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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

General Comments

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General/Global Issues/Questions/Concerns

  1. What impact does the university think the additional apartments and dorms will have on the owners of area apartment buildings? Will the university fund these projects without the help of the city of Mankato?
  2. I was looking at the map. It is real hard to read. Maybe its just because its on the internet. I can not tell were the new buildings are gonna be. Overall I think the new plan is gonna kick ass.
  3. In general, my reaction to the master plan, in its current draft, is that it over-emphasizes form and under-emphasizes content. By this comment, I mean that the master plan tends to place a good deal of emphasis on campus beautification (e.g., signage, official entrance marking, etc.) while it places a minimal emphasis on actual classroom and office environment issues. Examples follow. Having taught at MSU for nearly 23 years, I can judge that little attention has been paid to classroom and office environments in Armstrong Hall, where I customarily teach English courses. For instance, white boards and Smart Boards are just now being installed; upkeep and maintenance is spotty, however. Few, if any, rooms are appropriate for the wireless initiative, which could be expanded to English courses if facilities permitted. In addition, outdated and inadequate student and instructor desks in classes are just now being replaced; still, too many Armstrong Hal! l 2nd floor classrooms have desks that are inadequate for laptop (or, for that matter, ordinary writing) use by students and faculty. If one surveys the office spaces assigned to English Dept. faculty and teaching assistants on the 2nd floor of Armstrong Hall, one can find chairs, bookcases, and desks that were moved from the old "lower campus" to the "upper campus" sometime in the 1960s and 1970s. Admittedly, I cannot speak to questions of classroom and office environment in all MSU classroom and faculty areas. I can, however, speak with some assurance about the matters noted above. I would much rather have money spent on decent classroom and office facilities for students, faculty, and staff than on a parking ramp, large impressive signage marking two (why only two?) official entrances to MSU, etc. Most faculty who teach here completed doctorates at universities where it was not uncommon to walk or take a commuter bus many blocks in order to reach classroom buildings. ! I find it amusing (and sad) that many MSU comments place ! parking rather than decent instructional facilities at the top of the needs list.
  4. If the enrollment in various academic areas influences the plan. Terry Flaherty responds that plan should mesh with the eventual academic plan.
  5. It seems to me, the Facilities Master Plan folds in existing or new "master plans" for Res. Life, CSU, and athletics. Where is the "master plan" for academics? The facilities plan talks about current and future academic buildings, is there an academic master plan that is more detailed? A plan that includes classrooms, study spaces, labs, offices, etc.? As it is currently written, the first academic need the plan addresses is the most pressing, a space for Social and Behavioral Sciences. If it is decided to build a "classroom" building, one of the colleges should be housed in that building, freeing space to move departments around and bring colleges together. I think it is very important that each college has a building and that college departments be housed all together. (The two Minnesota State campuses my son and I just visited had liberal arts/social sciences buildings.) Top three priorities: Academic building for Social and Behavioral Sciences/ . Allied Health and Nursing building, housing a clinic with easy access to the public. (Building to include space for: Public health clinic, dental clinic, speech and hearing clinic, clinical psychology clinic, etc.)/ Renovate Trafton Science Center. I like the placement of the buildings in the plan. I especially like the idea of a large commons area and the building overlooking the bluff. I think priorities should be:
    1. repair the current buildings, outdoor steps, and sidewalks
    2. maintain the grounds and keep them free of trash, and
    3. begin construction (after 1 and 2 are complete).
    I walked through the engineering side (newer wing) of the Trafton Science Center for the first time last week. There are great sunny alcoves and rooms with comfortable furniture for students to meet together or to study alone. When planning new facilities I think these types of spaces should be included. It also looked to me like the faculty offices were on the inside corridors and the classrooms had the windows. I think windows in the classrooms would really add to the look and feel of the classes and enhance the learning experience.
  6. How are building priorities to be decided? Dr. Davenport replied that the strongest need is for a new classroom building. He doesn't want it named until after completion, when there can be campus discussion. The name shouldn't determine what the building is used for. He's looking long term at possible future campaigns/capital projects for building.
