The New Design Future of Campus Planning Post-COVID

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Steve Morley, Director of Campus Planning at Credo joined the podcast to talk about approaching campus planning in the short-term from both a public health and pedagogical focus.

Sometimes being familiar with a space canlead to almost a lack of sensitivity for what a space could be, notjust what a space has been for the last twenty years. You're listening toenrollment growth university from Helix Education, the best professional development podcast for higher educationleaders looking to grow enrollment at their college or university. Whether you're looking forfresh enrollment growth techniques and strategies or tools and resources, you've come to theright place. Let's get into the show. Welcome back to enrollment growth university,a proud member of the connect Evu podcast network. I'm Eric Olsen withHelix Education and we're here today with Steve Mortley, director of campus planning atKrado. Steve, welcome to the show. Thank you. It's good to behere with you. We really excited to have you here today to talkabout new trends in campus planning post covid but before we dig in it,can you give the listeners a little bit better understanding of both Kraido and yourrole? They're sure so. I serve as the director of campus planning atCredo and Krado is a consulting firm that works with small colleges and universities acrossthe country. We have areas that draw up on specialties in leadership strategy,so working with strategic planning and perhaps board development, and in enrollment management,hoping to build the class for each college university. We work with areas ofstudent success, so really focused on the wellbeing of our students once they arethere, and then campus planning in architecture, and so that's the area that Iwork in. But I mentioned those areas because we see our work asinterconnected and so the way that we will work with campuses is drawing upon someof the expertise and content knowledge of each of those other areas to try tobring a comprehensive leadership to our our knowledge that we are contributing to that campus. So we've formed a number of partner relationships with campuses, about four hundreddifferent campuses across the country in those different four areas. It is a fascinatingtime to have your job and thrill things easy joined just to share what you'reseeing, what you're learning and what you're working on right now. Steve,to kick us off today, do you anticipate the the short term design futureof college campuses being much more heavily focused per se on h fact systems,then collaborative learning, social and maker spaces that have kind of owned the spacefor a while. Sure, yeah, absolutely you're right that these last eightmonths of our our work have looked collectively different than the prior years cumulatively leadingup to that point, and in fact even some of our design suggestions priorto this covid nineteen pandemic seem to be...

...almost moving in opposition with with someof our current guidance. But I think there's solutions that aren't either or there'sboth in and hopefully we'll we'll talk about that a little bit more. Butto say that they will be focused solely on HVAC systems might be placing alittle bit too much focus on the HVAC system itself. But I certainly wouldsay giving attention to the health of the spaces that we are occupying, particularlyas it relates to the air quality, maybe that be filtered air or thevolume of outside air, will certainly be something that is taken into consideration fordesign in the Near and likely the longer term future as well. Prior tothe pandemic, we would have been able to see that there were some environmentson our campuses that already weren't the healthiest because they did not introduce a healthyvolume of fresh air into those spaces. You can think of maybe some ofthe traditional old main buildings on campus. Sure that that did not have anysort of forced air or any sort of return air systems. It was oldradiator heat and likely sealed windows for the sake of energy and conservation, andso those spaces probably weren't the healthiest even in a prior covid nineteen environment.Now I think we are seeing a number of our spaces being restricted because itis hard to get fresh or outside are into spaces that have been somewhat sealedfor energy consumption reasons, and so I do think campuses will be looking todevelop solutions that help to increase the air volume in those interior learning spaces andthen also perhaps look at at spaces adjacent to indoor areas, you know,outdoor areas, Patios, rooftops, those kinds of spaces in the right,I guess, geographical conditions, you know, where the climate would allow. Thatwould be a healthy solution for what we see right now is as anair quality or an air health issue. Yet, and you tease do onthis a little bit, this idea of this straddle approach. Talk about approachingcampus planning from a public health focus versus a pedagogy focus and how we mightbe able to do both. Sure, well and certainly I would prefaces commentwith the public health and the safety and the wellbeing of our campus community members, are faculty, staff and students, needs to take first priority, andso I'm not arguing for the diminishment of that. What I am saying isthat an exclusive focus on guidance that only comes from public health may end upin some results that that seem a bit foreign to maybe a pedagogy, aprogram informed focus public health would likely focused...

