9 ways to support collaboration in higher ed

The next step in improving students’ experience in higher ed may be in rebuilding campus spaces for collaboration and data sharing.

campus-design-collaborationInstitutions need to create layered, blended and personalized places that support a variety of interactions and digital platforms, rather than creating specialized spaces, such as computer labs.

These findings are part of a recent study, which also found that mobility has transformed the way students learn, and therefore requires careful attention to physical spaces now more than ever.

This revelation may just be one of the factors to shed light not only on how student homes or spaces affect learning in the classroom at college, but also how students interact in common university spaces.…Read More

University upgrades STEM tools

Suite of new high-performance microscopes will be used for experiments at GW’s new research facility.

science-engineeringFEI and the George Washington University (GW) are partnering to install several new high-performance microscopes at GW’s Science and Engineering Hall.

The new, $275 million, 500,000-square-foot research facility will soon be home to four microscopes from FEI: the Talos(TM) F200X transmission electron microscope (TEM), Helios NanoLab(TM) 660 DualBeam, Teneo(TM) scanning electron microscope (SEM), and CorrSight(TM) advanced light microscope for correlative light/electron microscopy. These systems will be used by professors and their students for research covering the full spectrum from materials through life sciences.

“We are very pleased to work with FEI to acquire and install these microscopes,” said GW’s Vice President for Research Leo Chalupa. “This new equipment will enable our faculty and students to perform groundbreaking research and prepare our students to become leaders in STEM.”…Read More

New institute will study renewable energy technology

Public/private research campus is first occupant in planned iHUB technology park

florida-technologiesFlorida Gulf Cost University (FGCU) broke ground on the Emergent Technologies Institute (ETI), a new research campus that will team academics and private sector partners to study and incubate renewable energy technology.

The majority of the 6.5-acre campus will be devoted to outdoor research development fields, where private and public researchers will develop and test new wind, solar, and agricultural technologies.

Anchoring the site is a 24,600-square-foot laboratory and classroom building, which will include teaching and research labs, pilot-scale testing facilities, and high-bay shop areas for fabrication.…Read More

Students’ reliance on Wi-Fi multiplies

A new survey shows that college students consider Wi-Fi access essential to their educational success.

A recent survey by the Wi-Fi Alliance and Wakefield Research discovered that 90 percent of college students consider Wi-Fi access to be essential to their educational success.

As reported in an Online Colleges illustrated infograph, 79 percent of students said that without Wi-Fi service, college would be much more difficult. About three in four students reported that Wi-Fi service helped improve their educational performance and earn them better grades, while 44 percent said they used Wi-Fi to increase their productivity, often using Wi-Fi service to get a head start on an assignment while class is still in session.

Wi-Fi availability is a major determining factor of where students travel to complete their assignments. Fifty-two percent of students said they often travel to coffee shops well-known for reliable connections, while 42 percent reported frequenting bookstores. Thirty-three percent of students said they often study in restaurants that boast solid Wi-Fi connections.…Read More

In bedroom community, birth of a tech center

A canopy of solar cells, a nearly classroom-free academic center, cafes open to the public and even a hotel. The new campus of the Cornell University graduate school for technology is expected to transform Roosevelt Island from a sleepy bedroom community into a high-technology hothouse, and indeed, the plans to be formally unveiled for the campus bear little resemblance to anything that is there now, reports the New York Times. The campus, at the southern end of Roosevelt Island, is to be built in two phases. The first phase, the bulk of which consists of a low-slung academic hub and a taller residential building just south of the Queensboro Bridge, has a projected opening in 2017…

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Rutgers moves forward with $295M development to keep pace with enrollment

Rutgers could receive more construction funds if a bond issue passes in November.

Rutgers University officials are set to build an expansive academic building with 2,000 extra classroom seats, an 800-bed student housing facility, and a residential honors college for 500 of the school’s best students as the campus becomes the latest to fund construction in a public-private partnership.

The university’s Board of Governors and Board of Trustees agreed to allow administration officials to start formal negotiations with the New Brunswick Development Corp., which will help fund the massive $295 million construction and renovation project.

The proposed project would include a 150,000-square-foot academic building; a residential honors college; an 800-bed student residence hall with street-level retail shopping and dining, and a new campus parking deck off George Street.…Read More

Anatomy of a campus construction project

UA has spent more than $600 million on construction projects since 1999.

The days of bond-funded campus buildings and two-dimensional architectural drawings are drawing to a close at many public universities. The money, for now, is available through public-private partnerships, and plans are made in three dimensions, making for an easier sell to top decision makers.

Campus construction, particularly residence halls, starts with projections meant to keep a college or university years—sometimes decades—ahead of student demand. Those projections, once passed along the campus’s chain of command, tell the mathematical story: We’ll need more dorms, or we won’t.

That’s how it started at the University of Akron (UA), a 220-acre campus with 29,000 students.…Read More

Green projects used as recruitment tools in higher ed

EIU will save $140 million over the next two decades.

An environmentally unfriendly coal-burning plant on the Eastern Illinois University (EIU) campus was once a deterrent for prospective students. Closing the facility and launching a massive bio-energy initiative has proved a recruitment boon for the university.

EIU decision makers committed last fall to building a Renewable Energy Center, one of the largest university biomass installations in the country, after a coal-burning facility on the Charleston, Ill., campus had drawn considerable public and media scrutiny, becoming a headache for EIU recruiters.

The Renewable Energy Center, a 19,000-square-foot steam plant that will provide heat for buildings and classrooms, uses wood chips from forest residue for fuel, and will slash the campus’s annual carbon dioxide emissions by an estimated 20,000 metric tons while saving the school $140 million in energy costs over the next 20 years.…Read More