What Works: Facilities

Spaces that assist in building robust interdisciplinary programs:

  • are living laboratories in which to explore issues relating to environmental concerns
  • enable interdisciplinary collaborations in learning and research.

Spaces that serve to strengthen student learning:

  • are flexible enough to support and adapt to multiple pedagogies and learning styles
  • foster sustainable learning communities
  • are fully mediated and interactive (wireless, chairs/tables on wheels)
  • have ubiquitous opportunities for writing, for collaborating, for connecting to and through technologies
  • send a message about the efficacy of active, discovery-based learning, and about the relationship of the quality of space and the quality of learning.

Spaces that accommodate the advantageous use of digital resources:

  • are designed to support different levels of technological sophistication
  • support the anywhere, anytime use of these resources
  • become themselves laboratories for learning, making the doing of science visible
  • anticipate the future with their flexibility and adaptability.

Spaces that ensure the success of under-represented groups in STEM learning communities:

  • provide hospitable, welcoming environments for individual learners and for collaborating groups of learners
  • showcase the relevance and human nature of the scientific and technological enterprise.

Spaces that infuse a global dimension into the undergraduate STEM learning environment:

  • accommodate regular (electronic) communication with colleagues around the world, enriching learning and enhancing research.

Spaces that serve student learning:

  • reflect institutional goals for student learning
  • facilitate a wide range of student learning styles and pedagogical approaches
  • foster learning communities
  • make the doing of science a visibly human activity.

Spaces that link insights about how people learn into curricular reform:

  • allow for active, collaboration, inquiry-based learning (anything else is malpractice!)
  • illustrate the inter-relationship between curriculum, spaces, and goals for student learning.

Spaces that motivate students to pursue STEM carreers:

  • are centrally located– open, inviting, accessible
  • are transparent– reflecting that "doing science" is a human activity
  • accommodate the technologies and tools used by 21st century practitioners in STEM fields
  • encourage interactions between students, students and faculty in a research-rich environment
  • have social spaces in which students can connect with each other and to the world beyond the campus (with technologies).

Spaces that attract and serve all students:

  • are open and welcoming at all times to students
  • enable flexible scheduling and use by students with different learning styles
  • are themselves laboratories for learning
  • serve the entire campus community
  • reflect an understanding of the central role that science and mathematics play in 21st century educational programs.

Spaces serving the preparation of students for STEM careers:

  • accommodate a research-intensive and technology-intensive learning environment
  • facilitate access to instrumentation common in the study and practice of science/technology
  • accommodate the pedagogical approaches that lead to the development of skills for the 21st century workforce: team-work, problem-posing/solving, etc.
  • accommodate the increasingly interdisciplinary nature of the practice of science
  • play a role in recruiting strong faculty scholars who are effective role models and mentors.

- from the PKAL 2003 Assemblies