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Washington State University
Washington State University Office of the Provost

From the Committee Chair

On behalf of the Provost’s General University Classroom committee, I would like to share with you news about the Pullman committee’s focus and planning efforts.  State policy makers continue to be interested in how well university space is used and because campus real estate is always in demand, the planning work of the 14-member classroom committee remains critical.  Committee membership includes, for example, faculty members, ASWSU President, the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education, staff from the registrar’s office, academic media services and facilities.

Planning and Projects:  In their planning efforts, committee members consider factors like enrollment level fluctuations and future forecasts, competing space demands, the need for different sizes, locations and types of teaching spaces and technologies as well as alignment with the university’s strategic direction.  The completion of the Spark building added 12 modern classroom spaces and other flexible teaching spaces to the campus inventory.  While that building was being designed and constructed, the classroom committee planned and completed critical upgrades to approximately 18 existing classrooms of varying sizes.

Classroom Use and Availability:  Since the fall of 2011, which had a larger than previous years’ freshman class, Pullman campus enrollment has held steady and statistics show that general university classroom availability and use has not changed dramatically (with some exceptions).  University classrooms are fuller and rooms scheduled more often than they were before 2011.  The largest auditoria for lower division courses are in the highest demand while use of mid-sized and smaller classrooms remains constant.

Even with the recent addition of 12 classrooms of various sizes in the Spark building, on average, most classrooms are not completely full and scheduling timeslots remain open at the less popular hours of 8:00 a.m., noon and after 3:00 p.m.  The majority of lectures are scheduled in the 136 general use classrooms. Colleges also use departmental classrooms and other spaces for teaching groups of 50 or less.  This is particularly true for programs that require discipline-specific equipment or materials that need to be permanently housed in the classroom.

What’s Next?:  Plans include the continued renewal of outdated classroom furnishings and technology in existing classrooms, and where it is feasible and makes sense, to convert more  classrooms into flexible teaching spaces.  The committee’s ten-year plan places the highest funding priority in 2017-19 on renewing the 28 general use classrooms in Todd Hall/Addition.  The heavily scheduled university classrooms in this building were last renewed in 2006 and 2008.

As chairperson for this university committee, please be sure to contact me or other committee members if you have questions, ideas or information that you think might be useful to our on-going efforts.  Thank you!


Deborah S. Carlson