...on separating people from one another.Well, but a pedagogy focus to campus planning intentionally seeks to bring campus communitymembers together and so that that separation versus collision are ways that those two outcomeseem to be in opposition with one another. Right now. We want to beable to control one another's movements, so we're talking about entry points andprobably directional traffic, you know, how one moves through a cord or ora service or ented space, whereas before we probably saw some of those opportunitiesfor people to maybe not physically collide with one another, but but to runinto one another with a level of serendipity as a positive thing. In fact, we used to we refer to that as intentional serendipity, where we knowthat there's a level of design that actually contributes to bringing people together to beable to see one another, maybe outside of the normal setting, so beingable to see professors and staff and in students intersecting a different points on campus. That was intentionally designed. And Right now, a public health would sayno, we need to keep separated and we need to actually keep track ofwho is coming to contact with what, and so those two outcomes seem tobe a bit in opposition to one another. Or, you know. Lastly,I think a you know, and I think if I think of ourcorridors, we would see those as maybe spaces to pause and reflect, maybeeither prior to going into a classroom, not to be able to kind ofprepare for the discussion or the engagement that's going to take place there, ormaybe to continue a conversation after a class that took place inside of there.And that pause, that reflection, that that space to to kind of lingeror remain seems to be in opposition to some of the guidance that would saymove, separate, disperse. That's going to going to be the healthiest things. But, as you mentioned, I I think there is a boath andI think there are some ways in which we can accomplish the public health guidanceand recognizing that needs to take the priority, but also take on those kinds ofsolutions that would yield a pedagogy or a program first focus. And someof those things might be in the ways that we create. Maybe those barriersor separations, those those barriers that maybe keep people from one another could perhapstake on a program informed purpose. Perhaps they could be white boards that areutilized with some sort of prompt that allow for students to express their thoughts ona on a topic related to what's going on in our world, either putpolitically or from a justice perspective, or from a learning perspective or from ahealth perspective. So utilizing those barriers as a means of a learning environment,not just a sterile barrier environment, could...

...be one way. Even the introductionof plant life, knowing that there's there's kind of a biophilic response that wehave to plant life, and also knowing that certain kinds of plants can actuallycontribute to positive indoor air quality. It can also create a positive environment asas well. Lastly, I think of some of my colleagues who are workingin residential life on their campuses and have had to implement some more stringent guidelinesaround personalization of people's rooms, and they're doing that, I think, fromsterilization, an ability to keep things clean, but also probably to minimize the disruptionshould they have to move mid semester or or make a move at somepoint. There's just fewer things to have to take into account. The challengeof that is is that we know that there is a positive response to win. Any of us, particularly students who are moving to a new environment,are able to to see something familiar in an otherwise unfamiliar environment. So thatability to to personalize, but even more so to be able to see themselveson their campus, to be able to make that identification with the campus isa really healthy perspective from psychological sense of wellbeing and just a growth and an, like I said, an identification with the campus. So perhaps a campuscould create some spaces on campus where students are able to personalize some of thecampus themselves so that as they're navigating through it they are able to see themselves. They're quite literally you see something that represents their home culture or physically,whether it the an installation of some sort or most of our campuses have somesort of digital signage, but perhaps their students could contribute to some of thescrolling screens around those digital signs around campus, just even as a way of beingable to identify with the space and for the space to maybe not seemquite as sterile as it perhaps would otherwise. So there's a lot that that couldgo into that really campus by campus, but I think generally looking at thatas a as a both and rather than an either or in the solution. Development is key for for just healthy, ongoing engagement with students on campus.You're having so many of these similar conversations and consults that canvases all acrossthe country right now. Give us a sneak peek behind the scenes. Lookwhat does that process look like of evaluating your existing physical spaces to figure outhow can we make the most of what we already have? Sure absolutely,and that's that's just it. It's it is. Looking at the recent sourcesthat a campus currently has as just that. They are assets, they are resources, they're not liabilities. I think of it at the end of February, early March when, when many most...