  7. I would like to speak in favor of the point made by President Davenport (probably a safe position to be taking) and others that new academic buildings should not be designated for specific colleges. As representative for faculty of the College of Allied Health and Nursing, I believe I can accurately reflect the thoughts of our faculty that some departments already have very suitable facilities. An example would be the Human Performance Department, most of which just moved into recently completed "Phase II" space in the new Myers Field House. However, at least two departments in CAHN are currently in space that is entirely inadequate. Related, I would concur with individuals who have spoken to the need for space and facilities conducive to "departmental identity" as being more important than space and facilities being conducive to "college identity". Outside of my college, the Art and Psychology departments seem to be among those that should be prioritized with the greatest needs for improved, more appropriate space and facilities. Obviously these departments are from different colleges, suggesting that new buildings should be designated more on a basis of need, not on a basis of college identity
  8. We are a land locked campus. Not a lot of room for growth. Do we put academic buildings on the perimeter on the campus? (this is a concept noted on one variation of the master plan). Or do we put acad. buildings on the campus core, with parking on the perimeter.
  9. It is becoming evident that we need an academic building. The state is currently paying for Science buildings. A general academic building provides swing.
  10. We are a limited growth campus. ex. art cannot admit students because they lack space space for renovation of offices.
  11. This discussion shows the need for an enrollment management plan.
  12. Lecture hall and classrooms need tech. capabilities. Master plan assumes traditional classes and lectures, not true anymore.
  13. Classroom space is lacking on campus. Need to consider technology in the master plan classroom discussions. She is concerned that we are "elevating form over substance" ie. More concern with signs rather than adequate classrooms.
  14. Few faculty have commented about academic space or renovations. Perhaps faculty is simply discouraged and sees this plan as unrealistic
  15. There is a need for an academic plan. Dr. Davenport responds that this is necessary but it is also "a massive undertaking" that he prefers to put off for one year.
  16. Notes a reference to an academic plan in the Master Plan. Is there an academic master plan? The Planner noted that yes, he was provided a document with academic goals, but he is not certain exactly what that document was that the consultants used. The consultant there was unable to add enlightenment about the academic plan they used.
  17. Should we plan to remove the old MSU logo found on some areas of campus?
  18. As an art student I would make a note about the importance we see in getting a gallery in the Student Union. I really hope that a gallery would be priority for the CSU thank you.
  19. At some campuses, there is art in every building and classroom.
  20. Supports the arts.
  21. I have not read all of the literature available but I do still have a few points I would like to make. I have looked mostly at the plans. Currently, MSU,M is a draw for nontraditional students, students with families, older students, etc.... Your plan seems to alienate them. Focus has been put on sports. Yes sports are important, but they are not the reason for college. The sports facilities should not take precedence over academics or items such as the observatory that needs dark in order to function properly. Even within the sports world equity does rule. What is to happen to rugby field. The school plan is to expand, but is there to be a max number of students. Parking, a topic that always arises is not adequately dealt with. It is true that there are still parking available now, but that number decreases each year, and then the plan to eliminate on-campus parking, the people will have to go somewhere. Where will the people park? Do you also plan to alienate the commuters too. It seems this way. The art students who now say that they do not have enough space, Nelson Hall is not addressed at all. What about the other arts program? MSU,M has an excellent theatre program, will it be able to remain competitive in the future. I think that it is wonderful to have master plan, but what will be done to make MSU,M unique, a university that can stand alone? Something to make the school the students'.
  22. After demolition of Crawford D and the creation of the new parking lot. Will there still be enough green space for outdoor recreation in that area? I hope so. When thinking about rerouting Stadium Rd around Gage think about the observatories and natural wildlife in that area.
  23. Continuous Learning and off-campus educational opportunities need to be included in long term planning in relation to office space for staff.
  24. It is suggested that a 3D model be created, with movable buildings that could be displayed. The Planner suggested that we incorporated all of the suggestions received to date and then create the 3D model.
