Last Monday and Tuesday, I had an opportunity to come to the Society for College and University Planning (SCUP) Conference for the first time. It was a truly amazing and transformative experience for both learning and networking opportunities.
The main theme I learned this year is the importance of all life to have equal value. To believe in this and to act on it, each of us needs to adopt a culture of care as discussed at the opening keynote “What’s the Plan: Conversation on How We Can Work Together to Help More Striving Students Reach Their Goals” featuring Patrick Methvin of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
We need to care for other people beyond the surface and accept the fact that each of us is uniquely different, including our learning style. This is reinforced by the fact there is no two brains are exactly the same, as presented in “Learning Spaces for the Future: Personal Learning and Neurodiversity.” The solution for this requires innovations and evaluations to ensure we are going to the right path.
“Planning and Designing for Innovation: A Hackathon” provides glimpses and exercise on how we shall think innovatively. The exercise we did produces innovative solution and concept using the provided bagged items.
Another attempt on innovative solution is through a research on the best classroom layout to deliver teaching from both teacher and student perspectives presented in “The Geometry of Learning: Experiences from the Arena Classroom.” Finally, to know the solution is the right one, we will have to do post-occupancy evaluation. “Post-Occupancy Evaluation for Active Learning Environments: Methodologies, Results, & Impacts” provides some examples and attempts to evaluate the success of the proposed solution. Although we are still far away from an effective method, the direction is the right path to take.
The conference also offers more concrete example of campus wide transformation. One particularly interesting example is “Innovative Ecosystem at Campus Edge: MIT’s Kendall Square Initiative” where MIT is trying to support learning with working in the real world by attracting tech start-up, medium, and large companies to its campus and by blurring the edge of its traditional learning campus area with this innovative development mixing tech companies with student housing, museum, and retail in both new and renovated existing buildings. The result is a dynamic campus, a place making, where people want to be in.
With this great first-time experience, I will for sure look forward to another opportunity to attend SCUP conference in the future.