...campuses were dispersing their students off ofcampus, physical space was almost seen as an antagonist. It's what we neededto get away from, and so it's now that we are looking at whatre emerging back on the campus looks like. It would be taking stock of eachof the facilities and grounds resources for their potential. It's easy for ourcampuses to take stock of the classrooms that were already identified as such your registrar. From a space inventory perspective. Those were already on the list. Sowe already knew those classroom spaces. The next step was evaluating what are otherspaces that could be utilized in a different manner than they have been up tothis point, and so that has required, quite frankly, just a different levelof thinking. Sometimes of being familiar with a space can lead to almosta lack of sensitivity for what a space could be, not just what aspace has been for the last twenty years. And so a couple of examples ofthat. Some of our campuses with their their theater areas. First ofall, those theater areas are large enough that they could easily be utilized froma social a distancing perspective for the instances when campuses are going to have largerclass gatherings. They would be able to easily disperse students throughout those spaces.But also the gathering areas just outside of theater spaces were built intentionally for theprefunction of a crowd gathering before a theater performance and then probably an intermission andthen gathering after the performance. Well, it's very likely that those theater performancesare not going to take place, at least in the same manner or concentrationas they did prior so those otherwise kind of intermission or prefunction gathering areas nowshould be seen as a resource to perhaps meet some other needs, and thoseother needs could be class or they could be maybe pop up mule distribution centers, or they could be heather areas to host campus life events or even StudentAffairs or student clubs fairs to be able to increase awareness and interest. Sopart of it is working with the existing space inventory, those spaces that youalready knew to count on, like classrooms. But then it was taking a stockand I look at other spaces that could perhaps be utilized in in adifferent way as they they have been up to this point and looking at thoseareas for the asset that they can contribute to our scenario development. And sowe've looked at those and then we've also looked at even some of our timelike how we've gone about scheduling classes. How might we be able to lookat the clock or the calendar perhaps in a different way? Might we needto to evaluate that? For instance,...

...a number of campuses developed and ofa Monday cohort, a Wednesday cohor a Friday cohort for certain courses or forcertain campus life events. So that already began to to look at scheduling abit differently and I know some campuses even extended that into Saturday's planning. Soin order to create a little bit more parody and their scheduling, it washelpful if they had basically a Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Tuesday, ThursdaySaturday schedule and it wasn't a full day Saturday, but it helped them reallyextend some of their flexibility of their their usage, and so that's an examplewhere the first two items I mentioned were really an evaluation of space and thenthe third item is really more of an evaluation of an assumption, you know, the assumption of time or the assumption of calendar, and some campuses havethought of some creative ways of looking at their calendar and time differently. Let'slook at one last design straddle. How do you approach the design challenge ofcreating an incredibly safe environment for our students, are faculty at our administrators without creatingan environment that feels overly still, overly unfriendly? Sure I think that'spart of the challenge. Certainly may be related back to save the examples frommy friends in residential life or or even some of the corridors that used tobe vibrant with life and now are just filled with instruction on walk this way, exit this direction. I think of some of our larger volume spaces,such as learning Commons, and then some other spaces that were created to bemore pop up learning Commons. Just from a an occupancy perspective, those areaswere often developed in order to be able to bring people into some sort ofsome place to be able to focus on their work, but also to beable to perhaps be seen in the midst of of that work as well.And so, as I look at some of the transformations of learning Commons,there's often been a promp around the open concept, say the open office conceptor the open learning Commons concept, and now we're needing to close that backdown a bit or to create some more partitioning. That is that's where I'llgo back to something I mentioned earlier, is those partitions don't necessarily need tobe sterile, blank and nonfunctioning. In fact, I think they should bethe opposite. Those should be spaces that are filled with kind of the vibrantactivity of student life, of maybe university branding. Perhaps those are the locationsfor for poster sessions to basically be displayed or for digital displays to be implementedin order to to solve that solution that is calling for for partitioning, butthat doesn't necessarily mean that has to be blank or that it needs to besterile. It could be something that continues...

