From the Field

Get a Room: The Role of Classroom Space in Sustained Implementation of Studio Style Instruction

 by Alexis V. Knaub, Kathleen T. Foote, Charles Henderson, Melissa Dancy and Robert J. Beichner


Evidence-based Learning; Evidence-based Planning
— Reflections by Jeanne L. Narum, Principal - LSC 

Among the many conflicting realities at this stage of transforming undergraduate learning environments is the disconnect between the growing body of research providing direct and unassailable evidence that not only do research-based pedagogies enhance the learning experience, but that space matters and the persistence of the question “how do you know active-learning pedagogies make a difference?”

One might ask, after reviewing formal research papers about the impact of active learning spaces such as from the University of Minnesota or examining the practice of pedagogical pioneers on one’s home campus, what evidence is required to make the case that such pedagogical approaches make a difference and that space matters.

One of the drivers for and lessons learned from the Spring 2016 LSC Roundtables is that transformative and sustainable reform of the undergraduate learning environment requires institution-wide commitment before, during, and after attention to a particular facilities project.

The 2016 research paper, Get a Room: The Role of Classroom Space in Sustained Implementation of Studio Style Instructionis an in-depth analysis of the process and impact of imagining and realizing spaces that accommodate 21st century, evidence-based pedagogies. The approach of the researchers was to put forth and examine a claim about how change happens, then provide a summary of findings emerging from their analyses.

Some examples of the claims they undertook to examine, disprove, validate.

I. About the impact of institutional involvement/leadership:
Claim 1: Individuals can plant the idea of SCALE-UP but success appears more likely when working with a variety of others as a team.
Claim 2: Administrator (departmental or institutional) involvement in initial efforts to implement SCALE-UP can increase the likelihood that the implementation spreads to include more departmental courses and/or spreads to include more departments.
Claim 3: The development of a SCALE-UP room typically involves using institutional funds that are received through a variety of means.


From the Archives

Leadership: Asking the Right Questions

How does one transform verbal and often abstract statements in steel and stone?

An intriguing question posed by Max DePree in Leadership is an Art, a small volume of reflections that has inspired and motivated generations of leaders within and beyond academe. For those responsible for facilities in the undergraduate learning environment, it is a challenge to arrive at a common language and shared vision that drives the planning process, is influenced by and influences the institutional culture. To prompt this process of shaping language and vision, DePree proposes further questions that could, perhaps should, be explored and shared by all stakeholders.


From Leadership is an Art:

How does one transform verbal and often abstract statements in steel and stone? We are all familiar with how the Greeks and the Romans left the marks of their culture in architecture. The Mayans, too, expressed their culture in distinctive buildings. Broadly, you might say that architecture deals with the relationship of people and the environment. As a company, Herman Miller deals with the relationship every day.


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