Update on the 2016 LSC Roundtables: Focusing on the Future of Planning Learning Spaces - Boston University

Boston University was the site for the 2nd Roundtable, held on April 8, 2016.  The iterative process of examining, exploring, and broadening driving questions focusing on the future of planning began with participating academics and architects discussing their individual reflections on the questions posed in the architectural portfolios that were a major resource for this roundtable. Initial questions included:

  • In creating collaborative learning spaces to engage interdisciplinary learning and research, how can the spaces bring the best intersection of “competition” and “collaboration” among disciplines and/or departments? 
    —Susan M. Fliss, Harvard University

  • How might we better integrate: i) pedagogically-informed design of instructional spaces with: ii) faculty development to take maximal advantage of state-of-the-art teaching spaces with: iii) assessment of the effectiveness of new spaces and teaching modalities?
    —James V. Staros, University of Massachusetts Amherst

These and other questions raised by participants sparked wide-ranging conversations circling at first around the notion of social innovation theory, about the role of the champion in making change happen—and about what a champion is and about the role of an institution to develop, nurture, and support champions. This discussion wove around the issue of risk-taking. As one participant noted, there is a tremendous cost to a champion for pushing—for promoting innovation through—especially since not everyone is in his or her corner. We need to be discussing the social friction of innovating and the practical issues relating to innovating such as costs and disruptions.

We invite your attention to Questions Driving the 2016 LSC Roundtable at Boston University and to the Portfolio of Architectural Stories from the Field prepared for that discussion.

Fuller reports will be developed for each of the roundtables, including an edited transcript of major discussions and resources prepared for and emerging from a particular roundtable. Also included will be a template for the roundtable process, suggesting how to adapt this process in other settings.


Stepped seating area with advanced media capabilities
​Straz Center Modernization & Expansion, Carthage College


Experiential learning environments nurturing cross-pollination
Academic Innovation Center, Bryant University


A repurposed collaborative study space
Interactive Studio Classroom, Boston University


Imagining the spaces that encourage collaboration
E. Craig Wall Jr. Academic Building, Davidson College


Interweaving of informal spaces and program elements
Academic Science Center, University of Kentucky


Engineering Product Innovation Center (EPIC), Boston University


Campus Commons view from library entry
Rollins Campus Center & Library, Young Harris College


Social Hub: Exploiting Spaces for Sharing
New STEM Building, The University of Mississippi