April 20, 2015
By Brian F. Hawkins
The 19th century was a period of rapid growth in American higher education. Although many new colleges didn’t survive, their demise may have provided a lesson on the importance of campus aesthetics, Thomas A. Gaines wrote in his 1991 book, The Campus as a Work of Art.
“In their haste to open these new democratic schools,” he wrote, “most administrations forgot that a concern for aesthetic vitality is crucial to developing any cultural center.”
Much has been written since then about the importance of maintaining a beautiful campus, and successful institutions continue to make significant investments in campus architecture and green space. As we move to an era in which the campus extends beyond the traditional brick and mortar to the online and digital landscape, however, we must not repeat the mistakes of those 19th-century institutions. Colleges must invest in building digital campuses that are just as inspiring, vibrant, and functional as the stone arches, sculptures, and flowers that adorn our physical campuses.
[full article here.]