Since 1992, Project Kaleidoscope has given significant attention to shaping spaces that facilitate, nurture and strengthen learning in STEM fields. Over the past decade, over four hundred colleges and universities have participated in one or more of the twenty-two PKAL workshops on planning facilities.
Continuing this emphasis, PKAL held an assembly, Building Spaces for Science That Make A Difference in September 2003 at Lawrence University (read about Lawrence University's new facility) and the University of Wisconsin-Fox Valley. This assemby was one of the 10x10 assemblies held to commemorate the 10th year of PKAL's Faculty for the 21st Century Network. This assembly was planned by F21 members and their colleagues with demonstrated expertise in science facilities. Interested faculty and administrators were encouraged to participate.
In addition to the assembly specifically focused on facilities planning, other 2003 PKAL assemblies were designed to signal the impact of space on the quality and character of student learning. Many were held in new spaces for science (view Oberlin's new science center), such as the assembly at Oberlin College where discussions explored how to build learning environments that prepare students for graduate schools and for post-baccalaureate careers in S&T fields. The assembly at the University of Portland, focusing on environmental education and research, also explored how facilities can themselves be laboratories for learning about sustainability and other environmental issues.
Two events in the spring of 2003 continued this emphasis within PKAL.
In March 2003, an invitational PKAL Roundtable on the Science Facility of the Future was held at the Cranbrook Educational Community in Michigan, exploring four dimensions of a facility that would serve an undergraduate STEM learning community well into mid-century: how 21st century science and 21st century technologies must be accommodated, how the facility will address issues relating to sustainability and community.
In April 2003, a PKAL Facilities Planning Workshop was held at Drury University in Missouri. Teams from thirty participating institutions joined with experienced academics, architects, lab designers and campus planners to consider how to shape a planning process that results in a facility that makes a difference.