  25. It's necessary to keep green space on campus. Hope the rugby field area can be kept for recreation. Any long term solution to heating plant location?
  26. Dr. Davenport responded and doesn't want to identify buildings by discipline. Enrollment hasn't been factored in, as our growth has already exceeded the projections. We need academic space badly and with the retention levels up, which is good, this is an important issue. There will be an enrollment management plan.
  27. Wants us to closely look at enrollment growth projections. Was there provision made in the residence hall plan for married students? There are serious transportation issues to look at. Will all the private apartment complexes off campus cause a problem to any "apartment" type housing constructed on campus?
  28. Feels this is a good campus already. He sees a struggle between whether this is a student campus or a car campus. We need to make the campus "People" oriented. Students generally drive too fast on the campus perimeter, core. We should take advantage of the campus bluff. Why was the heating plant put there?
  29. It is noted that the private sector is covering a large amount of the Student Union and Residence Life construction, but not much needed academic buildings. Do we want prime space to go to residence halls rather than to academic buildings? Could the new Student Union and residence hall construction contain laboratories and classroom space?
  30. Are supportive of that concept.
  31. Related his experiences of having promises made and not kept. He asked for a way of making sure that his project is put into a high priority category to enable the workers he supervises adequate space. He said federal money were appropriated but MSU didn't follow through on their part of the deal. He asked for clarification. President Davenport asked Mark Johnson to report on the Planning's Task Force to find a process and articulate priorities for remodeling projects.
  32. Request to consider having the computer lab, the student union, and the library open to students "24/7"
  33. I'm not sure I understand the Master Plan for the Student Union and how it was developed so the following comments may be in error. I also understand and appreciate all the work that I'm sure a number of people put into this planning. Here are my thoughts and concerns. I had thought the Taylor Center was to be the "front door" to the campus. An attractive entrance to the Student Union has now been designed which appears to be the "front door" to both the Union and Administration Building. I really have no problem with either concept per se-except when one enters the Taylor Center one sees a basketball court; when one enters the Student Union through the new entrance one sees food. Is that what this University is all about-basketball and food? A second concern I had is that apparently the plan for the new entrance to the Student Union involves constructing another hallway into the Administration Building rendering the space currently used by the Graduate Office not usable by the Graduate Office. Also, I understand there will not be money available to renovate the existing hallway from the Union through the Administration building thus rendering this space unusable by anybody. The logic of rendering existing space unusable and complicating already complex space issues in the Administration Building escapes me. I presume there were discussion regarding these and other issues of which I am not aware.
  34. This draft contains only the "Creative Arts Corridor" portion of the early proposals. It was felt that the corridor idea could stand on its own as a proposal and should not be linked to any parking issues. Jim Zwickey acknowledged that significant work still needed to be done on the proposed $500,000 budget for such a Creative Arts Corridor. Carl and I both agree that the concept still needs to be fine-tuned as well. It is premature to proceed with this arts corridor concept and offer it up for public comment. With existing donor campaigns still ongoing, to expose yet another project to the public may create confusion among donors and resentment from those who are trying to close out pledge work on as yet unfinished fund raising campaigns for the Taylor Center, Andreas Black Box Theatre, and the Theatre Arts Plaza.
  35. Would like a clear plan for his college.
  36. If more faculty are hired, where do they teach and they'll need office space, too. Is there a division between having science vs. liberal arts space?
  37. Perceived lack of communication with the City of Mankato regarding the campus master plan was expressed. (As far as I could tell, the speaker was neither an MSU student, nor an MSU employee.)
  38. Talked about the need for more wireless connections around campus. Mark explained the process by which they have been making buildings wireless. Dorms are wired, so not a priority for wireless.
  39. The placement of administrative buildings was not addressed in the forum and is not readily addressed in the hand-out summary. We need more classroom buildings and we need to have our academic support units readily accessible and centrally located.
  40. Felt the campus maps in the "short" proposal were confusing. Mark Johnson responded that each map was for a different time period and in the end may not be what we do at all.
