Dec. 2, 2010

NOTE: This symposium has been formatted and rescheduled to March 9. See details.

Symposium eyes future: How will we learn, research, collaborate?

by Diana Pounds

New technologies are rapidly blurring the line between the physical and virtual campus. Gadgets, apps and nearly constant connectivity allow scholars to collaborate almost anywhere, independent of classroom or lab.

As technologies change the way people learn and share knowledge, things are getting interesting for those who plan facilities for the universities of tomorrow.

"It's no longer just about the buildings," said Elizabeth Hoffman, executive vice president and provost. "We need to have a dialogue about our future and how the people on this campus will learn and do research."

Half-day symposium Feb. 1

That dialogue will begin Feb. 1 with a half-day campus-wide discussion. The symposium, titled "The Future of Learning, Research and Collaboration," will be open to ISU faculty, staff and students.

Those attending the symposium will ponder the changes that are likely to occur in learning, research and scholarship in the coming decades and ways the university can support the transition. The symposium will lay the foundation for more detailed discussions about the environment and facilities Iowa State will need to thrive, Hoffman said.

Flexible facilities are key

"Our goal is to create an environment that serves us well several decades into the future," she added. "A key part of that will be developing facilities that are flexible enough to accommodate the rapid changes that lie ahead." Several experts on higher education and technology will offer comments and facilitate discussion during the symposium.

They are:

  • Donald Norris, president and chief scientist of Strategic Initiatives Inc., a Herndon, Va., consulting firm that that specializes in leading and navigating change in universities and other organizations
  • Mark Valenti, president of the Sextant Group, a national technology consulting firm specializing in the planning and design of learning, communications and entertainment facilities and systems

About the symposium

The symposium, which will be held from 8 a.m. to noon in Benton Auditorium, Scheman Building, is open to Iowa State faculty, staff and students. The event is free, but participants are asked to register by sending an e-mail.

See the symposium website for more information.