What are the Uber or Airbnb equivalents of the university? These are the questions Tom Fisher thinks campus planners should be asking.
We are at the trailing edge of six decades of campus facilities expansion. The resulting mix of assets can be a rich foundation on which to rebuild and right-size sustainable institutions, or part of an unsustainable burden that helps to sink the rest.
In a recent interview, Fisher argued for rethinking many of the assumptions of the physical campus.
The campuses we have inherited are way too big. I know that seems odd, because when you are on a campus everyone is crying for more space, but we have a lot of highly specialized space that goes under-utilized…the faculty office being one of the more notable ones. Increasingly faculty are carrying their office in their laptop and cell phone. So this idea of having a room set aside for yourself is really antiquated. Classrooms are changing. They will still be used, but the whole campus is a teaching environment. The whole city and region is a learning environment.
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.
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.