The proposed College Academic Commons: Five Q&A

In his State of the University speech on Nov. 7, Wake Forest President Nathan Hatch shared plans for a new academic building on campus: “The College Academic Commons will be filled with learning spaces that are interactive and flexible – ready to accommodate the dynamic delivery of education in the 21st century. This proposed space will set a new standard for highly effective teaching and learning.”

What are Wake Forest’s plans for a new academic building?

Wake Forest is in the midst of planning for a new College Academic Commons to provide needed academic space for the College — including classrooms, faculty offices and common areas. The focus is on creating a building that will strengthen the experience of first and second-year students and underscore the importance of the humanities and the liberal arts.

What is the timeline?

Planning is in the early conceptual phases, but the goal is to begin construction during the 2020-2021 academic year. Fundraising is currently underway. As plans develop and milestones are reached, there will be updates on the project.

Where would the building be located?

The proposed placement for the facility is on the upper part of Davis Field across from the ZSR Library. This location is consistent with the original Larson master plan for the Reynolda Campus and is in close proximity to many of the other college academic buildings.

How will the new space be used?

Plans for the College Academic Commons include classrooms, offices and common areas. The focus is on providing flexible and interactive learning spaces designed to facilitate thoughtful conversation and study. The space will also nurture the University’s deep commitment to relational teaching and learning. The building is envisioned as a new home for many of Wake Forest’s humanities departments and programs, including the Leadership and Character program. It will likely also house academic advising and scholarship programs. 

Who has been involved in the planning?

A planning group made up of faculty, students and staff is exploring various aspects of logistics and planning. Working groups are looking at instructional spaces and office spaces, as well as areas for faculty-student engagement, academic advising and scholarship programs.