Better World, Education
December 3, 2010
Herman Miller is celebrating the holiday season with its first book drive campaign. You can’t miss it—literally. Bright red Meridian bookcases are appearing at locations all over the country, including our six West Michigan facilities, participating dealerships, and more than 30 higher education campuses.
Education Solutions Director Jeff Vredevoogd came up with the idea to collect and provide books to local nonprofit organizations that want to share the gift of reading. The bookcase is part of the donation, too.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity that’s bringing together businesses, students, and faculty to create a better world for their communities,” he says.
Want to donate a book? You can make a donation to an organization, such as Better World Books, between now and December 15, 2010.
Education, What's Up
November 9, 2010
A few weeks ago I attended Educause, a conference that encapsulates the best thinking in higher education IT. A highlight for me was participating in a session focused on seeking evidence of the impact of learning space design.
The majority of the session was spent in small group discussion focusing on this question: What evidence do we have that change and innovation are having the impact we hope for? Given the investments colleges and universities are making in their learning spaces, it’s a question that requires an answer. Collectively the participants established the need for complimentary quantitative and qualitative data with the type of data being highly dependent on the situation.
Two of the people in my discussion group represented schools that have participated in Herman Miller’s Learning Studio Research Pilot program: Butler Community College and Estrella Mountain Community College. The pilot program provides the opportunity for schools to test new learning spaces and evaluate the results before making a significant commitment within an entire building. For both schools, the results of the pilot have been significant, from both a quantitative and qualitative standpoint.
August 9, 2010
Some top-flight universities, including the University of Notre Dame, have long recognized the latent market potential in the labor of their researchers. They now are proactively creating an environment where that potential can blossom.
Innovation Park at Notre Dame is one place where that alchemy happens. Innovation Park is a businesslike three-story building across the street from university’s campus and within sight of its golden dome. It contains labs, offices, and all the support services to transform a bright idea into a viable business. The building is intended to be bright and open, mobile and versatile.
The Greenhouse, for example, is the first-floor space where people meet, ideas collide, and the most tender businesses take root. “Virtually everything is on wheels,” says Dave Brenner, CEO of Innovation Park.
Taking flexibility to the max, the Greenhouse not only is outfitted with Herman Miller’s most mobile furniture, it also is equipped with a “programmable infrastructure,” which gives the user ultimate control over lights, outlets, data and power, and even the window shades, from a personal computer or a two-button wand. The result is a space with enormous flexibility and the capability to reduce energy costs.
Education, What's Up
July 30, 2010
Herman Miller’s Education Solutions team recently asked students to provide feedback about where they learn best so that it could help higher education institutions better accommodate learning styles. The contest made me wonder where I learn best. I’m a college senior and I’m constantly looking for a place to study.
The desk in my dorm room now is stored in the dorm’s basement to make room for a couch and coffee table. And if I’m not studying in my dorm room (sans desk), I’m usually at a nearby coffee shop for the Wi-Fi, caffeine, and comfy seating. It’s a great place for study breaks, which often involve listening to music and catching-up with friends.
I also like to study at the campus library, especially during finals week. Its rooms and desks, however, quickly fill-up during this time frame, with other students quietly cramming for their exams or writing their last research paper for the semester. This isn’t the time for being distracted by Facebook or socializing with roommates.
These locations each serve different student needs, so how should colleges and universities adapt to these needs? Several campuses across the country are creating multi-functional spaces, which is a step in the right direction—as long as they have moveable desks.