Past Meetings


Friday, January 26, 8:45-10:00 am       


  • Dan Dressen, Associate Provost and Professor of Music, St. Olaf College
  • Susan Fliss, Dean of Libraries, Smith College
  • Gail Burd, Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, University of Arizona
  • Meredith Bostwick-Lorenzo Eiroa, Associate Director, Skidmore, Owings and Merrill LLP

This is an interactive session, modeling how discussions about learning spaces should happen on a campus--before, during, and after undertaking a particular project. Participants will learn how questions focusing on the future are driving planning of the physical environment for undergraduates at campuses across the country. In a facilitated conversation, panelists--one librarian, one faculty member, one administrator and one architect—will begin by sharing their experiences at the early stages of planning: what was the initial on-campus spark for attention to spaces (faculty members frustrated with current spaces); what voices were at or needed to be brought to the table along the way (senior academic administrators; faculty at different career stages, trustees, students, staff); what lessons about planning they adapted from the work of peers (sandboxing, risk-taking); how they reached a common vision and language for their planning.

Concluding remarks will speak to the impact of attention to spaces on institutional culture of planning and on a campus climate in which all students, no matter their background or career aspiration are motivated to persist and succeed. Findings from research and practice validate the correlation of becoming and belonging to a community of practice as a key to student persistence and success. This sense of belonging can happen in classrooms designed to accommodate research-based pedagogies. It can happen in "third spaces" enabling serendipitous collisions of ideas and private reflection, and in technology-enhanced spaces for exploring, sharing and shaping new ideas. These spaces can be new, renewed, repurposed, in a single building or scattered across a campus. No matter the scope or size of a project, the importance of learner-centered planning and focusing on the institutional mission and vision is clear. One major goal is that students become aware of themselves as learners. Another is that institutional climate for student success has been enhanced for students of today and into the future.

Learning Outcomes

  1. How attention to the physical environment challenges current cultures for planning; the importance of engaging a diversity of stakeholders sharing a commitment to focusing on the future.
  2. How learner-centered planning drives the process: the need for a common understanding of research on learning and a clear awareness of how your students experience learning now and shared aspirations for learners into the future.
  3. How hard this is. How to begin, keep going, and celebrate along the way.


2018 AAC&U Annual Meeting: Can Higher Education Recapture the Elusive American Dream?

January 24, 2018 to January 27, 2018
Grand Hyatt Washington
1000 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001


Jan. 10, 2018
12 - 1:30 p.m.

Learning Spaces



  • Jeanne L. Narum, Learning Spaces Collaboratory

  • TBA, Cornell University
  • Rebecca Rotundo, MA, University at Buffalo
  • Lisa Stephens, PhD, Office of the SUNY Provost

Learn more here >>

Friday, November 3, 2017
1:30 PM – 2:45 PM 


  • Jeanne L. Narum, Principal—Learning Spaces Collaboratory


  • ​Pamela Scott-Johnson, Dean College of Natural and Social Sciences—California State University Los Angeles 
  • Representatives of LSC Collaborating Partners (TBA)

​What questions should one ask when contemplating the physical environment for learning?  How does a campus community and/or those responsible for a particular learning space reach consensus on questions that reflect the context and their collective vision of what they want their learners to become?  Is there a process of questioning that links attention to spaces to broader institutional initiatives? These are questions emerging as academics and architects today plan learning spaces for tomorrow. Session facilitators will introduce a pilot approach for integrating attention spaces for learning into ongoing institutional planning. It reflects lessons learned from Learning Spaces Collaboratory (LSC) roundtables (2015 – 2017) about the iterative planning process of addressing these questions: What do we want our learners to become? What keeps me up at night when thinking about learning and learning spaces? What is the most audacious question that should be driving our planning? Why is it audacious, in our culture and context? When should this question be addressed in the process of planning? Following remarks by facilitators, table groups will prepare a collective response to those questions, using the LSC Blueprint for Spaces for Learning (now under construction). The workshop will end with a poster session and open discussion.  


2017 Transforming STEM Higher Education: Discovery, Innovation, and the Value of Evidence
November 2, 2017 to November 4, 2017
Westin St. Francis
335 Powell Street
San Francisco, CA 94102

Over the past decade, many academic institutions across the continent have imagined and realized remarkable physical facilities for education and research, those serving particular disciplinary communities and those contributing to a campus-wide eco-system of spaces for learning. This is a timely moment to step back and explore what is working now, then to look forward and consider how to embrace the future as the next generation of fine arts spaces is envisioned.

