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For Immediate Release
February 4, 2009

For more information, contact
Virginia Campbell
(585) 395-2754
vcampbel@brockport.edu

Provost Engages Students to Conduct Research on Academic Space

Press Release Photo Provost Anne Huot and sociology students discuss new academic building survey.

The College at Brockport Professor of Sociology Joan Spade, gave her Research Methods course students the opportunity to put their learning into action last fall.

Stemming from The College at Brockport’s recent initiative to build a new academic building, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Anne Huot was interested in the campus community’s input for the proposed building.

The class formed a research team and divided up tasks based on talents and interests. In two months, a proposal with a draft survey was accepted by the provost. Soon, students and faculty were contacted via e-mail and given the opportunity to share their views of what an academic building should look like.The survey was completed and the data from 1,028 students and 180 full-time faculty members were analyzed to ascertain trends and relationships. At the end of the semester, the class presented to Dr. Huot the results of the survey, with information pertaining to all aspects of the building, including classrooms, technology, furnishings and space. Their report describes the students’ and faculty members’ preferences for the new academic building, but also includes some attention to their attitudes on use of current academic space. In terms of building design, students and faculty both felt the new building should be efficient in all aspects, but mainly lighting and green space. Respondents also gave their views on parking, artwork, entrances, and the sharing of classroom and office space. Preferences for food service in the new academic building were included in the survey, which revealed that students used food service and lounge areas more than faculty; therefore, food service in the new academic building was slightly more important to students.

In terms of classroom design, 63 percent of students would like a variety of classroom sizes while 70 percent of faculty would like to see mostly small classrooms (25 students or less). Students and faculty were rather neutral about present academic facilities’ conduciveness to learning, with both averaging a score of 3 on a scale of 1 (“strongly agree”) to 5 (“strongly disagree”) on these questions.

Regarding technology, students and faculty overwhelmingly prefer computer projection to any other visual teaching tool. The research team conducting the survey felt this was because computer projection may be used with television, DVD and slide projection while also saving on space and minimizing costs.

The findings have given Dr. Huot much useful information to work with as the College moves forward in its planning for this new building.

“Dr. Spade deserves accolades for pitching this project to me late last summer. It was a great idea and I am grateful to her for the many adjustments she had to make in her course design and schedule to accommodate this real-world exercise,” said Dr. Huot. “I cannot say enough laudatory things about the students in this class. It was obvious to me when I met with them that they had worked effectively in teams to design the project, resolve their points of disagreement, implement the survey, analyze the results and present their deliverable to me at the end of the term. I am very proud of the work they did and look forward to sharing the results with the community as we look forward to designing our new academic building as well as renovating our existing academic space over time.”

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The College at Brockport, State University of New York
350 New Campus Drive * Brockport, New York 14420-2931
(585) 395-2754 * FAX (585) 395-2723 * www.brockport.edu

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