  41. My question is more about the development of the plan. Given that makeup of the campus facilities (type, size, layout) are driven by the academic programs they are meant to serve, how were the projected changes in academic programs collected and incorporated into the facilities plan? Is there some kind of an "academic" master plan out there that guided the facilities master planners. Just curious how this was done
  42. The space configurations need to be looked at as they currently exist, not based on previous square footage formulas. For example, ITS was moved into the library.
  43. At a recent AFSCME executive board meeting it was brought to my attention that a lot of the buildings don't have an employee break room. Now they are using their shops and janitor rooms for breaks. When doing the master plan, could you please consider adding a room that is strictly for breaks, (the ones we had are now turned into meeting rooms). These rooms should be available 24/7.
  44. "Expand the academic precinct to the west of the Trafton Science Center to Warren Street using the Arboretum as the central open space feature." Shouldn't this read 'to the EAST of Trafton... to Warren Street'??
  45. Following is a response by the English Department to the current draft of the Campus Facilities Master Plan. We would like to thank the members of the Task Force and other groups that have worked on this plan for putting it forward and for inviting responses. We are grateful to know that the document is an evolving one that ought to reflect both current and changing conditions at this university and that it does seek to address some long-standing needs as well as anticipate new ones. With that in mind, our criticisms are meant to be constructive by identifying areas of the current document where we find the analysis of current academic, administrative, and support needs or projected development to be inaccurate or insufficient. (We are heartened to know that many people are already aware of at least some of these problems with the plan.) Our comments refer to specific portions of the plan as posted on the MSU website. This document is also being copied to you electronically through the online feedback form on the MSU website.
    1. Master Plan Elements (from Executive Summary, Section I.3): Among the list of issues identified on this page, we would like to see a clearer sense of priorities. None of us would argue that the first three items— "Providing space for a projected expansion of student enrollment," "Providing additional teaching labs, classrooms, lecture rooms, library, research and support space," and "Improving the learning environment" —should be near the top of such a list. On the other hand, we agree with statements made by President Davenport that using buildings to "improve college and department identities" should have minor consideration, if any, in relation to specific academic and technology needs. While this document is an evolving one, a more specific ranking of priorities would give all members of the campus community, alumni, legislators, and the general public a clearer sense of the university's strongest values and commitment of resources. More specific comments about "campus needs" follow below.
    2. Implementation Priorities (from Executive Summary, Section I.4): Events are already outpacing the implementation plans sketched out here. For example, at least some renovation of Wigley Administration Building will be involved in the renovation of the Student Union that is due to begin at the end of this academic year even though that building is listed as part of the plan's "mid-term" phase. While we hope that state or other funding will finally allow Phase III of Highland Center/Otto Arena renovation to move forward, the current state budget situation puts even that project in some degree of doubt. In addition, the priorities for implementing building plans are not clearly explained but are simply listed under the "short-term," "mid-term," and "long-term" categories. The rapidly-changing nature of state politics, technology, and higher education in general make any projections beyond ten years highly questionable. At the same time, these priorities need to be justified. Why, for example, is there virtually no specific mention of Nelson Hall, which is the oldest classroom building and which is not air-conditioned and has posed significant health and safety problems in recent years? Specific upgrades of rooms in buildings that are not on the short-term list also remain vague. For example, Wiecking Auditorium, one of the largest classroom spaces on campus, has long been in need of air-conditioning. Indeed, during the first few weeks of Fall Semester, temperatures in that room can rise above 90 degrees, making it a health and safety risk! But renovation of Wiecking is not scheduled until the "mid-term" phase, and the fate of the Auditorium itself is not addressed. Of most concern to our department is Armstrong Hall. If that building is to be replaced or renovated in the "short-term" phase, the departments and faculty using it should be consulted about specific needs and about how any transition will be handled, especially in regard to computer labs and other site-specific requirements. As noted under item 7 below, the analysis of the current use of that building is severely flawed on a number of counts.
    3. Enrollment Profile (Section II.4): As we are certain that you already know, the enrollment figures here should be brought up to date.
