Vol. 20, No. 3
Oct. 5, 2000
A winning combination of classic yet contemporary design and the latest in modern technology, Gore Hall has attracted nationwide attention for its beauty and functionalism from those in higher education, architecture, construction and technology.
Most recently, Gore Hall was featured in a book chapter, "Planning for Classroom Technology" by Executive Vice President David Hollowell and Margaret McDermott, Facilities Planning and Construction. The book, Technology-Driven Planning: Principles to Practicepublished by the Society for College and University Planning (SCUP) and sponsored by Datatel, a company providing technology for higher educationis directed toward those involved in campus facilities and design.
Hollowell, a past president of SCUP, was asked to write the chapter after a presentation at the organization's annual conference, and McDermott, who served on the Gore Hall building committee and as liaison between the University and architects during the design process, served as co-author.
"UD differs from many institutions because it does not approach projects on a stand-alone basis, it integrates them into the overall goals and objectives of the University and involves members of the campus community in the planning process," McDermott said.
From the beginning, a building advisory committeechaired by UD Registrar Joe DiMartile and including faculty, representatives from the Center for Teaching Effectiveness, Facilities and Information Technology (IT)was involved in planning Gore Hall, Hollowell pointed out.
"Since the University's resources are limited and have to be used for a variety of projects, the committee's focus was to create optimal teaching and learning classrooms, in a cost-effective wayincorporating good ideas for less money," Hollowell said.
"The committee felt Gore Hall should be technology-oriented but members had different definitions of what technology was, ranging from laptop computers to multimedia equipment," McDermott said. "As a planner, the challenge was to incorporate different priorities into the design.
"The important key in planning a new building or renovating an old one is flexibility and modularity, so that the building will meet the needs of the future," she added.
Although technology is a useful tool, it was not the only driving force in Gore Hall's design, Hollowell said.
As the authors wrote, the "goal was not to build a monument to technology but rather to have a building where every classroom would have the latest in instructional technology best suited to the size and type of room and compatible with the kinds of technology being deployed elsewhere on campus."
The chapter points out that UD offers training programs and resources to encourage faculty to use classroom technologies. The equipment is standardized, there are media prep rooms to preview materials and a technical hub provides a replacement program for equipment failures.
"In addition to technology," Hollowell said, "we also were interested in other factors such as the shape and size of each classroom, the seating, light and sound levelswhether the room was intended for small classes, problem-based learning classes, for case studies or for large lectures. Gore Hall successfully encompasses these needs, and technology has been successfully incorporated to enhance different methods of teaching.
"We also have applied these principles in renovating older classrooms. For example, we converted long, vertical, narrow classrooms in Memorial Hall to horizontal rooms, moving the professor's place to the center of the wide wall. This configuration, we have discovered, promotes more interaction between the instructor and the students."
Gore Hall attracts many visitors, Hollowell said, and during a SCUP regional conference last spring, it was a star attraction for planners from other colleges and universities.
Other programs and features at the University also are models for other institutions, Hollowell said.
There has been much interest in UD's student services program, and Hollowell wrote a chapter, "Student Services: A Broad View," in Planning for Student Services: Best Practices for the 21st Century, another SCUP publication, sponsored by IBM.
Hollowell described how UD streamlined its student services by modernizing its administrative computing services and improving staff training to better serve UD students.
By installing an integrated computer system, it became possible for a student to use the web for admissions, registration for classes, advising, financial aid and career services.
The Student Services Building centralized services that had been at different locations and was designed so students could get answers or help with problems with one-stop shopping.
In the article, Hollowell quotes the 1998 Princeton Review, a publication for college-bound students, which pointed out that UD had developed an electronic campus, calling the "results...impressive," with students reporting a "much lower hassle factor" than students at similar schools.
Another plus is higher employee morale, Hollowell pointed out.
IT as enabler
Hollowell and Vice President Susan Foster, Information Technologies, also coauthored an article, "Integrating Information Technology Planning and Funding at the Institutional Level," in Information Technology in Higher Education: Assessing Its Impact and Planning for the Future.
The article points out, "By policy or practice, increasing numbers of colleges and universities are mandating the use of information technology (IT) to manage, teach, learn, do research and reach out to their communities and the world."
The article discussed getting input from the campus community, leadership and visibility on campus, high-quality resources, planning and budgeting for the present and the future.
"Effective information technology planning does not take place in a vacuum" and "must be integrated into institutional planning, mission and goals," they wrote.
Using UD as an example, the authors discussed the school's strategic plan, which does not include IT as such, but IT is the "enabler" that makes the goals possible.