Classroom Master Plan 2.0

I’m excited: after several years of work, the University of Richmond has released its second Classroom Master Plan.  Our original plan was developed in 2004, and among the goals was the standardization of resources in classrooms across campus.  This made it possible for the Registrar to move a class when issues came up around the original space.  The original plan went further, showing that we needed to flip the number of lecture classrooms with the number of discussion classrooms.  There were other pieces, and you can read about them in the new plan’s Appendix 05: Context for the Analysis.

One of the greatest accomplishments of the original Classroom Master Plan is that it brought together the Registrar’s Office, Facilities, and Information Services so that we could work with deans and the faculty to determine what classrooms were priorities and how they needed to be changed to accommodate the kind of teaching we expected to emerge over the coming decade.  By bringing the different offices together, we made sure that a classroom renovation took care of everything from the furniture to the multimedia in the room.  We set up lighting zones and learned over time to have more flexible furniture so classes could reconfigure themselves.

Coming out of the new plan, we see that while we’ve established a strong infrastructure for classrooms, we now want to look at how learning spaces can and should be different from one another, based on the approaches to teaching our faculty plan to take.  Rather than survey the faculty, the Classroom Master Plan committee went out to every department and school to listen to them about their current challenges and the kinds of learning spaces they’d like to use in the coming years.  In the end, we spoke with more than 185 faculty as well as several groups of students, to get as much input into the new master plan as possible.

I’m particularly excited that we’ve committed to explore incubator learning spaces that will give faculty and students classrooms that test out new configurations to see if learning can be improved.  We’re also going to work on the informal learning spaces all over campus to see how we can make them more efficient for individuals or groups of students.

The bigger, more transformational classroom renovations will be handled as capital projects.  The ongoing Classroom Committee, chaired by the Registrar, will work on an annual basis to renovate 5-10 classrooms each summer, gathering input from the faculty who teach in those spaces.

The documents we produced with the architects from Ayers Saint Gross are available on the Classroom Master Plan web site.  We’re also starting to keep a record of the classroom renovations and updates we complete each year on that site.  A few of the documents from the plan are available only to members of the University community, but there’s lots to explore if you are looking at creating a classroom master plan for your institution.

As a member of the Classroom Committee, who will work to realize the Classroom Master Plan in the coming years, I’m excited at the conversations to come and the improvements to University of Richmond learning spaces.

Documents in the Classroom Master Plan include

  • The Classroom Master Plan
  • Appendix 01: Classroom Audit Report – details existing conditions of all classrooms on campus.  The document also shows how frequently each classroom was used over the fall and spring semesters.  It’s only available to the University community.
  • Appendix 02: Classroom Utilization Analysis & Room Mix Detail – It’s only available to the University community.
  • Appendix 03: Appendix Workshop Report – Details on the workshops Ayers Saint Gross conducted with faculty and students.
  • Appendix 04: Technology Report
  • Appendix 05: Context for the Analysis – the background of the University’s first classroom master plan and why we wanted to create a new plan
  • Appendix 06: Committee Structure
  • Appendix 07: Classroom Master Plan Interviews – interviews conducted with each department and school on campus.  Only available to the University community.

We’re also documenting the changes made to classrooms each year.  You can see our summer 2015 activity on this page.

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