Joel Nordberg, Alex Wing, Jeff Funovits, Emily Blaze, Jenna Beltram, Ann Storer, Bryan Harvey, and Ludmilla D. Pavlova-Gillham
In 2009 UMass Amherst, under the direction of Chancellor Robert Holub, engaged in a Framework for Excellence initiative and a commitment to elevate the national profile of the institution. The Framework for Excellence called for the recruitment of 250 additional faculty and an increase of 2,500 undergraduate students over the next 10 years. More space and improved, state-of-the-arts facilities was recognized as key in attracting and retaining the highest caliber faculty and students.
The Comprehensive Academic and Classroom Facilities Plan was funded by the MA Division of Capital Asset Management & Maintenance (DCAMM), which hired Burt Hill to initiate an investigation of UMass Amherst key academic buildings, classrooms and teaching environments, department program space and potential site development to accommodate the strategic growth outlined in the Framework for Excellence. The study’s focus was on the physical needs of academic (non-science and engineering) programs, including the School of Education, College of Humanities and Fine Arts, Isenberg School of Management, School of Nursing, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Commonwealth College, and selected programs under the Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs and the Provost (VCAA&P).
The analysis of this study was based on data available in the fall semester of 2008 as a baseline for a plan to address academic needs in a unified and comprehensive manner. Key findings are organized under the general headings of buildings, classrooms, departments and site requirements and each grouping evaluates condition, accessibility, space needs, and other key requirements. Due to state budget concerns, this study was terminated after the information gathering phase, prior to completing potential solutions or arriving at a consensus solution. Nevertheless, its findings have contributed to planned improvements of student learning and academic facilities and the subsequent funding and construction of the Integrative Learning Center by DCAMM.