...to support and resource the activity ofuniversity life. So to have partitions that do perhaps create some separation from onegroup of students studying in one area and another group of students studying in another. It could be just a blank white board or it could be a whiteboardwith prompts to be able to write a response. Could be something that's brandedrelated to the athletic department and what the schedule will look like for upcoming Games. It could be an opportunity, if you, if your program has astudio art program for for those art majors to be able to actually create artisticallythese barriers or to maybe it could be as simple as movable shelves in orderto be able to display smaller items. But there's actually some opportunity here forfor installation art that is also serving another purpose in terms of creating those kindsof separations, and so I know of another campus that is looking at doinga similar item to that that students are creating some of their barriers that theyintend to probably make even more use of as the weather worsen's and, asyou know, students from their engineering area are probably looking at that from materialsand a handling perspective. Art Students are looking at that from what kinds ofdifferent installation art could we think of to create those kinds of barriers? Theaterprograms are looking at how could we go and use those as ways of bothadvertising for our performances by using some of the stage props or those kinds ofthings in different venues and then, as I mentioned, athletic departments are usingthose as opportunities to to invest in some university branded boards that are creating separationright now, and then we'll basically be installed into their into their arenas indifferent locations in a more permanent sense, and so there's opportunities to meet thosethose needs around creating a safe environment without it just being sterile or bland.And I think many of those examples also involve students in that, which Ithink is as a helpful strategy as well. That in and of itself reduces someof the stickaility. It's not just something that was installed, it wassomething that they got to help make or build or provide for their own experience. Steve, super helpful. Any final next steps? Advice for institutions lookingback at their existing two thousand and twenty five, twenty thirty campus plans nowand wondering if they need to start over or not? What's their next step? Sure, now, that's great. You know, I really don't.I would hope that there was enough strategic guidance or their their long range planningthat they would not feel as though they need to start over. I dothink they will need to evaluate their their plans for the level of agility thatthey provide, even thinking of not only...

...what are we perhaps designing the spacefor currently, but what can we already see that it might need to bein its two point version, and so I don't think this necessarily changes anycolleges or universities. Why? But how and what we do may look abit different, and so I would say agility and the ability for some ofthe solutions that were implementing now here in the fall of two thousand and twentyto be able to be utilized in a different manner, maybe in the fallof two thousand and twenty one, and then maybe in a, you know, yet a different manner in the fall of two thousand and twenty six,would be the wisest possible investment of resources that we could see one time expensesthat really only meet one need. Right now I would be challenge to prioritize, but now it's kind of a moment that's really demanding a greater level ofagility in our in our solution development solutions, not only for the near term butfor the long term as well. Steve, thanks so much for yourtime today. What's the best place for listeners to connect with you if theyhave any follow up questions? Sure I would welcome further conversation. So myemail is s m R L E Y so s more really at Krado higheredcom. That's cured O hi gearedcom. Would welcome to email there or mynumber. Feel free to reach out to me. We would be three threesix six, zero three, zero two one and I would welcome engagement there. Feel free to reach out via Credo's website or my email or phone,and I look forward to continuing any conversation. That would be helpful. Awesome.Thanks against so much for joining us today, Steve. Yeah, thankyou. Are Attracting today's new post traditional learners means adopting new enrollment strategies.Kelix educations data driven, enterprize wide approach to enrollment growth is uniquely helping collegesand universities thrive in this new education landscape, and Helix has just published the secondedition of their enrollment growth playbook with fifty percent brand new content on howinstitutions can solve today's most pressing enrollment growth challenges. Download it today for freeat Helix Educationcom. Slash playbook. You've been listening to enrollment growth university fromHelix Education. To ensure that you never miss an episode, subscribe to theshow in Itunes or your favorite podcast player. Thank you so much for listening.Until next time,.

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