    4. Perceived Space Needs (Section III.2): It is clear that the process for identifying "perceived space needs" was severely flawed. The anecdotal evidence to be gathered from "on-campus interviews and an on-campus open forum" cannot substitute for substantive analysis based on measurements of actual current use and rigorously-conducted surveys. Indeed, the reliance on open forums, while a useful supplement to a more rigorous study, skews results when important individuals are unable to be interviewed or attend the forum. The questionable results of this process are clear in Table 3.2: Interviewed Perceived Needs. Here, no results are listed under the name of Anne O'Meara, who was Chair of the English Department at the time, although space needs were a clear and often-stated priority for Dr. O'Meara and the department. In fact, of the 91 individuals (mostly deans, department chairs, and service unit directors) listed on the table, only about 1/3 actually seem to have been interviewed or to have given responses at all. In addition, the layout of both the print and online versions of the table makes it impossible to determine if any of the respondents actually indicated any "short-term needs" under headings J, K, or L. Thus, the results summarized in Table 3.1 are all but useless! We should add that this entire section contains no explanation of the process for determining the "justified needs" that are supposed to be the actual basis for action on these plans.
    5. Survey Responses (Section III.3): While of some interest, these responses need to be broken down demographically and analyzed since the number of student responses seems to skew the results. For example, it seems logical that most faculty and staff would list "financial resources" far ahead of "parking" as a campus priority. Even the remote possibility of a "free" parking ramp would most likely generate a positive response from students who are by necessity not as concerned with long-term academic and capital needs.
    6. Projected Student Growth (Section III.4a): As noted above, current student growth has already outpaced the ten-year projections listed here and planning assumptions of "calculated needs" should be adjusted accordingly.
    7. Categories of Space Evaluation (Section III.4b): While one has to start somewhere in categorizing types of space, there are several questionable assumptions about the space categories used here. For example, why are classroom, lecture and seminar rooms listed in one single category even though they are used for very different types of learning activities from each other? It would make more sense to designate spaces in terms of the type of learning activities going on in them so that optimal size and configuration for such activities can be taken into account. Moreover, the designation "Classroom labs" does not seem to distinguish between labs that involve physical activities, as in the sciences or engineering or even visual and performing arts, and technological activities, as in computer labs. Furthermore, the distinction between a "regular" classroom and a "computer lab" would seem to become moot in a room outfitted for wireless computers. The changing nature of the Master Plan ought to take into account the changing nature of how, when and why classes are taught. The use of English classes as an example in this section also points to a number of problematic assumptions made here and in other parts of the Master Plan. Long before the Master Plan was drafted, our own department did not conform to the notion of English as a "typical lecture based department." In terms of sheer volume, this department has for some time been the single heaviest user of instructional technology, especially classroom computers, on this campus. At least half of every English 101: Composition class has been assigned to computer laboratory work every semester for the last few years. This semester alone, that amounts to about 120 lab contact hours per student (roughly totaling 2640 hours). In addition, our Technical Communication program offers most or all of its classes in computer laboratory settings. We could easily generate enough activity for complete use of at least one more computer lab if one were available. Our largest single class, English 114: Introduction to Film (which serves 600-800 students per semester), is offered in Wiecking Auditorium, which in both size and multi-media capacity is a unique class space on campus (also used heavily by Mass Communications and several other departments), but it is not designated as a "classroom" in the Master Plan! On the other hand, the department has no specific seminar rooms designated for smaller classes, especially in our Graduate programs. Furthermore, while some classes are still taught mainly in a "traditional" lecture mode, most involve at least some elements of small group work that require a space that is conducive to that kind of learning. Our Creative Writing classes, for example, are usually conducted in a workshop format that requires interchange and collaboration by all students and faculty. In the meantime, many of our faculty have been interested in alternative pedagogical approaches that do not meet the cut-and-dried standards invoked here. The planners' comment regarding other uses of lab space that "The departmental standards that rely on apportioning the weekly student contact hours between lecture and lab are obviously more complicated than English" simply ignores the historical realities of this particular department and reflects the lack