Kimberly Allard, John Bannon, Antonia Chan, Colleen Cunningham, and Mary Ann Hamre

Executive Summary

When San Diego State University’s (SDSU) department of Instructional Technology Services (ITS) and affiliated university agencies think of dynamic learning space design, they should automatically think of Perspectives Design. We have a proven track record with numerous universities, government agencies, and private companies. We understand the need to design a user-centered work area that fosters a spirit of community and encourages faculty and staff to use the resources offered by SDSU.
To launch the redesign of FR-1109, it is crucial that we evaluate the needs of the ITS staff, the university faculty, staff, and university as a whole along with educational research and task analyses to create a faculty room that will meet the needs of SDSU’s diverse population. The proposed design incorporates all the current resources and technology in the room and seeks to enhance the layout by grouping smaller work areas including a reception area, a social or group collaboration area with a television, and remote office space. The room will also provide office space for two staff members.

Statement of Need

The 2006 SDSU Faculty Handbook defines FR-1109 as “a faculty room with equipment, supplies, and staff to assist faculty in the development of their own instructional, professional, and research materials.” Although FR-1109 has been operating in a somewhat similar manner since establishment in 1984, the ITS department has identified a need for space renovation do to a variety of recent trends.
Our teams’ needs assessment focused on evaluating the current and future use of FR-1109 and the design renovation suggestions linked under the two broad goals:
  • Increase room utilization and flexibility; and
  • Increase faculty collaboration within the room.
We sought to evaluate the current room usage and equipment. We learned the faculty and graduate assistants use FR-1109 to develop and support classroom instruction and evaluation. The university provides the faculty an annual stipend of $75.00 for room supplies, with any exceeding faculty expenses billed to the faculty’s department. A variety of hardware, software, and equipment exists in the room; including training support. The current space includes among many items: 11 PCs, 4 Macs, 3 printers, 5 scanners, and 6 ParScore scantrons graders. The PCs and the ParScores are the most popular resources. In order to understand the current space usage, equipment inventory, and to define the optimal use, a variety of sources was consulted in the following order:
  • Consulted a variety of stakeholders via email and in-person interview
  • Observed stakeholder in FR-1109
  • Extant Data
    • Reviewing learning space design literature
    • Review FR-1109 statistics and benchmarking (Stanford Academic Technical Laboratory)

Our first step was to ingrain ourselves in the culture and current activity in FR-1109. We emailed and held in-person interviews with seven stakeholders. The following table lists the details of each interaction.


Two Perspectives Design consultants visited FR-1109 to observer the room layout, equipment, supplies, and technology to assess the actual room usage and document discoveries. The table below presents their conclusions.


Extant Data
We reviewed the literature on the topic of learning space design as well as the statistics provided to us.

The Literature
This table highlights our findings in the relevant literature.

The SDSU Data and Benchmarking
This table highlights the key points of the SDSU room statistics for FR-1109 and the Standard Academic Technology Lab.


The following table summarizes the recommended design changes for both immediate and future changes.
Red text represents immediate changes that could be incorporated with limited budget and planning and blue represents long-term design renovations.

Design Concept

Based on our analyses of the ITS staff, the university faculty and staff, and the university as a whole along with educational research we created a design concept that incorporate the necessary equipment, a café area, office space, and a work area. The diagram provides an overview of each area of the faculty room.

Design Rationale

The analyses and design concept supports our design rationale for each of the six areas.

Social Area
The Social Area, comparable to a faculty lounge, is an area designed to promote a more relaxed atmosphere and interaction among faculty members (National Clearinghouse for Educational Facility, 2000)

The center area consists of café style tables for easy access and quick use. They are at a comfortable height for standing work, but could also accommodate tall chairs. Also suggested for inclusion in the Social Area are two fluffy armchairs to create a comfortable working space for longer stays in the Faculty Room. Professors or assistants can sink into a cozy chair and use the space for grading papers, analyzing test data, or take a break while they sip their coffee.

We propose that the corner area of this space be used for storage and additional work areas. The cabinets could be used for storage of smaller equipment, such as cameras and other audio-video equipment. One part of the cabinet would house a television and cable hookup. Shelving would accommodate books. Below the cabinets would be additional tabletop space and chairs. The laminator and other publishing and binding equipment would occupy some of this table space.

Office Away From the Office Area
According the National Clearinghouse for Educational Facility (2000), teachers need privacy, time to reflect, and space to conduct personal and school tasks. Considering that San Diego State employs many lecturers who do not have an office on campus, we have designed an area that would be welcoming to these users, as well as others. This area has a dual platform MAC, as well as a communal printer. The drawers in this area contain all of the office essentials, including a variety of paper, writing instruments, staplers, tape, scissors, sticky notes, hole punches, glue, White-Out, and other useful office tools.

Work Area
The work area offers a strategically designed learner-centered environment. By tailoring this location to create a “culturally compatible” environment based on the data collected about our current and future users. (Bransford et al, 2007). We needed to review the materials and resources currently being used by faculty members as presented in the 2006 Annual Faculty Room Report. At the tables accompanied by the blue chairs, we will be placing Macintosh computers capable of booting in either the Windows or Macintosh platforms allowing for the greatest flexibility. We will also be providing ParScore and Scantron Test Scoring hardware available at each of these locations, as well as a shared image/slide scanner.

Independent Study Area
The corner area will provide a tutorial area where faculty can access self-paced tutorials about Blackboard or other SDSU support web tools. The remaining table will house a shared color printer and provide storage underneath.

Genius Area
The Genius Area looks to utilize our human capital to a higher level. We have provided an office area, for our two staff members that is both private, yet accessible to faculty with questions. Each staff member receives his own desk and the storage behind the desks leaves an area for the staff members to place materials not available for the faculty using the room. However, from the users’ standpoint, these experts are now readily available to answer questions and provide demonstrations through monitors mounted on swivel-base stands. These staff members could provide mini lessons on hardware, software, and the tutorials located in the back of the work area. The blue chairs from the work area could be pulled up to the front of the desks longer tutoring sessions.

Welcome Area
The Welcome Area represents the entrance to the faculty room. The table located just inside the door would include an easel listing the daily schedule, and genius bar hours. The table would also include a rotating set of pamphlets on services provided within the lab as well as additional courses offered by lab technicians. There would also be an electronic card sign-in where faculty would swipe their ID cards upon entering the facility and click to select which materials he or she would be using in the room.


Perspectives Design, a leader of learning space development and redesign, has the experience and qualified resources for flawless execution of your redesin challenge. We will create a collaborative work environment for university personnel to meet their needs.


Bransford, J., Brown, A., Cocking, R. (1999). The Design of Learning Environments. In How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School.Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press.

Brown, M. (2006). Learning Spaces. Retrieved April 7, 2007 from http://www.educause.edu/LearningSpaces/6072

Drake, R. (2007) Anual Faculty Room Statistics. Retrieved April 7, 2007 from https://blackboard.sdsu.edu/webapps/portal/frameset.jsp?tab=courses&url=/bin/common/course.pl?course_id=_10595_1

National Clearinghouse for Educational Facility (2000). Teachers Workspaces. Retrieved April 20, 2007 from http://www.edfacilities.org/pubs/teacherspace.pdf

Pruit, J. & Adlin, T. (2004). Ad-Hoc Personas & Empathetic Focus. Retrieved April 7, 2007 from http://www.jnd.org/dn.mss/personas_empath.html

San Diego State University. Faculty Handbook 2006. Retrieved April 14, 2007 from