Dean & Provost
While officials at almost every higher education
The goals are to enhance the perceived value of an institution’s offerings versus the competition’s, including online alternatives, and to provide educational environments that connect in meaningful ways to today’s and future student populations, including faculty and staff. Of course, a grand architectural gesture is still valued, but this “connected” generation will truly identify with the smaller, day-today enhancements. And these small enhancements will cause less stress to facility budgets.
Here are some design strategies colleges and
1) Keep the students and staff on campus longer.
It is typical for students to leave campus
Each educational facility should minimally provide
Hallways should be reimagined as flex spaces, lounges, breakout spaces, intimate nooks, and even places for small classes. Providing different environments in close proximity can offer students and faculty opportunities to support different types of activities
depending on the task at hand or even one’s mood. When possible, access to outdoor spaces complete with seating and tables should be provided.
The return on investment is a higher level of satisfaction among students and faculty, who will want to remain in the buildings longer. This not only creates opportunities for educational interactions outside of class, but also makes students feel more at home, since they can find their spot to hang out in, study, socialize, or even catch a quick nap (rather than in class).
2) Provide furniture designed to engage.
At a minimum, lounge chairs that can accommodate numerous positions, provide a surface for writing or accommodating a tablet/laptop, have integrated or adjacent electrical/USB ports for power, and can be easily moved so students can work in collaborative groups or on their own need to be provided. Specialty chairs can be sprinkled into the mix, allowing students to spin, move and play. These challenge students to be in the “present,” requiring them to disconnect from their “always-connected” mind-sets, putting aside their electronic devices if only for a few minutes.
In lounge and gathering areas, tables with surrounding stools can act as impromptu landing zones and provide surfaces or tear-off paper tops to provide good old “analog” writing and drawing opportunities for small groups to engage with each other sans technology. Ironically, students typically find these “old school” approaches to be fresh and cool since the digital versions are almost commonplace to them....