Designing buildings that attract students to the sciences and help improve the quality of science education is an important part of EYP’s mission. As architects and engineers, we design environments to meet specific needs and help our clients advance their strategic goals. By identifying data sources and measures that can be used to assess our success in producing the behavioral responses and other desired outcomes in STEM buildings, we have crafted a broad-spectrum model that allows us to evaluate and substantiate the impact of science learning environments on teaching, learning, and research. We are sharing the findings from our STEM research program to promote effective public dialogue among leaders in education, industry, and government.
Dimensions of assessment vary in terms of project goals and targets. Goals may pertain to the building as a whole or to structures within it, such as classrooms, laboratories, and study spaces. By targets we mean the people or groups who will be affected by the environment. For science buildings this includes science and non-science faculty, current and prospective students, staff, administrators, alumni/ae, and campus visitors.
An important part of our assessment methodology is post-occupancy surveys of students and faculty. At Holy Cross, we conducted Internet surveys during the spring 2011 semester, over a year after the new science center was completed. We administered the faculty survey to all tenured and tenure-track members of the six departments connected to or part of the science center and to all other faculty members who had taught in one of the new classrooms. Of 88 faculty contacted, 77 completed the survey, for a response rate of 87.5 percent. We administered the student survey to a stratified random sample, stratified by science/non-science major, of all students enrolled and on campus. A total of 500 students, 250 science and 250 non-science majors, were contacted; 331 students—171 science majors and 160 non-science majors—completed the survey, for an overall response rate of 66.2 percent.
At Wheaton, we conducted two surveys in spring 2013, over a year after the new science center was completed. The faculty survey was administered to all tenured and tenure-track members of the affected departments and programs and, in addition, to all other faculty members who had taught in one of the new classrooms. Of 61 faculty contacted, 49 completed the survey, for a response rate of 80 percent. The student survey was administered to a stratified random sample, stratified by science/non-science major, of all students enrolled and on campus in spring 2013. A total of 500 students, 250 science and 250 non-science majors, were contacted; 245 students—152 science majors and 87 non-science majors (6 students did not report their major)—completed the survey, for an overall response rate of 49 percent.
Vice President Design & Expertise
Academic Planning & Programming
Academic Planning & Programming / Architect
Academic Planning & Design
College of the Holy Cross