I just received my quarterly letter from Joan Hinde Stewart, president of Hamilton College, where I did my undergraduate (graduating in 1972) and then served as the director of the Career Center for 14 years. Hamilton presidents have a long tradition of somewhat long, though generally extraordinarily well-written, letters to alumni about the state of the College.

This most recent letter focused on “…on the investment we are making in the buildings that support our core mission: classrooms, laboratories, studios and academic support areas.” One of the facilities described in her letter was the new science building, built at a cost of $56M to serve the needs of a student body of just over 1600.

In the midst of the letter was the statement that “In the case of the sciences, faculty members explored questions related to their teaching methodologies and educational philosophies for years before the College sought an architectural firm for the project.” I couldn’t help but wonder if the results of those years of work by faculty who I knew to be extremely committed to high-quality authentic student learning had been captured anywhere where others could benefit. When I did the google search on science hamilton college planning, the first couple of hits were the kind of PR hype (sorry Mike).

The third hit linked to this resource housed at Project Kaleidoscope, a network of faculty and others interested in creating “a learning environment that brings all undergraduates to an understanding of the influence of science and technology in their world.” Doug Weldon, a fine teacher of psychology, pulled together a group of documents that provided the conceptual basis for the building. It’s a valuable resource those wanting to understand more about how to intentionally tie pedagogy to building projects.

Way to go Hamilton…