Embracing Innovation in Higher Education Design

Education historian Jonathan Zimmerman writes, “College teaching has probably seen less change than almost any other American institutional practice since the days of Henry Adams.” Indeed, contends Brian Rosenberg, president emeritus of Macalester College, “virtually no fundamental practice within higher education—calendar, tenure processes, pedagogy, grading—has changed in meaningful ways for decades, if not centuries.” The lack of change is also reflected in the spaces that deliver course curricula. Many campuses across the U.S. still rely on traditional lecture halls built decades ago; still others lack flexibility or technological infrastructure.

It’s become clear that real evolution is necessary. What should be reassuring to higher education institutions, though, is that change—real and rapid change—is possible. Just look at the example set by community colleges and career and technical high schools. For decades, these essential institutions have allowed high school grads and adult learners alike to receive technical training for in-demand and high-paying careers. Doing so has required a high level of responsiveness in both the programs offered and the facilities that serve them.

What pages might higher ed institutions take from the work-integrated learning playbook? We explore three trends—adaptive learning spaces, program-based master planning and cross-curricular spaces—in our latest executive brief. Click here for instant access.