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Articles: Classroom

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.


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 .

As technology advances and students remain on the cutting edge, colleges and universities have no choice but to keep up. That means ensuring that students can access the information they need, whenever they need it, from whatever device they choose. This creates an array of challenges for institutions, from increased volume of help desk calls, to providing a consistent user experience across devices and operating systems, to controlling access to sensitive information.

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.

A National Council on Teacher Quality report compared grades given in teacher preps courses to other majors. (Click to enlarge)

A National Council on Teacher Quality report citing a lack of rigor and grade inflation in teacher preparation courses is being disputed by the organization that represents college and university education programs.

Higher ed thought leaders and reader surveys provide insights into what's ahead for colleges and universities in 2015.

To help our readers navigate the coming year in higher education, University Business proudly presents Outlook 2015. In-depth stories cover the major trends impacting administration and management, enrollment and retention, finance, facilities, technology, and teaching and learning. We interviewed administrators and other experts in each of these topics to capture their predictions about what 's on the horizon for colleges and universities.

Gerry McCartney, CIO of the Purude University system and vice president for information technology, will deliver a keynote at the UBTech conference in June.

Gerry McCartney embraces technology as much as he rejects it. As CIO of the Purdue University system, as well as vice president for information technology, he knows that bringing technology to teaching requires a delicate balance. While it can simplify some processes, it still can’t replace what he calls “the learning moment.”

Course scheduling is tied integrally to two of an institution’s most expensive resources—facilities and faculty.

Course scheduling is tied integrally to two of an institution’s most expensive resources—facilities and faculty. Managing schedules involves more than just cracking a complex logistical code each semester—it’s also a potential bane or boon to the operating budget.