campus planners. Continue reading →
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.
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.
Even in the digitally driven future of higher education, three-dimensional classroom spaces will be needed. They won’t be used in the traditional manner and they won’t be the traditional kind. They will be bigger, flatter, faster and there will be fewer classrooms for the same number of students.
Lectures will continue, but already they occupy less class time. Pedagogy is changing in and outside of the classroom. In the classroom, change is not disabling the lecture; it is enabling discussion, teamwork and practical applications. Whether fast or slow, the rate of change is limited by each institution’s culture. Differences in institutional culture will become evident in the structure of classrooms and what happens there. Continue reading →
The long term survivability of traditional higher education is in doubt. MOOC’s, SPOC’s and digital disruption are ideas prominently in play. Yet the value of physical campus, however difficult to define, endures. Duke Oakley, former UCLA Campus Architect and Assistant Vice Chancellor for Design and Construction, has written an extensive Guest Commentary on the continued relevance of the college campus. [link]
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. During his tenure, he guided the planning of the campus and the design of more than 4.5 million square feet of new building area and renovation of more than 3 million square feet.
“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.
The empty lecture hall is just one sign of redesign in higher education. Substituting digital formats for large live lectures is the simplest and earliest stage of higher education redesign. This process of substituting synthetic for real will take several years and there will be many failed experiments. Whether in the mega courses offered by Coursera and their ilk, or the burgeoning number of asynchronous on-line offerings of traditional institutions, the availability of higher education is rapidly expanding beyond the traditional constraints of geography and time. Almost all of the expansion is digital.
The good news is that most of these new digital forms are no worse – and are often better – than the large traditional lecture hall formats. Most would agree that expanded access to higher education is a good thing for most of the planet’s population. Daphne Koller considers it to be inappropriate to compare Coursera’s offerings [and other digital products] to face-to-face interaction with the best faculty members. The only fair comparison is access versus no access. Continue reading →