Project Volume IV: What Works, What Matters, What Lasts
The PKAL Facilities Resource
For Project Kaleidoscope, the process of planning- be it for spaces or broader institutional efforts- begins with asking the right questions and with having the right people at the table in a timely manner as such 'right' questions are addressed. This is one of the key PKAL lessons learned that can inform the work of institutional planning teams- be they focusing on planning spaces or programs, budgets or faculty development efforts. The process of questioning also highlights two other over-arching key lessons learned that are relevant for teams charged with planning new spaces for science. The first is that building community should be seen as a goal both for the process of planning and the product of planning; the second is that there is a broader community of peers whose experience and expertise can inform and advance the work of local teams.
The PKAL Facilities Planning Resource presents a PKAL Facilities Portfolio which incorporates materials and information about 21st Century Facilities for Undergraduate STEM Learning- about the people and the process, about how to determine the project scope, the project vision and context. Issues relating to a focus on the future and illustrations and discussions of specific spaces for undergraduate STEM learning communities are also included.
A central thread through all of these is that the process, from asking questions to seeking and sharing expertise, should reflect a sure sense of institutional mission and identity. The following questions, adapted from PKAL Volume III: Structures for Science, illustrate one approach to linking institutional and facilities planning.
- When was the last time we revisited, revised, or reaffirmed our institutional vision, in the context of our institutional mission and circumstances?
- What are our institutional priorities in regard to student learning in STEM fields? How have those priorities have been determined?
- Do we have a current academic plan? Does it visibly reflect our mission? Is it compatible with our understanding of the future in which our students will live and work?
- Do the changes we envision for the sciences fit within our mission and our current academic plan? Do they reflect a common understanding of findings from cognitive science about how people learn and how those findings can influence how we shape programs, pedagogies, and spaces?
- Does our thinking about the future of the sciences for our community represent several independent visions or does it capture the sense of the community?