Some questions I continue to research about #PedagogicalMasterPlanning

Schools and universities are making huge decisions about academics and instruction, partly to “keep up” with other decision-making institutions doing likewise.

The University of Virginia board’s decision to dismiss Teresa A. Sullivan as president in June illustrated the pressure on universities to strike MOOC deals quickly to keep up with peer institutions, said Martin D. Snyder, senior associate general secretary and director of the department of external relations for the American Association of University Professors.


Schools and universities spend millions and millions of dollars on planning and construction of physical spaces and buildings.

Phase One of the master plan (2008 through 2017) calls for more than $750 million in new facilities and infrastructure construction on the campus


Schools and universities are investing enormous time into meeting with stakeholders and gathering input from various constituencies about campus master planning and physical buildings.

The core of the planning process focused on engaging the university community in crafting a plan for the future of Carnegie Mellon. Town meetings were widely advertised and dozens of meetings were held with students, faculty and staff as well as neighbors in Oakland and Squirrel Hill and the City of Pittsburgh.

Are schools proactively thinking and planning about the big academic and instructional decisions they face…and master planning for the consequent issues that are symbiotically affected?

Are schools investing comparable dollars into the master planning for academics, pedagogy, and instruction – similar to the dollars spent on physical master planning?

Are schools devoting similar time to gathering stakeholders and constituents to discuss the academic, pedagogical, and instructional future of their organizations and the overall institution of education?

[Note: The above is not intended as commentary or criticism about University of Virginia, University of Massachusetts of Boston, or Carnegie Mellon University. Rather, in my investigations, these are quotes that spurred ideas of possibility for me around the future of pedagogical master planning. Shouldn’t schools make decisions from “academic-architecture plans?” Shouldn’t schools spend comparable money on the core of the organization – the academic architecture? Shouldn’t schools convene similar quantities and qualities of meetings for developing academic architecture? And, perhaps, some are doing so. But I’m not finding those articles or sharings online.]

4 thoughts on “Some questions I continue to research about #PedagogicalMasterPlanning

  1. I, too, have spent time studying at UVA, yet I was writing on this post for a different purpose than individual-school criticism. And, as for pedagogical master planning, I certainly don’t mean for such planning to be “forced” on anyone; I agree with you. Rather, I am researching and building understanding for ways in which an organization can invite and include perspectives and positions while designing strategies that organize reinforcing systems – systems constructed with those who have the primary context for making the most informed decisions. My overall point remains that most schools do not invest in pedagogical master planning in the ways that schools invest in campus master planning. However, I would argue that what happens in the buildings and learning spaces should be strategically designed – with community inclusion – in ways that somewhat mimic campus master planning…then architecture…then engineering…etc. Strategic planning does not really include this level of inclusion and design architecture, so I am not really speaking about typical strategic planning. I am talking about something new. We are trying to build such here at Unboundary.

    I would love to read your related post. Could you provide the link?

    Thanks for your comment and for a dialogue.

    • Sorry, I should have included that in the first comment. I actually wrote two posts, neither of which can really claim objectivity. I’m always passionate about U.Va., but I was REALLY passionate back in June. Anyway, the links:

      And I realize that you weren’t intending to criticize. I thought it worth pointing out, however, that the problem at Virginia was precisely the thing you’re addressing: a dire lack of pedagogical master planning by the people with decision-making power. I think that’s one reason why I’m so intrigued by your ideas on this subject. The concept itself fills a need that I think many schools (including my alma mater, unfortunately) have not yet even realized that they’re facing.

      Keep the good ideas coming. (And if you haven’t already proposed this to a book publisher, you should.)

      • Matt,

        Thanks for the links and the continuing dialogue. I have read your first post, but I need to re-read and follow-up with a read of the second post. I didn’t want that much time to pass before replying however. I genuinely appreciate your reading and commenting. As I continue this construction of pedagogical master planning, I find it invaluable to hear from others if it seems like a path worthy of exploring and discovering. I appreciate your encouragement, and I invite you to get granular if you find time. What resonates more soundly? What questions does the idea and metaphor raise for you?

        I’ve subscribed to your blog. I look forward to learning more with you. All the best in your learning and teaching.

        Take care,


  2. As a Virginia alum, I say feel free to criticize. My biggest complaint about what happened this summer was not the Board’s push for online learning (although I am skeptical of it), but rather the way it was handled. Very heavy-handed, with no attempt to build consensus, even among upper-level administrators and department chairs, let alone rank and file faculty. There was no “pedagogical master planning” whatsoever (at least not as far as I could tell), and Sullivan even hinted at that, she was characterized by the Rector as a foot-dragger and perhaps even a Luddite. A pedagogical master plan cannot be forced on the pedagogues by those with little experience in pedagogy. I wrote about this on my blog over the summer.

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