Angela Foss

Angela Foss

2019–2020 SCUP Fellow and New Position: Development Manager, Autodesk (formerly Associate Dean of Operations and Innovation
College of Engineering, Technology, and Aeronautics at Southern New Hampshire University

SCUP Coaches: Lev Gonick, CIO, Arizona State University; Amber Luther, Associate, Populous; Mary Beth McGrew, Asst Vice Chancellor of Campus Planning, University of Pittsburgh; Brian Ryckman, STEM Librarian/Harry A.B. and Gertrude C. Shapiro Library, Southern New Hampshire University

Read her research report.

Watch their research presentation: Smart Building Smart Campus

SCUP Fellows Research Project

Project Title: Smart Building, Smart Campus

NOTE: The project description below is taken from the SCUP Fellow’s original application proposal.

Project Description:
Planning practices for higher education campuses are continuing to evolve with advances in facilities, technology, and instruction. Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) is a school with both a traditional campus and a home for 100,000+ online learners. SNHU recently took on the students from an engineering program that was closing at a neighboring school, leading to new conversations around developing STEM degree paths. Leadership committed to build a new, state-of-the art engineering building for their College of Engineering, Technology, and Aeronautics (CETA). This new infrastructure is being developed with innovative project-based curricular practices in mind.

Because SNHU has substantial online enrollees, there is an exciting opportunity to explore how to bring online learners virtually into the new physical space. To this end, we are envisioning a truly “smart building” which is designed specifically to allow for this type of student collaboration. This proposed project is to begin the research of what it means to have a smart building, how that can impact campus planning, and how physical space can maximize the experience for both face-to-face and virtual students. Would innovative environments allow STEM education to reach more underrepresented groups? What are the impacts on pedagogy and the traditional instruction models? Will smart buildings begin to address the sustainability of physical campuses? Initial research will be conducted through a literary review and research into two peer institutions, and perhaps also corporations, who are beginning to dip their toe into these practices. I will profile an SNHU partner school that enables students to remote access into some of their facilities and equipment. I will do a site visit of their campus in March of 2019. Following the visit, I will compile a report of findings, interviews, action plans, and further questions to explore.

Another university recently began to shift their classrooms into more active learning environments, and have conducted a classroom needs analysis of faculty and students. Their decision to integrate IT and AV departments at the heart of curriculum proposals and classroom/campus planning initiatives likely allowed for the development of innovative smart building design. I will explore their work further.

A final report will be prepared with recommendations to SNHU and other universities on how to integrate smart buildings into their campuses, and how this can directly impact both in-person and virtual learning environments and curriculum.

Project Goal and Applicability:
The goal for this project will be to have new research and resources for universities and colleges who are implementing innovative facilities and planning programs.
The following research goals will help guide this project:

  1. Leverage SCUP members to explore the shifts in campus planning as it relates to technology-enhanced buildings that allow for innovative interaction with outside individuals.
  2. Through research, determine who are the leaders in the cutting-edge smart facilities and what are the impacts they are finding, both positive and negative.
  3. Find answers to the questions posed about the impacts of smart buildings and smart campuses for universities and colleges. Where answers are yet to be found, develop predictions and proposals of how to better incorporate smart campus buildings into sustainable and accessible instruction models.
  4. Provide a final report to the SCUP community and the SNHU community to further the research around smart buildings, smart campuses, and the future of campus planning.

Project Methodology & Rationale:
I am a computer engineer and educator. I plan on taking these two skill sets and applying them to smart campus planning. I will leverage the SCUP resources available to me to further the research in the area of smart buildings and smart campuses. A literature review will be conducted first along with general research of who in higher education, the broader education field, and industry are experimenting with technology-enhanced buildings. In conjunction to this, I will research SNHU’s partner school around the work they are already doing and what SNHU can build upon from that model. The research and the site visit to our partner school will frame what further work I do with SNHU’s internal teams and our new engineering facility. I will observe and document impacts on faculty, students, pedagogy, and curriculum. If appropriate I will conduct both student and faculty surveys to formally document their feedback. For work that is yet to be done during this time frame I will make recommendations of what SNHU should experiment with and how to get there. This will include but not limited to working with SNHU’s ITS/AV, Capital Projects, Procurement, Facilities, Finance, Academic, and Innovation Center departments.

Project Deliverables:
The project deliverables will include a final report for use by the SCUP community and an article prepared for the submission in the SCUP’s Planning for Higher Education journal. I will also prepare a presentation proposal at SCUP’s annual conference. The report/article and presentation will cover the learnings from my research and internal work. Additionally, an internal document for use by SNHU leadership will be generated with my findings and recommendations for SNHU. My hope is that other universities can leverage this work as they continue to explore the changing landscape of campus planning and how to better maximize their buildings for an improved experience by students.

What do you hope to learn from SCUP?
As the Associate Vice President of Innovation – College of Engineering, Technology, and Aeronautics, I have had the amazing experience of working with the SNHU capital projects team on the development and construction of a new engineering facility. As a result of this project and my leadership role, I’ve engaged with faculty, students, and a variety of university departments, in new ways to better understand the curriculum, student needs, challenges, and opportunities. From this research project, I hope to learn how all of this experience and expertise can be tied together along with new research of what others in the field are doing for the betterment of campus planning. I hope to uncover facets of campus planning that were previously unknown to me. I’d like to strengthen my value as a leader at SNHU by engaging with leaders within the SCUP community. I am very eager to learn the challenges universities and colleges face today and how new and innovative technologies, buildings, and designs can assist in alleviating these challenges.

Learn more about the SCUP Fellows program.