Volume IV: What works, what matters, what lasts

What Works: Building Spaces for Science that Make a Difference


  • offers seamless transitions between spaces for teaching and research, promoting the integration of research, lecture, and labs
  • supports the dissolving of boundaries between disciplines, considering appropriate adjacencies of spaces that reflect new directions in 21st century science
  • is flexible and agile, able to respond to the unanticipated, unexpected
  • reflects an educational philosophy of a community of learners (rather than the "sage on the stage"), fostering exploration and discovery within a research-rich learning environment
  • enables the individual and the collaborative experiences that are central to success as learner
  • accommodates the tools and technologies that are becoming commonplace in strong 21st century STEM learning environments
  • is designed to attract and sustain student interest in STEM fields from their very first days as students through upper level courses
  • recognizes the 24/7 nature of learning within an undergraduate STEM community.


  • serves as a venue to bring the campus community together to celebrate science as a central liberal art, highlighting the broader social context of science and technology
  • has circulation patterns that draw people into the spaces, and that encourage dialog outside of the times for formal learning
  • provides opportunities for collaboration with communities beyond the STEM fields, as well as to the communities of stakeholders beyond the campus
  • enhances the aesthetic quality of the campus
  • is itself a "laboratory" for learning, incorporating visible attention to sustainability (energy & water conservation, natural light, etc.)
  • reflects careful stewardship of institutional resources over the long-term, with attention to ease of maintenance and opportunity for future adaptations.


  • are comfortable with spaces that are student-centered– fostering discovery, skills of problem-solving and critical thinking
  • are uncomfortable with spaces that do not promote strong learning
  • are actively and visibly engaged in scholarly pursuits, continuing to explore new directions in science and technology that can transform their scholarly career, as well as their students' learning
  • continue to experiment with new learning environments, recognizing the relationship between the quality of space and the quality of learning.