Tag Archives: academic workplace

Campus NL: the 2016 tour

by Alexandra den Heijer

As an important part of our Campus NL project, our research team interviewed more than 35 persons about (the present and future of) 14 Dutch university campuses in April and May. This was an excellent opportunity to visit all NL campuses again: from Utrecht to Maastricht, from Leiden to Nijmegen. Some photos of Rotterdam (EUR), Amsterdam (VU), Groningen (RUG) and Twente (UT) can be found below.

Some preliminary results of both the data collection/analysis and interviews were presented on June 3, for an audience of executive board members, financial directors and campus managers. Together they discussed propositions about tomorrow’s university and campus – the results of that meeting will be added to the Campus NL report, which will be finished in December 2016 and published as a book early 2017.

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The changing academic office in Finland

by Alexandra den Heijer

Yesterday and today I gave lectures about the changing academic office, based on my research and our experiences in Delft with CASE BK CITY. The first lecture was for a KIINKO* group of government delegates, consultants and architects. The second lecture was for the University of Helsinki. In a lecture hall of their inner-city campus a mixed group of academics and facilities managers attended my lecture. Hand-outs of both presentations can be found under DOWNLOADS.

University of Helsinki's Main Building (city centre campus), with Helsinki Cathedral in the background

It was a nice surprise to meet members of the HUMANE network in the university’s Main Building. I did a workshop for their seminar in November 2011 – see post “European knowledge exchange in Brussels (and Delft)”. I want to thank my hosts Pirjo Honkaniemi (KIINKO) and Anna-Maija Lukkari (University of Helsinki) for their hospitality. Until my flight takes me back to Amsterdam, I will enjoy sunny Helsinki as a tourist.

* KIINKO Real Estate Education offers postgraduate education and training for asset, property and facilities management professionals in Finland – see www.kiinki.fi/in-english.

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Film “Out of the Box”

by Alexandra den Heijer

At the AUDE conference in Loughborough last week, a 9-minute film “Out of the Box” was released, produced by the Higher Education Design Quality Forum (HEDQF): “A short film showcasing some European universities and how they are distinguishing themselves with radical architecture, design and branding. To achieve their ambition, many have reinvented the academic workplace.” (text from youtube.com)  The film by Rod McAllister and William Pine includes TU Delft’s case BK city and my ’15 seconds of fame’ … (starting at 2:30 with the sad memories of our unforgettable fire and continuing at 5:50 and 7:50)

The film shows new academic places to work and learn (United Kingdom: University of Greenwich, Ravensbourne College, Lancaster Institute for the Contemporary Arts, Napier University Business School, Loughborough University, Finland: Aalto University, Netherlands: TU Delft, Faculty of Architecture / BK city). It also states that “The last year research has shown that 36% of British students rejected a university due to the quality of its estate”. Voice-over and producer Rod McAllister adds: “Perhaps we should give the box more credit…”. Rod McAllister works for architecture practice Sheppard Robson in London (www.sheppardrobson.com). More information about the activities of HEDQF (www.hedqf.com, which redirects to architecture.com). More about case BK city: CASE BK CITY.

BK city's facility manager Dennis Cruyen

BK city - home of TU Delft's Faculty of Architecture

"my 15 seconds of fame" about BK city's brief and concepts

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Managing the winter campus

Last week in Finland gave me the opportunity to enjoy the first snow of this winter. Every campus looks beautiful covered with snow. Nonetheless, I remember how months of snow challenged all facilities staff last two winters in the Netherlands, to make sure it was “academic business as usual”.


The venue of the seminar was Aalto University’s Venture Garage (Otaniemi campus in Espoo) – see http://aaltovg.com – which also included a “startup sauna”. The topic of the seminar was Future Learning Environments and my keynote merged theory and practice (see downloads) on this subject.

I want to thank Aalto University for their hospitality, especially Suvi Nenonen and Jarkko Leinonen. Something tells me that I will be back soon…

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European knowledge exchange in Brussels (and Delft)

by Alexandra den Heijer

From Barcelona to Brussels: November was a great month for European knowledge exchange. Today I came home from Brussels. The European capital was an ideal place for a seminar about sustainable universities. Organised by HUMANE (http://www.humane.eu) policy makers and directors of administration from many European countries shared knowledge and experiences. I was the sixth and last speaker of the seminar on Saturday morning, in a class room of Vrije Universiteit Brussel (http://www.vub.ac.be). After my lecture I had prepared a 60-minute workshop “campus of the future”. All attendees were divided in three groups to visualize three future campus models for the traditional university, the network university and the virtual university. The results can be seen below (click on photos for enlargement).

model A - traditional campus

mood board model A - traditional campus

campus model B - network university

mood board model B - network campus

campus model C - virtual university

mood board model C - virtual campus

My HUMANE Brussels presentation can be found under DOWNLOADS. The same goes for the presentation I gave two days earlier, on Thursday November 24, when I received a group of real estate professionals from Finland in Delft. Their visit was organised by KIINKO (http://www.kiinko.fi) for Real Estate Education. The photo of the audience was taken just after my lecture, when the next speaker had started. Pirjo Honkaniemi – our contact at KIINKO – is in the first row.

BK city Delft, lecture hall C, Thursday November 24 - the group from Finland, just after my lecture

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Back from North America: “if you think higher education is expensive, try ignorance” (quote Derek Bok, edited)

by Alexandra den Heijer

My badge at SCUP-46 Having recovered from a jetlag (of 9 hours) I look back on a very inspiring visit to both the United States and Canada. My lecture (and presence) at the SCUP conference in the US introduced me to a new network of campus experts, and reunited me with some old North American friends. My publisher Eburon could tell that I visited North America by the increased number of overseas book orders.

the SCUP-46 venue at National Harbor, MD - accommodation more than 1,400 people who attended the conference

my book at the SCUP-46 conference bookstore (when there were still some copies left...) among 80 other books on higher education or related topics

What I learned is that higher education in North America and Europe is very vulnerable to more budget cuts: we are already struggling with large groups of students, less time and resources per student – resources that include the physical campus.

Reputations of higher education institutions and their alumni are at stake. Joining forces and sharing space with other stakeholders (other universities, private parties, public authorities) is one of the solutions which I presented at the conference and I elaborate upon in my book. This requires a culture change on campus.

Nonetheless, more political attention for higher education as one of the most important foundations for the economy is vital. This is the same reason why my book “Managing the university campus” starts with the quote (Derek Bok, former Harvard University president): “If you think education is expensive, try ignorance”… I added that the same goes for the campus…

[for the Preface of “Managing the university campus”, see ABOUT THE BOOK ].

P.S. Our visit to Canada was not business but pleasure this time, even though we happened to visit the campus of University of British Columbia (UBC) and will definitely visit Simon Fraser University (and UniverCity, see “SFU” on Wikipedia.org) our next visit to Vancouver and West Canada.


Filed under international network, the book

Enjoying SCUP-46 in the United States

by Alexandra den Heijer

This week I am attending the SCUP-46 conference in National Harbor, MD – near Washington DC – to be inspired by university planners, campus architects and other experts on planning for higher education (facilities): http://www.scup.org/page/annualconf/46. I will present on Tuesday at 3:30 pm (location: National Harbor 2) – my session: “Rethinking the academic workplace – opportunities of a crisis”, combining lessons from the case BK city and my research results as published in my book “Managing the university campus”. Both the hand-out and summary of the presentation can be found in the menu DOWNLOADS after the presentation. During the conference I also use Twitter: @alexandra_dh.

the impressive atrium of the SCUP-46 venue Gaylord National Hotel

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