School Facilities Syllabus winter 2008


Continuing Administrative Licensure Program

University of Oregon
College of Education

Fred Tepfer
University Planning Office voice: 541.346.5562 fax: 346.5174
routine e-mail: f r e d t e p @ g m a i l . c o m
urgent e-mail: f t e p f e r @ u o r e g o n . e d u
information will be posted via:


  EDLD 676
CRN 26101
CRN 21806

2 credits, grade optional

[none at this time]

Times and Locations

January 25, 2007, 4 p.m. to 8 p.m, TBA
January 26, 2007, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., TBA [note that we sometimes arrange to start a little later]
February 22, 2007, 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., TBA
February 23, 2007, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., TBA


This course is about the interaction of facilities and learning in K-12 education, covering basic facilities issues at the building level as well as district-wide issues related to facilities development and planning. You will learn fundamental facilities management concepts and processes to ensure your competency with buildings and grounds, to ensure that you know where to find more information, and to obtain a basic understanding of how to plan major construction projects.

Standard to be met

Provide the concepts and tools for administrators to effectively and independently manage building facilities and services

Indicators: At the end of this class, each student must:

  1. Understand how facilities management and planning relates to organizational mission and goals.
  2. Understand how to develop efficiencies and improvement opportunities, and understand the steps needed to effect change.
  3. Be able to work with your community to ensure that your schools reflect community needs, and to build broad community support for your facilities development projects.
  4. Understand (and have experience in) developing and executing a framework for change in one of these improvement areas.
  5. Be able to quickly and easily find more information about a specific facilities issue.


Facilities planning and management is too broad a subject to meaningfully cover them in the few hours of our class sessions, so we will also include independent self-directed learning in areas of interest to you individually as well as some mandatory fundamentals.

In our class sessions, we will begin with general strategies and approaches, apply them in case-study situations, team exercises, and discussions, and then give each of you the opportunity to try these approaches on your own. These issues may include management techniques, strategic planning approaches, building assessment, energy issues, technology in schools, community development, educational specifications, contracts, and many others.

Course Requirements

A. Pre-course: Send me a brief introduction before the following before the first class session via e-mail. If that is not possible due to late registration send it as soon as possible.

  1. Write a very short introduction of yourself (one paragraph), including, briefly, what you would like to learn in this class.
  2. If you want, identify at least two facilities problems or issues that that interest you, as mundane as wax buildup on the floors or as esoteric as how to start a community visioning process for schools. This information will help me finalize the course content. Please feel free to bring to the class any information about these or other issues or examples that interest you.
  3. Complete the required pre-course self-directed readings described below in self-directed learning, including writing at least two response paragraphs. You can keep going with the additional readings before the class if you want, or save that for later.

B. During and post course:

  1. Attend all class sessions. Exceptions are possible, but will entail extra work for you and for us, and must be arranged in advance.
  2. Actively participate in class discussions, case studies, and exercises. If you are extremely shy, talk to me in advance about alternative ways to participate.
  3. For the rest of the self-directed work, choose Option 1, Option II, or Option III, more fully described below.
       I. Write a short (1500 word maximum) project (date due TBA), as described below, plus two additional articles, each with response papers.
       II. Read nine additional articles of your choosing, writing response paragraphs on at least six of these (for a total of 13 articles and eight response paragraphs), or
       III. Identify five web resources related to school facilities that would be useful to future students, and provide a 200 word analysis of each site, describing their hands-on value to school professionals, , plus two additional articles, each with response papers.
  4. Send me a written summary of how you completed the required work (list of articles read, articles responded to, project, web resources, etc.).


  1. Everyone sends in pre-course introductory materials (even if it's late).
  2. Everyone reads the required 4 pre-course readings and sends in 4 responses.
  3. Everyone chooses Option I, Option II, or Option III for the rest of their work.
  4. Everyone sends me a summary of how they have met these requirements.
    Electronic submission of materials is fine, hard copy is NOT required. I generally do not confirm receipt of materials, but can if requested.