of consideration given not just to English but to the entire College of Arts and Humanities in this document! We note that there is little attention given here to the unique space needs of Music, Theater and Art, or for such particular needs as a Forensics Laboratory for our colleagues in Speech Communication. Indeed, based on their evident lack of actual information about the college and its departments and programs, the planners' language simply drips with condescension! We suggest that in any revision of this section—or the entire document—the planners should be certain that they understand the nature and actual needs of the programs for which they are describing, let alone proposing, particular spaces and usage. In addition, the base figures used in the planners' calculations are inaccurate in relation to our department's actual operations. If the "weekly contact hour goal" for "stations" actually is 24 hours (meaning, we assume, that a computer lab station or classroom seat is filled 24 hours per week), our department would be extremely grateful! The current reality is that the actual weekly contact hours per station in a typical English computer lab or classroom of 25-33 students are almost double that goal! Using our scheduling for Fall 2003 as a measure, the 4 classrooms (AH 202, 208, and 210 and PA 104) and 3 computer labs (AH 203 and 204 and WH 118) are scheduled for almost constant use from at least 8:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. or later with only one or two hours unscheduled each day at the most Monday through Thursday and from 8:00 a.m. until at least 3:00 or 4:00 p.m. on Friday. At a minimum, then, a student station in each of those rooms could have at least 40-50 "weekly contact hours"! We would certainly welcome a standard that was half that size, but the planners' comments again have no connection to our actual current classroom use and needs. The analysis of office space needs is similarly flawed. Most faculty offices on the second floor of Armstrong Hall measure about 9 feet by 8.5 feet, or 76.5 square feet (more than actual usable floor space in most offices), far below the "guidelines suggesting 120 NASF for each faculty"! As these comments have already suggested, the guidelines cited by the planners have no concrete basis in the reality of our department or, we dare say, the university as a whole. The item on "Research" cites a deficit of 20,505 NASF, but there is no definition given of what constitutes a "research" space. If such spaces are only analyzed in terms of research in the physical and behavioral sciences and do not account for other forms of research and creative activity, then we can assume that the deficit is far greater than the figure cited above. The comments by the planners about the Library seem more strongly based in some current realities (especially in acknowledging the impact of the move by Information Services to the third floor) than other parts of this section. Still, there are interesting gaps, such as the lack of reference here (or anywhere else, as far as we can tell) to the existence, let alone the operation, of the Campus Learning Center. We do welcome the call by the planners for a physical link between the Library and the Student Union.
    8. (Space Needs Assessment Section III.4c): Table 3.4.3 contains some very questionable conclusions. At the very least, there should be accompanying breakdowns of the data and analysis to indicate how these figures were arrived at. For example, the "Independent Study Lab & Support" category lists a net "surplus" of 46% for "open computer labs." That figure surely varies according to the time in the semester, week or day in which it is measured. The faculty in our own department and most of those we know in other departments would be surprised and amused to learn that we have a "surplus" of 10% space for "faculty offices and support" when our own students spill out into the hallways when more than one is seeing a faculty member! (As noted above, English faculty offices fall short of the guidelines by 43.5 NASF each.) This department of more than 80 teaching personnel shares its main office with Speech Communications, including room for files and equipment and workspace for faculty and student workers. There is only one office with 3 desks for 24 adjunct faculty, and our graduate teaching assistants have only a little more elbow room. We have no designated meeting space of our own (department meetings are held in campus classrooms), and our department "library" is actually a storage closet for used books and equipment. As part of the ongoing nature of the Master Plan, it is not unreasonable to ask that such space needs be reassessed on an ongoing basis!
    9. Space Needs Conclusion (Section III.5): While it is possible that some space needs might "be addressed by re-distributing space and a moderate increase in square footage," as suggested here, it cannot be taken for granted that redistributions can simply be imposed from above. Any reallocations of existing space should be undertaken in close consultation with the departments and other units involved in order to minimize disruptions of student learning and departmental functions and to maximize the potential use of space. The conclusions here also seem to contradict the radical reconfiguration of some spaces, such as Armstrong Hall, that is called for in the Space Distribution Concepts. (See item 13 below.) As noted above, there is no further reference to the "Justified Needs" component of this analysis for future planning.
