Facilities Workshop

2009 PKAL Summer Workshop on Planning Facilities for Undergraduate Science, Engineering & Mathematics

June 13 - 15, 2009

Beloit College
Beloit, Wisconsin

Due to low applications, the workshop has been canceled. If you had planned on submitting an application, please notify the Project Kaleidoscope Office at pkal@pkal.org for notification of future opportunities.

The 2009 PKAL Summer Workshop on Planning Facilities is an opportunity for faculty and administrators to explore approaches to shaping spaces that serve institutional goals for student learning in STEM fields and for environmental sustainability.

Arriving at spaces that serve goals for learning and for sustainability were primary drivers for the faculty, administrators and architects planning the new Beloit College Center for Sciences. Their "host site" story will detail the experiences of two national STEM reform initiatives, the BioQUEST Curriculum Consortium and ChemLinks (Beloit College is home to both), in developing and using curricular and pedagogical innovation as a foundation for their planning and describe what works for them now that their students and faculty are learning, teaching, and researching in their new spaces for science.

Workshop participants (individuals and teams) will have first-hand experiences with contemporary pedagogical practices that require learning spaces that easily accommodate collaborating, problem-solving teams of undergraduate learners and that enable easy access to tools, technologies and instrumentation needed by learners/practitioners in 21st century STEM fields. Participants will explore intersections involved in planning curricula, pedagogies and spaces designed for undergraduate STEM learning communities.

From the Beloit experience and that of projects representing the work of other facilitating architects, workshop participants will explore questions of ‘sustainability’ planning; for example, how can you plan to incorporate "green" as a visible dimension in your moves to develop a formal laboratory for learning?

Institutional teams are ideal, which would include faculty from involved departments and administrators with responsibility for decisions that affect the quality and character of new/renovated spaces; however, individual participants are also welcome. The objective of this workshop is that at the end of the weekend teams will leave with an agenda for action to plan new spaces for science that will serve their institution with distinction over the long-term. The shaping of this agenda will be facilitated by architects and with academics with recent experience in facilities planning.

In plenary and break-out sessions, participating teams will consider some of the driving issues currently facing science faculty, their administrative colleagues, and design professionals in planning STEM facilities of the future.

Pedagogies— how to design spaces that:

  • accommodate introductory courses designed around contemporary "inquiry-based" pedagogies
  • reflect contemporary research in cognitive science- how students learn and how faculty teach
  • allow the collaborative, problem-solving group work that characterizes the strong undergraduate STEM program of today
  • enable teachers to make the most effective use of information technologies to strengthen student learning.

Institutional issues— how to design a facility that:

  • incorporates sustainability in its concept, siting, orientation, design, construction and operation, that results in cost-effectiveness over the long-term, and that is itself a laboratory for science
  • does not become obsolete as new directions in science and technology (and/or new pedagogies) emerge, but is rather itself a catalyst for continual renewal of program
  • is a welcoming destination for members of their campus community, a place for recognizing and celebrating the role of science and technology in our world today
  • signals the value that the college or university places on research, learning and teaching in STEM fields.

Several recently completed STEM projects will be spotlighted.


    James W. Baird, Principal- Holabird and Root
    Robert J. Beichner, Alumni Distinguished Professor of Physics & Co-Director of the NCSU STEM Education Initiative -North Carolina State University
    Elizabeth S. Ericson, Principal, Kahler Slater –Milwaukee
    Alan F. Hohlfelder, Principal -MacLachlan, Cornelius & Filoni Architects
    John R. Jungck, Mead Chair of the Sciences & Professor of Biology – Beloit College
    Jeanne L. Narum, Director, Project Kaleidoscope
    Wendy Newstetter, Director of Learning Sciences Research, Department of Biomedical Engineering-Georgia Institute of Technology
    Brock Spencer, Kohnstamm Professor of Chemistry-Beloit College
    Ethel Stanley, Director of BioQUEST Curriculum Consortium- Beloit College
    Robin Wright, Associate Dean, Department of Biological Sciences-University of Minnesota



Student-Centered Active Learning Environment for Undergraduate Programs
Benefits of an Interactive Classroom
A Video from the College of Biological Sciences at University of Minnesota
Center for Science at Beloit College
Creating Spaces to Support Communities of Learners
Wendy Newstetter
Facilities Directory
Introduction to the SCALE-UP (Student-Centered Activities for Large Enrollment Undergraduate Programs) Project
Robert J. Beichner, Jeffrey M. Saul