The University of Akron substantively followed the campus development guide plan Sasaki prepared in 1999. As a result, the university completed approximately 500 million dollars of capital improvements. The major thrust of this investment was the transformation from a commuter-campus to a university with a significant sense of place and community. Given these accomplishments, the university again asked Sasaki to conceptualize a framework for future campus development in partnership with its neighbors.
The resulting guide plan is a structure for planning change over time, connecting ideas and information to implementation. Its heart is a series of planning principles, centered on two primary themes: learning and research and connections and partnerships. The principles provide a basis for evaluating alternative capital strategies to ensure future investment aligns with the university's mission as described in its new strategic plan, Vision 2020. The shift in emphasis from a project driven approach to a principle driven one is intentional. Given funding uncertainties, the ever-changing and complex demands of modern research, and the university's strong emphasis on partnerships a prescriptive project list does not provide the flexibility needed for good decision making. Rather than being a plan, the guide plan is about how to plan.
The guide plan creates a dynamic ability to respond to evolving priorities over time, while ensuring incremental moves work towards the larger vision. The guide plan changes how projects are conceived, discouraging those representing silos, and encouraging projects that advance learning and research across traditional discipline boundaries. The facilities opportunities conceived in the guide plan focus on newly identified innovation clusters. They include, for example, a complete rethinking of the sciences, engineering, and polymers, creating strong research-driven links, and a holistic integrated approach to learning for the physical sciences. Other examples include a vision for the health sciences, for the professional colleges, for the liberal arts and humanities, and for the residential experience. The guide plan describes immediate thematic priorities like collaboration and stewardship, particularly the need to address our substantial renewal and deferred maintenance liability.
Within this context of academic integration, the central concept emerging from the guide plan is the academic way. This notion of a main street is the result of many factors: the desire to promote academic interaction through colocation and mixing, the sense that the best return on limited capital will come through geographically focused rather than disparate investment, the location of buildings that represent the best opportunities for regeneration, the need for a campus focal point and strong student experience, and the opportunities for improved transit and campus connections. As the goals for the academic way are realized, long-term needs are met along linked growth corridors that reach out to critical neighborhood and biomedical partners. The plan also establishes the framework for these external partners to reach in to the university in support of the mission.
In 2015, Instituto Tecnológico de Monterrey embarked on an ambitious
program to rethink and reconsider the entire educational model at the core of
the institution. Dubbed the Tec 21 Educational Model,...