The University Classroom Oversight Committee (UCOC) is a collaborative group of CAS, CAPS/GS, and Seminary faculty and administrators working with the Registrar and representatives from Facilities Management, and Teaching, Learning, and Technology to set and maintain standards for classroom design, layout, and equipment; the committee also serves an advisory role in decisions about classroom capacity and assignment, as well as expectations for classroom use. The committee monitors the quality and functionality of all university classrooms, and makes recommendations for improvements and renovations. Furthermore, the committee also coordinates with the Registrar and Room Scheduling to make decisions about unusual classroom assignments and/or special use. In addition, the committee collaborates with colleagues in Faculty Development in order to align pedagogical practice with pedagogical space.
The members of the committee in 2014-2015 are:
- Susan Brooks (CAS Faculty)--spring
- Katrina Chapman (Registrar)
- Brooke Deneen (Room Scheduling/Conference & Events Services)
- Sandy Dunleavy (Facilities Management)
- Barrett Fisher (CAS Administration)--chair
- Ryan Gunderson (CAPS/GS Administration)
- Dan Gurtner (Seminary Faculty)
- Christy Hanson (CAPS/GS Faculty)
- Bob Kistler (TLT)
- Mike Lindsey (Facilities Management)
- Matt Putz (TLT)
- Rick Selin (TLT)
- Dan Swensen (CAS Faculty)--fall
- Meg Thorson (Seminary Administration)
Ongoing Classroom Assessment
The UCOC is participating in an ongoing beta test of Educause's Learning Space Rating System as a way to make informed decisions about future classroom development and upgrades. This standardized classroom assessment process allows Bethel to respond well to local needs while still considering broadly accepted higher education standards and trends.
The UCOC has developed a list of standards (pdf) that endorses specific recommendations about room capacity (i.e., square footage/student) made by consultants from Credo as part of the Bethel University campus master plan adopted by the Board of Trustees in 2011. The standards document also establishes best practice design principles, recommends appropriate technology, and describes appropriate furniture.
While drawing on the Credo report, the committee also consulted classroom design guides or manuals from several other educational institutions, including:
- Arizona State University
- Emory College
- University of Minnsota
- Yale University
Committee members also read several articles and book chapters, among them:
- "Enhancing Student Success Through Principled Space Planning and Interior Design."
- William Dittoe, "Learning Spaces and Student Success."
- Herman Miller, Inc., Paradigm Shift: How Higher Education is Improving Learning (2010).
- "Innovation Enters the Classroom." Education (Fall 2010).
- Diane G. Oblinger, ed., Learning Spaces (Educause, 2006).
- A series of focus groups with current Bethel faculty from CAS, CAPS/GS, and the Seminary were held.
- Committee members attended a Society for College and University Planning (SCUP) conference entitled "Learning Spaces: Planning and Executing Active Learning Spaces."
- Several members of the committee also made site visits to classrooms and instructional spaces at the University of Minnesota and the University of St. Thomas.