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About a month ago we received a call from the American Council on Education (ACE) asking for SCUP's assistance in obtaining a lead article in the Summer 2013 issue of ACE's magazine, The Presidency. It needed to be completed within one week. One week.

Thanks to SCUP's Planning for Higher Ed Mojo network, we were able to nearly instantly tap into more than a dozen SCUPers for quick opinions, most of whom joined us in two Google+ hangouts to discuss some key questions the article was to answer. 

The result was an article by myself and SCUP president-elect Alexandria Roe, offering advice about the question "How much campus do I/we need?"—using the words of practitioner SCUP experts—that also emphatically makes the case for integrated and comprehensive planning. 

Here are some words from its introduction, and then a handful of quotes from SCUP experts who are cited in it:

So how do you plan for the future if you don’t know what it looks like? Very carefully. We put a series of key questions to a dozen experienced planners, asking them to provide practical advice to campus officials about how to plan for an uncertain future. Their responses indicated that college and university leaders must start any planning process by first asking themselves a series of questions.

1. Where is your institution headed?

2. How much campus space—and of what kinds—do you have now,  and how are you utilizing the space?

3. How much space are you going to need?

“Master plans that aren’t grounded in a strategic plan—or at least strategic drivers—may end up being a compilation of wishes driven by perceptions, which makes for a shaky planning foundation,” said Persis C. Rickes, president of Rickes Associates, Inc., a higher education planning firm. “Strategic plans,  in turn, need to be grounded in the real world. For example, simply stating that an enrollment increase is a desirable goal . . . is akin to magical thinking.

There is no there there.” ...

Sally Grans-Korsh, director of facilities management  and environmental policy at the National Association of College and University Business Officers, suggests that the first action step many campuses should take is to identify and “mothball” ten percent of instructional space, yielding a number of operating expense savings.

Michael Haggans, visiting scholar at the University of Minnesota school of Architecture, put it even more strongly:

“Build no net additional square feet,” said Haggans, who also blogs at campusmatters.net. “Some have tried this, but wavered by creating exceptions for those facilities that are ‘fully self-funded,’” Haggans noted, resulting in gaming of that definition. “My advice is to take the notion of no net additional area as a strategic objective, not a tactical response to fiscal constraints.”

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