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Campus design and estate management: concepts and challenges from an international perspective

  • The university is an ancient and successful concept which, until very recently, has usually been associated with a particular locus, e. g. at a single, fairly homogenous site, or as a collection of buildings in a town or city built over time. Some institutions have been planned in their entirety from predominantly one architectural drawing board (e.g. University of Lausanne at Dorigny), others have started out as a small idea (e.g. the first college quadrangle in Oxford) and have since grown to become something quite different from the original, e.g.in Oxford there are now over 40 colleges, Science Park, university hospitals etc. Architectural trends have also played their part in university construction e.g. neo-Gothic (19th century), Brutalist (20th century) or the German Marburg University building system of the 1960s, which was emulated by many other institutions. Irrespective of style, university buildings are loaded with meaning and yet we frequently take them for granted and do not consider how they might impact on our capacity to learn and teach. It is only when we are disturbed by construction work that we are irritated into taking any real notice of our physical environment. Yet subliminally we are undoubtedly affected by our surroundings, which are not fixed, but change to become objects of “(re)interpretation, narration and representation […]” (Gieryn, 2002, p.35). This is a sense-making process as we negotiate how to act within them (Weick, 1995). Buildings impact on our well-being and how we thrive, which should be of key importance to the academic world in which creativity and innovation are of such importance (Marmot, in Temple (ed.) 2014). When higher education estate fails, and there are many examples of this, it is as much “a failure of psychology as of design” (de Botton, 2006/2014, p. 248). However, we do not have much data on the processes and ideas behind the creation (or adaptation) of higher education estate (cf. Bligh, in Temple (ed.) 2014). This research therefore asks the following questions: How do those who make decisions about higher education buildings take psychological well-being, or learning capability into account? Do they make compromises on the quality of materials? How do different countries and their university leaders address and govern the processes behind the creation and management of higher education estate of various types and age? What are current trends and challenges to higher education estate? Employing a constructivist perspective, this ongoing international research examines notions of value, care and identity (Tse et al, 2015) and analyses how an institution’s strategic capacity and organisational capability impacts on how estate is managed (cf. Thoenig & Paradeise, 2016). It uses case studies (Yin, 6th ed., 2018) from different institutional types in Great Britain, Switzerland, Austria, Germany and China which have been selected according to a strategic capacity model. Alongside documentary research and online data-gathering, interviews onsite have been conducted with a range of stakeholders, including leaders, planners, faculty and students. The research aims to theorise how an important and costly part of university administration is being managed in the context of today’s teaching and learning needs.

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Author:Susan Harris-Huemmert
Document Type:Conference Proceeding
Date of Publication (online):2018/05/04
Publishing Institution:Deutsche Universität für Verwaltungswissenschaften
Release Date:2018/05/04
Documents ordered by chairs:Lehrstuhl für Hochschul- und Wissenschaftsmanagement (Univ.-Prof. Dr. Michael Hölscher)
Access Rights:Frei zugänglich
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung-Nicht kommerziell-Keine Bearbeitung