Closing a Chapter

In preparation for our chapter, Tim Cole updated me on VBCPS's sustainability strategies.

Last month, while working on our chapter, Tim Cole and I discussed VBCPS’s sustainability strategies.

I’m celebrating a moment of success here before I hit the sack for the night.

I just submitted a full draft of a chapter called “Designing School Buildings to Enhance Performance and Learning” for a book called Marketing the Green School: Form, Function, and the Future that will be part of the Advances in Educational Marketing, Administration, and Leadership (AEMAL) Book Series.  To make that project more fun, I enlisted Virginia Beach City Public School’s Director of Sustainability, J. Timothy Cole, as my supporting author.

This chapter provides a way for me to share some of the research I did for my dissertation and to extend my knowledge — I got to learn from Tim’s successes in Virginia Beach.  Tim has helped create 8 LEED-quality school facilities (5 are certified and 3 are in process to become certified). He even helped pilot LEED v1 in the 1990s.

This is the second chapter I have completed in the two months since I’ve been home.  The other chapter is called “Bringing it all Together Through Group Learning.” It is for a Wiley publication called New Directions for HIgher Education. That project was fun because I got to work with the book’s editor, the illustrious Dr. Pamela Eddy.

Since returning home on August 23, I’ve also managed to compile and submit a dossier to my University, submit a grant proposal asking for funding to help  conduct future research, spend a good amount of time with my students, implement some new teaching techniques, and — this week — get my midterm grades in on time and prep to advise students.

Oh, yes, and tonight I also had a lovely dinner with my dad and step-mom, Joyce, who are in town on business!  It was a real treat to spend a few hours with them.  Joyce is the Director of Admissions for the Vet School at Virginia Tech and she is recruiting at Hampton University in the morning.

All this is  pretty typical in the day of a professor… but I will sleep well tonight, knowing that I’m doing the best job I can possibly be doing right now, despite all the odds I’ve stacked against myself.

It is really nice to step back, take a deep breath, and be thankful for work and health and a ray of happiness every now and then.

And now, to sleep.   There’s much more to do in the morning….

Exploring Material Ethics

A progress review in Patrick’s 4th year studio at the DIT. Patrick, Shannon, and Connor are clearly captivated by this student’s presentation.

I asked the architecture students to tell me what interested them most from the lecture on Materials that I gave today in the studio coordinated by Patrick Flynn.  They said Dave Chance’s images!

I’d been asked to talk about materials in a way that would help students with designing schools.  So I started by downloading pages from Dave’s website.  He travels the world photographing materials in relation to light.

To prepare for this lecture I also attended a review of the class’s proposed designs last Friday.  Patrick invited me as a guest critic, but my primary goal was to find out how I could tailor today’s presentation to their needs and interests.

A slide using Dave Chance’s photograph from the American Cemetery at Omaha Beach in Normandy. (Copyright Dave Chance Photography.)

I decided to present my thoughts using: (1) Dave’s images to provide inspiration and (2) images of schools as a tool for conveying more pragmatic content.

I structured the talk around themes of Material Ethics, Teaching Capacity of materials, the need to Generate Knowledge regarding materials, Authenticity, and Sustainability.  I titled it “How an Architect’s Material Palette Can Enhance Student Learning” with the subheading “Cultivating an Ethics of Materiality.”

Upcoming Lectures

I’ve been asked to deliver two lectures at the DIT School of Architecture next week.

At 11 AM on Monday I will talk about How an Architect’s Material Palette Can Enhance Student Learning.

At 1:30 PM on Friday I’ll present What Can the LEED Green Building Rating System Do For You?

Both lectures will be held in DIT’s Linenhall. Please contact me via engineeringfulbright (at) for information about how to attend.

Photo from Ireland, copyright Dave Chance Photography.