This session will include an iterative conversation, sparked by stories from the Emily Carr University of Art & Design, the Virginia Commonwealth University and the Learning Spaces Collaboratory (LSC) community about what works, and what questions were asked during planning. Participants will be invited to share their recent experiences.

The conversation then continues with a focus on questions for the future, those building on what we are learning from research, practice and personal experience that begin to push the envelope and challenge planners to move out of their comfort zone.

Questions emerging from within the LSC community will set the stage for further discussion among participants:  e.g. Do spaces (de) motivate learners? How do you manage serendipity? Can “space” go beyond nurturing collaboration to prompting problem-solving and creativity? How do we help form relationships, environments and events that are mind and heart-altering that challenge, refresh, inspire, and transform how learning happens? What is the impact of space on the learner? When students enter into our spaces for learning, what do we hope their response will be?

These and many other questions are being asked by teams of academics and architects now. Fine arts deans are uniquely qualified to tackle these questions in imagining their spaces for learning for their broader campus community. What questions do you think should be on the table when envisioning fine arts spaces for the future?  Responses to that question will be gathered and posted for review following this session.


  • Jeanne L. Narum, Principal – Learning Spaces Collaboratory
  • William Newhouse, Technical Services Manager – emily carr university of art + design
  • Matt Woolman, Executive Director, VCUArts, Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship – Virginia Commonwealth University


Crossing Boundaries: The 54th Annual Conference of the International Council of Fine Arts Deans

Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities
Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design Chief Academic Officer Meeting
Canadian Association of Fine Arts Deans 

The Halifax Marriott Harbourfront
Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
October 18 – 20, 2017

Jeanne L. Narum, Principal - Learning Spaces Collaboratory

An interactive summit for high-level individuals dealing with higher ed, space planning, educational development, estates and facilities, future-focused education, etc. This year's focus is on modern learning space design and future classrooms, supporting evolving pedagogical approaches, student experience, creative problem solving in classroom design, higher ed work environments and impacts on teaching behavior, and other practical learning points. The event features an impressive series of speakers from all over the world.

2nd Annual Summit Innovative Learning Spaces
Prague, Czech Republic
September 28-29, 2017


July 12 - 13, 2017 (tentative)
(Roundtables are by invitation.)


June 22, 2017
(Roundtables are by invitation.)


June 7, 2017
(Roundtables are by invitation.)


May 18, 2017
(Roundtables are by invitation.)

May 4, 2017


  • Susan Albertine, Senior Scholar, Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) and Committee Member, Integrating Higher Education in the Arts, Humanities, Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Project, National Academies
  • Robert Beichner, Alumni Distinguished Undergraduate Professor of Physics and Director of the NCSU STEM Education Initiative - North Carolina State University
  • David F. Brakke, Dean and Professor Emeritus, College of Science and Mathematics - James Madison University
  • Linda Hodges, Associate Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs, Director, Faculty Development Center - University of Maryland, Baltimore County
  • Kevin Johnson, Principal - SmithGroupJJR
  • Jeanne L. Narum, Principal - Learning Spaces Collaboratory and Founding Director, Project Kaleidoscope (PKAL)
  • Laura Ott, Director, Science Education Research Unit, College of Natural and Mathematical Sciences - University of Maryland, Baltimore County
  • Robin Wright, Head, Department of Biology Teaching and Learning and Editor-in-Chief, CourseSource - University of Minnesota

The LSC will develop a packet of materials from 2016 and 2017 Roundtables that illustrate how priorities of the Division of Undergraduate Education at NSF- engaged student learning and institutional and community transformation- are served by attention to planning the physical environment for 21st century learners:

NSF Program Solicitation: NSF 15-585

Priorities include educating students to be leaders and innovators in emerging and rapidly changing STEM fields as well as educating a scientifically literate populace. Both of these priorities depend on the nature and quality of the undergraduate education experience.

The impact of spaces on learning will be illustrated by photos from the architectural portfolios that are part of the Roundtable experience.

Presentation: The Planning of Spaces for Learning - Past, Present, and Future