A Shockingly Interesting Session on Ethics: Shaping Future-Ready Schools

Room: D139-140

Audience: Architects

Call to Action: 

  1. Implement an Interactive Ethics Assessment in Your Projects: Integrating an Ethics Gallery-style approach into your initial project meetings. This involves creating an opportunity for stakeholders to openly discuss and respond to key ethical questions related to inclusivity, sustainability, and equity in school design. This step ensures that from the onset, your projects will be aligned with the ethical values and diverse needs of the school community.
  2. Adopt a Socratic Approach for Community Engagement: Introduce a Socratic approach to community engagement. In your next project, facilitate a Socratic seminar with school staff, students, and community members. This approach encourages deeper thinking and engagement, moving beyond what communities think they want to uncover what they truly need for future-ready learning environments. This step helps reveal innovative ideas and perspectives that might otherwise remain untapped.
  3. Utilize Spatial Audit Tools: Commit to conducting a spatial audit in your next school design project. Utilize the tools and techniques discussed in the session to evaluate how existing or planned spaces align with contemporary educational needs and ethical considerations. This involves assessing spaces for flexibility, technology integration, and student well-being.

Post-session, apply these insights to create more responsive, inclusive, and future-proof educational environments. These actions are designed to take the insights from the session and apply them directly to participants’ work, ensuring that the ideas explored are not just theoretical but become a tangible part of our collective community’s approach to designing educational spaces.

Abstract: Join Fielding International for a stimulating 90-minute session, delving into the vital role of architects, planners, and educational professionals in creating agile, sustainable, and transformative learning environments fit for the 21st century. We will challenge the traditional method of simply asking communities what they want, and instead, demonstrate how to expose them to the vast possibilities of what school can be. It's not just about adhering to standard ethics, but about being bold enough to question and reshape inequitable and outdated educational practices. In order to reimagine the ethical landscape of educational architecture, participants will engage in an Interactive Ethics Gallery Experience, that explores crucial topics including inclusivity, sustainability, well-being, and equity followed by a lively discussion inspired by thought-provoking quotes, and a Socratic seminar that analyzes the complexities of engaging school communities to push the boundaries of traditional educational design. This session is an invitation to be part of a transformative movement, championing the success of education through architectural excellence and ethical foresight. Join us in shaping schools that are not only future-ready but ethically aligned with the evolving needs of learners and communities.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Understand and Apply Ethical Considerations in School Design for Enhanced Well-Being (Project Planning and Design): Learn to integrate ethical considerations into the planning and design of educational facilities, focusing on creating environments that support the physical, emotional, and social well-being of students and staff.
  2. Evaluate and Address Equity and Accessibility in Educational Spaces (Programming and Analysis): The session will equip participants with the skills to assess and enhance equity and accessibility in school designs, ensuring that educational facilities provide equitable learning opportunities and experiences for all students.
  3. Explore Innovative Design Approaches to Enhance Student Engagement and Learning Outcomes (Project Planning and Design): Learn to incorporate innovative architectural design strategies that prioritize student engagement and learning outcomes. This includes understanding how spatial design can influence student interactions, learning behaviors, and overall academic experience, ensuring that school environments are not only functional but also pedagogically effective.
  4. Foster a Collaborative and Engaging Learning Environment to Inspire Actionable Outcomes: This session aims to create an immersive and enjoyable learning experience that encourages active participation and collaboration among attendees. Participants will leave with practical, actionable strategies and a renewed inspiration to implement innovative and ethical design principles in their educational architecture projects. This objective emphasizes the importance of a stimulating session atmosphere in facilitating the exchange of ideas and the translation of theoretical concepts into real-world applications.
Randy Fielding, AIA
Randy Fielding, AIA
Founding Principal, Fielding International

Randy is the founding partner at Fielding International, an interdisciplinary architecture and education firm that designs schools where learners thrive. He is the co-author of the Language of School Design, the recipient of 15 design awards, including A4LE’s MacConnell Award, and the Creative Director for SchoolPatterns.com, a library of Design Patterns for Creative Learning Environments. Randy has authored more than 50 publications.

Nathan Strenge
Nathan Strenge
Senior Learning Designer, Fielding International

Nathan, an award-winning teacher with over a decade of teaching experience, notably founded Exploration High School in Minneapolis, guided by the motto “A Public School for Public Good.” At Fielding International as a Senior Learning Designer, he specializes in aligning learning environments with educational visions & programming, along with high-quality project-based learning. His innovative work extends to his recent role on the Advisory Council at What School Could Be, advocating for transformative, learner-centered education.

Cierra Mantz, AIA
Cierra Mantz, AIA
Senior Designer, Fielding International

With dual Masters degrees in Architecture and Educational Leadership & Societal Change, Cierra brings a unique and holistic perspective to her role as a Senior Designer at Fielding International. As a designer committed to fostering community and empowering students, Cierra aspires to create learning environments that support the varying needs of all stakeholders. Her diverse skill sets and empathic approach allow her to translate high-level concepts into dynamic architectural spaces, with pedagogy in mind.

Core Competency

Design of Educational Facilities
Acts as a resource to the design team in providing ongoing guidance and support to ensure that the emerging and ultimate design aligns with the established community vision, education goals, future programming, written design standards, best/next practices and education policy.

LearningSCAPES 2024 Conference in Portland, Oregon


Oregon Convention Center
777 NE Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd, Portland, OR 97232


October 16-19, 2024


Email: donna@a4le.org
+1 480.391.0840