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Articles: Classroom

The first new building added to Trinity’s historic Washington, D.C. campus in more than half a century, provides much needed instructional space for the school’s growing nursing and health programs as well as a step into modern architecture.

The success of the studio concept does not just resonate for a graduate student audience, but can and should be articulated for undergraduates as well. If MBAs must work collaboratively, digitally and dynamically, so should undergraduate students.

At Juniata College in Pennsylvania, students took Arabic for the first time last fall by enrolling in a course at Gettysburg College via video conference.

Amherst College students, meanwhile, can major in architectural studies by taking classes at four neighboring colleges. And at Cabrini College near Philadelphia, students from five institutions researched viruses last summer in a new undergraduate science program.

A more centralized approach to course scheduling at Somerset Community College has increased the rates of filled classroom seats and helped students fit in the courses they need to graduate on time. Between 2008 and 2014, the average seat-fill rate has increased by 24 percent and the average student credit load has increased by 48 percent.

Students don’t quite run the show when it comes to course scheduling. But colleges and universities are striving to make it easier for them—with their ongoing juggle of work, family and school commitments.

Brent Betit helped found Landmark College, the world's first college for students with learning disabilities.

The spaces we create for people with learning disabilities can support success or guarantee failure.

Three decades ago, I led a team in designing an entire college campus specifically for students with learning disabilities.

Nearly a decade in the making, the new science building at Clayton State University in Georgia adds a much-needed 58,610 square feet of learning facilities to campus.

The building nearly triples the school’s lab space, creating more efficient facilities to accommodate increasing enrollment.

CHALLENGE:

Clayton State’s enrollment has grown to more than 7,200 students from 4,675 in 2001. There are more student science majors, and every student is required to take laboratory classes.

While renovating the Rotunda at the University of Virginia, workers found a “chemical hearth” hidden behind the walls.

It turned out to have been part of an early science classroom commissioned by university founder Thomas Jefferson. The room, likely sealed in the mid-1800s, survived a fire in 1895 that destroyed much of the building’s interior.

At 500,000 square feet, the new Science and Engineering Hall at The George Washington University is the largest academic building dedicated to these fields in the nation’s capital.

And it serves thousands of students and roughly 140 faculty members in the heart of the Foggy Bottom campus. The building, known on campus as the SEH, provides eight floors of laboratory space to support both academics and research.

There’s a new attendance option for online students of Michigan State University’s educational psychology and educational technology doctoral program: They can come to class via robot. Instead of sitting in on a stagnant videoconference, the robots allow students to scan the room remotely and feel physically engaged.

Kevin Carey

Online degrees are poised to shake up the academy, says Kevin Carey, director of educational policy at the New America Foundation. That they haven’t yet is not the fault of technology as much as it is the perceived value of a traditional college diploma. That document tells little more than the applicant attended classes at a particular institution. Carey says digital assessments and data gathering from a “University of Everywhere,” pioneered by projects such as edX and Coursera, will provide far more insight on a graduate’s potential for success.

With a design to do things their own way, Generation Z, or people ages 16 to 19, could change higher ed.

Students today primarily get their entertainment from the Internet, says veteran UBTech speaker Brian Klaas, senior web systems designer at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. This type of information delivery  shapes their expectations around how content should be presented in the classroom--expectations that can clash with traditional teaching methods .

Donald Farish, president of Roger Williams University, predicts nonprofit private colleges will continue to increase both tuition and discount rates in 2015. Farish will deliver a keynote at the UBThrive conference in June.

Presidents and other thought leaders look ahead on cost, technology, learning and the other big issues in higher education.

Carol Long is interim president at the State University of New York, Geneseo.

We are facing unaccustomed financial, demographic and competitive pressures, and if we do not address them now, many of us won’t be around in another 40 years.

This does not mean changing our institutional missions. It means learning to adapt and take risks. We ask our students to take risks every day; now it is our turn.

 to progress toward degrees outside the typical semester track—will grow in 2015

What college students are learning—and how—has become a mainstream talking point across the political spectrum. Much of this talk concerns dollars and cents—namely, cost and payoff. As a result, 2015 may be a year in which many institutions do a gut-check of their own value propositions, as pressure to increase affordability—and return on investment—pervades all of higher education.

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