In April, Miranda Groth attended the Society for College and University Planning (SCUP) 2017 North Central Symposium. The one-day program featured information on creating successful, long-range plans that go beyond the traditional silos. The event’s speakers covered a wide-range of topics, but one theme emerged – preparation is key. Below, we’re sharing five ways universities and colleges can stay ahead of the curve.
1: An emergency plan should cover more than the expected. However, creating one is no simple feat. Consider how you’ll respond in a crisis if your entire community is affected. For example, will your facility become a triage or medical emergency location? Can generators power your facilities if substations are down? If student housing is impacted, what will you do? Ask the hard questions and put solid protocols in place.
2: Taking action on emissions can start sooner than you think. Facilities are seeing a reduction in maintenance costs by using environmental data differently. Instead of reviewing it after the fact, they are anticipating issues and fixing them before they take place. Start by assessing the accuracy of the data. Compare it to peer institutions. Then, set a new, 2020 goal and begin working towards it.
3: Colleges and universities are preparing students for jobs that don’t yet exist and technologies that have yet to be created. There is a shift towards asynchronous learning with digital tools. There is also a move from hardware to software. Providing project based learning opportunities is the focus. New trends, like gamification, information ubiquity, disintermediation, tangible computing and virtualized classrooms are all examples of how colleges and university are placing a greater emphasis on tech.
4: The road to funding projects is long and changing. Start now. Cuts in state funding for higher education have caused institutions to start looking at other methods for funding their capital projects. Two, Helix clients, Jim Modig of the University of Kansas and Bob Simmons of the University of Missouri-Kansas City, shared their journey in securing funds on a SCUP panel. Many entities are moving to new funding models, as state dollars become harder to obtain. While donors are still an option, P3 arrangements with private developers are becoming more commonplace.
5: Classroom design is taking its cue from the office. Students need spaces to apply the knowledge they’re learning. Rooms are beginning to model the workforce with more flexibility and areas for teamwork. Because the market continues to evolve, beta testing for faculty to play with a room and see what needs improvement is a key step in both renovations and ongoing evaluation of the spaces available.