SPACE: The new frontier for University Estates

The impact of the pandemic lockdown and the necessary seismic change in approach required today by Directors of Estates and their Operational Teams in dealing with the new directions for blended learning models in Higher Education has never been more crucial to the success of Universities.

Learning can and will happen anywhere. Sometimes that learning will occur in classrooms and lecture theatres, other times it will be socially distanced face to face and virtual encounters and interactions between individuals away from lecture halls and seminar rooms. Space – whether physical or virtual, individual or shared – can have an important impact on learning. The ability of spaces to shape and define how educators teach their students, whilst accommodating the restrictions around all socially distance criteria will be uppermost in all Estates Directors’ lives right now.

Crucially, a significant amount of estates development which was planned and underway in UK universities has been “parked or delayed” as a result of the UK wide lockdown in recent times. Many have shelved plans to restart the capital programmes until well into 2021. It comes at a time of major change for educational technology and modes of learning and teaching that will challenge the typical normal view of learning space. The changing educational requirements of increasingly diverse student populations will prompt more tailored, student-centred approaches to designing ‘environments-for-learning’ on and off campus. New strategies for enabling blended learning and accommodating the multiple demands on today’s students have necessitated a rethinking of the use, design and location of learning space and the campus world enjoyed by so many.

We are already working with a number of Universities as they re-configure and upskill for some of the Space challenges ahead. Feel free to get in touch. I would be delighted to compare notes, share our findings and support your team’s development through the challenging times ahead.

Ray Williamson, Executive Search Consultant

Posted by Ray Williamson

Ray Williamson

Board Practice Housing, Infrastructure & Property


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