    10. Existing Academic Space Distribution (Section IV.2b): The chart of the Existing Instructional Space by Department is impossible to understand. Only three colleges are accounted for (apparently at least one page is missing from this table!), and the breakdown of space "allocation" is virtually meaningless without a finer level of detail. Finally, since departments next year will go back to "owning" their classrooms and since there have been several reconfigurations of space that will take place by then (for instance, refitting AH 203 and 204 as English computer labs and the redesignation of Morris Hall offices for other purposes after the move to Phase II athletic facilities), this entire chart should be revised and updated regularly in order to be meaningful. The table is followed by a pie chart that is useful in a general way but whose specific percentages are again questionable. For instance, it is unclear what is meant by "support" as part of the measure for classrooms, labs, and faculty offices. Some designated space may be counted inappropriately. As we note above and below, Wiecking Auditorium, which is used principally as a classroom, seems to have been regarded by the planners as an "assembly and exhibition" space.
    11. Existing Space Distribution Floor Plans: Armstrong 2nd Floor (Section IV.3): As noted above, this floor plan is no longer current. For example, AH 203 is now a departmental computer lab. It is not clear why AH 201-I and 201-K are designated as "General Administration" when the former is in fact the English Chair's office and 201-K is an academic support room, while none of the other Chairs' offices on this floor are designated as "administration"! In other floor plans in this document, Wiecking Auditorium is designated as an "Assembly/exhibition" space, but it is used almost exclusively as a large classroom, and Morris Hall is in the process of some significant reassignments of rooms and functions. Analysis of space use in Nelson Hall appears to be incomplete (incorrect or missing designations of faculty offices, restrooms, studio space, especially in the Conkling Gallery Addition).
    12. Education Technology Assessment (Section IV.4): This section has the strength of offering the kind of qualitative analysis missing from most of the sections cited above. At the same time, while it is fair to say that planning for technology use on campus has been "incomplete and inconsistent," there have been significant changes in use of and support for classroom technology since this report was drafted, and this section should also be updated to reflect those changes, in order that more meaningful planning can take place.
    13. Space Distribution Concepts (Section V.2): While we recognize the needs of all colleges and units for more space, especially for classroom and laboratory instruction, we are grateful that President Davenport has stated that, contrary to the planners' suggestions, new classroom buildings should avoid specific designations by college. If it is a matter of college "identity," that should be low or non-existent as a priority. Alumni studies confirm that students identify much more readily with their major departments and programs than with colleges or other units. For some colleges, centrality of location and activities may be desirable. For others, such as Arts and Humanities, the very disparate nature of our activities makes such close proximities either infeasible or inadvisable. (For example, it would not be ideal to have a philosophy class next door to a music practice room.) In addition, college identities shift and change across time. Allied Health and Nursing as well as Science, Engineering and Technology have both evolved from several major reconfigurations in the last two decades. The History Department was once part of the College of Arts and Humanities, and it is not inconceivable that other shifts and reconfigurations may take place in our unit as well. However, as we note below, our college seems to have been an afterthought in this document. Again, we have to stress the puzzling and amazing lack of any reference to renovation or replacement of Nelson Hall in this section. ("Long-term" layout maps indicate a new "Fine Arts" building, but there is little indication of how it is to be financed or what will be done with Nelson Hall's other activities, such as housing Mass Communications, not to mention Engineering). It is also unclear under this plan how Wiecking Auditorium, a prime space for multi-media large classroom needs, would be treated or where those classes would be relocated. In fact, if the current structure of Trafton Hall is taken offline, it is difficult to see under these plans if there would be any lecture space on campus that could accommodate 200 or more students. (We will also note in passing that the existence of Children's House in Wiecking goes without mention in this section.) Most galling to occupants of Armstrong Hall is the fact that planning for the College of Arts and Humanities somehow has been folded into plans for the College of Education! While most of the NASF calculations in this report are based on student headcounts, the proposed assignment of offices and other space has little relation to the actual number of faculty or other teaching staff (including adjuncts and teaching assistants). "Identity" issues (at least for some units!) seem to override concern with what should be the top priority here: constructing the best environments in which to teach and otherwise serve our students. For instance, Military Science, while nominally part of the College of Education, has unique instructional needs that should not be located in the very center of the campus! It would have been heartening to see designations of space that could promote interdisciplinary collaboration within and between college units, but nothing in the plan seems to recognize the existence of or need for such kinds of space. Finally, we again stress how existing configurations of space have already changed. The plans for Armstrong Hall would decimate recent renovations by the English Department in its computer labs in AH 203 and 204, not to mention office spaces currently used by the College of Social and Behavior Sciences. See: This map of proposed changes has no useful relationship to current or foreseeable uses of space in this building.
