PKAL Volume IV: What Works, What Matters, What Lasts

Student Learning Goals: Implications for Planning- Resources for the 2007 PKAL Summer Institute IV

May 18, 2007

Recognizing that although “planning is an unnatural process,” (to quote Sir John Harvey Jones), from the experiences of PKAL leaders and institutions we are deriving some best practices and lessons learned to facilitate the process of planning, to enhance the creativity of planners as they imagine and invent the future of their undergraduate STEM learning environment.

In this posting we present: i) an agenda for planning that is built around attention to student learning goals; ii) a template for programming new spaces for sciences that can serve as a template for broader planning initiatives (developing faculty/programs), that includes a snapshot journey through recent spaces for science, with the rationale for such spaces, that illustrate approaches to designing spaces that serve student learning.

Again, these materials set the stage for discussions and explorations at the 2007 PKAL Leadership Institute.

There are many points from which to start the process of planning the transformation of the undergraduate STEM learning environments, even when you might agree with Sir John Harvey-Jones, that:

Planning is an unnatural process; it is much more fun to do something. The nicest thing about not planning is that failure comes as a complete surprise, rather than begin preceded by period of worry and depression.

The PKAL Planning Process— which considers mission, vision, goals, strategies, and actions— provides a road map that makes planning a more natural process.

Questions raised by campuses exploring new spaces for science offer another type of road map for institutional leaders intent on shaping their institutional future, including questions such as “what do we need to be thinking about in creating innovative environments for learning and working?"

One approach to answering that question is to learn from the work of others. Reviewing materials from the Keck/PKAL consultancies and from presentations at recent PKAL meetings are one means to learn from the work of others.