Jeanne L. Narum

Jeanne L. Narum has more than 25 years in the world of planning spaces for learning in the undergraduate setting. Narum’s journey into this world began in 1989 with Project Kaleidoscope (PKAL), an initiative funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF [USA]) to transform the environment for STEM learners. As founding director of PKAL and in collaboration with a national network of STEM leaders, she developed and orchestrated an integrated series of meetings and publications exploring what works, why and how it works in achieving sustainable institutional transformation. With ‘kaleidoscope’ as the organizing metaphor, the importance of the physical environment for learning was recognized early. Formal attention to planning spaces under the PKAL umbrella began in 1992.

Narum sees herself as intelligence-gatherer/broker, connecting academics and architects across the country with a shared commitment to build on current research and practice to shape robust 21st century learning environments for 21st century students--no matter their background, discipline, career aspiration. She credits her fine arts, liberal arts background as a good foundation for a serendipitous career change from being a church organist (B.M. St. Olaf College) and academic grants writer to becoming a self-proclaimed provocateur urging attention to why spaces matter to learning.

Upon retiring from PKAL in 2010, she established the Learning Spaces Collaboratory (LSC), an informal alliance of individuals and organizations with a shared vision of how spaces matter to learning, how spaces for learning reflect institutional vision and goals. The current LSC initiative is a series of LSC Roundtables and LSC Forums reflecting research in social creativity, the value of collective engagement by individuals with diverse perspectives and experiences to imagine a new set of questions to drive planning of learning spaces into the future. In addition to consulting, what keeps her up at night is making the case that spaces matter to the LSC community of academics and design professionals and beyond.
In 2010 she received the Founder’s Award from the Society of College and University Planners (SCUP) for her attention to integrated planning. She is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and has received awards and citations from Faculty in Undergraduate Neuroscience (FUN), the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC), and the American Psychological Association (APA). Narum holds honorary degrees from Edgewood College, the George Washington University, Hope College, James Madison University, Ripon College, St. Lawrence University, the University of Portland and the University of Redlands. She is a Distinguished Alumna of St. Olaf College.