    14. Potential Building Zones (Section V.3): The department recognizes the limitations of current university space for future development. However, to cite one example, the concept of wrapping university housing around the campus bell tower seems self-defeating on several grounds: campus appearance, availability of green space for instructional and recreational purposes, identification of a campus landmark, and proximity of housing to other campus buildings. President Davenport's suggestion that the university consider purchasing (or re-purchasing) land in surrounding areas should be given strong consideration, depending on availability of funding.
    15. Other: Since the department's primary concern is with the use of space for its main functions of teaching and learning, scholarship and creative activity, and service, we have little to say about other plans for upgrading the campus site. Clearly, cosmetic improvements in landscaping and decoration over the last few years have made a strong and positive impression on our visitors. Still, we wish to stress that a sense of priorities should be maintained and that the first focus of the Master Plan should always be on supporting the university's primary functions of serving students and their learning needs and faculty in their teaching, research and creative activities, and service to the campus and community.
    16. Conclusions and Suggestions: Although we believe that there are serious flaws in the Master Plan and even whole sections that should be discarded, it does provide a basis for future planning. As a suggestion for procedures for immediate revision of the current plan, we suggest the following:
      1. Reduce the scope of the entire plan from 30 years to 15, with 5 years for the Short-Term goals, 10 for Mid-Term, and 15 for the Long-Term as actual goals that address current needs and that are potentially achievable if funding can be raised. (As an example, we note that it took less than 4 years for the Taylor Center to be built from the first announcement of Glen Taylor's gift.)
        • Any goals beyond 15 years should be relegated to a "wish list" that can be revisited and revised each year, with specific elements to be kept, discarded or incorporated into the actual plan while other elements are revised or added.
      2. Revise the Short-Term Plan by addressing flaws in the current plan and setting a timetable for action on the different components. This step should include a detailed analysis of actual current use of Armstrong, Trafton, and Nelson Halls and revision of plans for renovation or replacement of those buildings. A suggested set of action steps might include the following
        • Act to address immediate needs for classroom habitability (health and safety, instructional quality, comfort and ambience)
        • Act to address other immediate space needs by reassignment of newly available space (as in Morris Hall) or other space that can be utilized more efficiently
        • Conduct a detailed qualitative and quantitative analysis of classroom, laboratory, and office space to discover current and anticipated needs in Armstrong, Trafton, and Nelson Halls, in close consultation with deans, department chairs, and faculty
        • Draft plans for two new classroom buildings and for renovation or replacement of Armstrong, Trafton, and Nelson Halls that will include a detailed timetable and plans to minimize disruption of instruction and other departmental and college activities.

Some of these steps we see as quite realistic within the boundaries of current budget realities; attempts to address "habitability" issues in current classrooms are actually in progress. Other items will require hard work to convince legislators and private or corporate donors of their need, but that is no different a hurdle than it has ever been. As a department, we look forward to working with you, our other colleagues, and other analysts and planners in moving forward in our desire to provide the best possible teaching, scholarship and creative activity, and service to the students, the university, and the community.