Shaping environments for undergraduate learning in STEM fields: Opportunities for research & comprehensive universities

Some Questions

from Institutional Teams Attending PKAL Facilities Planning Workshop


    • How do you connect the process of planning new spaces for science to the institutional vision of its future?
    • What is the "out-of-the-box" thinking about STEM research, learning and teaching in undergraduate settings that we should be incorporating into our planning?


    • Can the process of planning can dissolve the departmental and disciplinary boundaries that are barriers to the development of interdisciplinary programs on our campus (can facilities planning advance our need for shared curricular planning in the sciences)?
    • The transition from spaces that support primarily traditional lecture/recitation class formats to those which must support multiple and diverse pedagogies is typically a gradual one and depends on faculty and departmental acceptance of new curriculum, technology resources, and pedagogies. How do you deal with this transition in the process of planning new spaces for science?
    • Recognizing the rapidity of change in the practice of science, in technologies and pedagogies, how do you ensure that a facility that is "state-of-the-art" today will continue to serve our community well for years to come?
    • How do you anticipate the faculty and the program of the future as you plan today?


    • In a time when capital costs are high and financial resources are limited what are the most effective strategies for convincing senior leadership of the long-term benefit of developing functional, cost-effective learning environments that support new technologies and pedagogies?


    • How do we prevent (in the planning process) budget overruns that lead to the reduction of specialized (but softer) spaces that enhance the informal interactions that are so essential to the doing of good?
    • What are the ways to initiate and manage the planning process so we continue to progress in light of ever diminishing resources?


    • What are the most common mistakes made in the planning process?
    • What is the one "wow, I wish we'd thought of that" idea from your experience of planning?