      ALL MATERIALS ARE DUE NO LATER THAN [to be determined in class]

Self-directed learning: web and text

Because it is impossible to cover in class the breadth of issues that you will confront in your work, you are required to read three introductory web-based articles and write two response paragraphs, for the Schneider article and at least one other of the introductory articles, before the first class session. These readings form the core of a structured electronic library whose table of contents can be found at with both internal and external links. In addition, please read the fourth article listed below, and be prepared to critically discuss it.

The required pre-course introduction readings are, in addition to the Introduction at the top of the Readings page:

  1. Building Operation and Management: An Introduction
  2. Building Systems: An Introduction
  3. School Planning and Design: An Introduction
  4. Schneider, Mark: Do School Facilities Affect Academic Outcomes? at

Everyone is required to write a response paragraph for at least two of these, one of which must be Schneider's "Do School Facilities Affect Academic Outcomes?"

Option I, in addition to pre-course materials, above in A.

Option II, in addition to pre-course materials, above in A.

Option III, in addition to pre-course materials, above in A.

Short responses

Each response paragraph or paragraphs is about twenty to thirty lines of text. In each, please briefly discuss the relevance of this article to your current situation or background. Please list at least one question related to or provoked by the material. If you want a response from me to a specific question, please tell me explicitly.

Articles that are hosted on my site (generally written by me) have an optional input form for responding electronically, either by typing it in or by copying and pasting from a word processing program. It's there for your convenience. Regular e-mail or paper are just as acceptable. Articles linked from my site (such as the Schneider article) don't have this feature. You may also encounter some links which no longer work correctly, simply because the world changes faster than I can keep up with.

In addition to the material in the reading, I can make available a number of paper articles and other materials on these and other subjects by request. The web site reading also includes an extensive annotated bibliography for your use now in the future.

Please note that I'll continue to add more materials and links during the course. This site will also remais available as reference in the future, so feel free to encourage anyone to use it.

If access to the electronic library presents problems, please let me know. I can put the materials on CD or on paper by request.

Optional Reading

Optional but very useful and enjoyable reading: How Buildings Learn, by Stewart Brand, chapters 1 through Chapter 5 (pp. 1 through 71). The rest of the book is excellent, so keep reading if you want, but this selection makes the important points. This book is in many libraries and commonly available in paperback at Amazon, UO Bookstore, etc. I recommend it highly for anyone involved in facilities planning , building design, and so forth. Although written for a general audience (so it's not as pedantic as what you'd expect from, say, Jossey-Bass), it presents fundamental insights about the design, the longevity, and the lives of our buildings.

Option I: Project

In the short project option described above under course requirements, you will have the opportunity to put into practice the skills and knowledge that you are acquiring. The assignment is to take a facilities problem or issue, preferably but not necessarily a real problem in a real educational environment and describe the steps you would take to find creative solutions. How would you start? Who would you involve? What would be the process you would use to describe the problem and identify the preferred solution?

It is NOT necessary to solve the problem, or even to offer solutions, although you are welcome do so so.

Show and tell

It is helpful if students bring photos, floor plans, maps, or other information that describes their specific situation and the challenges that it presents. Feel free to do so, although it's definitely not required, and there's no guarantee that we'll have time to see everyone's pictures.

Writing and submission standards

I expect professional work from education professionals. This means correct spelling and grammar, clear diagrams and photographs, and clear presentation. This doesn't mean that high-tech is preferred, but I appreciate clear, effective presentations.

If you are submitting via e-mail attachments, include your last name and "Facilities06" in the file name. Make sure your name, e-mail address, and "School Facilities 2006" is at the top of the first page.

Help and "office hours"

If you need accommodation for a special needs or problems, or if you want to discuss an idea for a project, please feel free to either talk to me by phone, by e-mail, by letter, or in person. Formal office hours really don't work for me, but I 'm happy to meet with you at your convenience. If you have a disability which requires special help, feel free to discuss it with me or with the Counselor for Students with Disabilities (Steve Pickett, 346-1155).

Course outline

I hope to be posting a course outline here that I will update as needed. Because the course is flexible depending on opportunities for visitors and on the needs of the students, the outline may change over time.