In an environment of rising costs in higher education, the campus master plan coincides with the demand for accountability, tighter funding constraints, cost control and financial management. Further, research shows the quality of the campus and learning environments is a direct contributor to successful recruitment, the student experience, and ultimately academic success.

Campus master planning is a methodical process that includes analysis, benchmarking, visioning and aligning the institution’s stakeholders. It is a robust process that should be multi-faceted, interactive, collaboration and build consensus. Results include a components plan, costs, priorities and phasing.

The physical campus environment can help to evoke trust, attachment, inquiry, and other human interactions, as well as focus on safety and security, walkability, creating community, engagement and sustainability. Research shows campus appearance is the most influential characteristic in recruiting students and includes the importance of:

  • Open space and a sense of place
  • Being pedestrian friendly with good way finding
  • Indoor and outdoor spaces providing opportunities for interaction
  • Integration into the wider community
  • Places for active learning and quiet reflection
  • Expressing the institution’s unique culture and identity

To ensure these tenants are woven into the strategic plan of an organization, campus master planning can serve as an invaluable tool. It establishes goals and objectives for facilities and infrastructure, and is an important component for budget planning and resource allocation. These plans address the campus as a whole including site, infrastructure, buildings, planning for academic programs, as well as define access such as pedestrian and vehicular circulation, connections, relationships and interface with the community.