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UNIVERSITy estates MUST meet needs of GENERATION Z

Generation Z brings challenges to the sector © Shutterstock

18 December 2017 | Herpreet Kaur Grewal

Estates professionals in the higher education sector should be readying universities in a number of ways including adapting physical space, says a report by the Association of University Directors of Estates (AUDE).


The report Jellybean Learning, The Future of The University Campus identifies eight key themes that estate professionals should consider to effectively address the challenges of educating today’s 10-year olds. These include:


  1.             1. Prepare for the changing demographic of students
  2.             2. Ensure that technology and technology-based learning
  3.                  approaches are suitable for future students
  4.             3. Adapt the physical space
  5.             4.  Explore innovative partnerships with organisations
  6.             5.  Use the vast potential to gather and analyse data
  7.             6.  Colocate with corporations, markets and new clusters 
  8.                   of business
  9.             7.  Start investigating models of smart buildings
  10.             8. Blur boundaries between campus and non-campus



The report argues that the sector can learn from best practice across the world. For example, the Harvard Business School wanted to connect digitally with students outside of the classroom but found traditional video capture (one camera filming one lecturer) made teachers less engaging. To overcome this, they pioneered a new technology involving a roaming camera operator, five stationary cameras and the laptop cameras of up to 60 students working together to create a collaborative teaching environment.


Sue Holmes, AUDE executive and director of estates and facilities at Oxford Brookes University, said: “Society and technology are drastically changing, and while there has been some improvement, the higher education sector needs to keep up. This report clearly highlights the needs of Generation Z and the challenges this brings to the sector.


“We aim to give estates professionals the best advice we can to help them build outstanding facilities for their students. We have outlined the key areas to consider in order to face the challenges head on and create immersive and innovative learning spaces for the next generation.”


Philip Ross, founder and CEO of UnWork, added: “Universities are experiencing monumental changes due to a range of influences. New generations of learners with their own unique attributes, new technologies and increasing pressures on real estate are all changing the way that universities teach, research and engage with their students.”