Connect, Research, Apply: Developing Insights in Higher Education

Over the last several months we have been observing and researching the breadth and depth of the pandemic’s impact across the markets in which we work, in particular on the current and future state of higher education. We are learning how the institutions themselves are faring, as well as the people who work and learn there; from administrators to facility managers, faculty to students.

We have been personally connecting with past higher education clients—listening to them and sharing what we have learned from talking to their peers. We heard that they could benefit from directly interacting with each other in smaller intimate groups to share their challenges and plans. In response, we are planning to host small forums for them to gather and discuss possible scenarios they are exploring and implementing.

We have also been working with our clients on projects; those in planning stages, and those already underway. As we re-envision the design of their campuses and buildings, we are helping them explore and design their future together.

Finally, we are investing in research within and across our practices, bringing experts in healthcare, workplace, and education together to create a whole greater than the sum of our parts. We are also partnering with HGA’s multidisciplinary research collective, the Design Insight Group, to dig deeper and understand how we—as designers of buildings and systems as well as strategies, scenarios, and human experience—might help our partners navigate the short-term and prepare for the long-term.

In summary, watch this space. We will share what we discover moving forward, but as a start we thought we’d share some resources we have found to be consistent, timely, and relatively digestible. We hope they are helpful.

COVID-19 Resources for Colleges and Universities

Southern New Hampshire University CETA interior 1

Information Clearinghouses

APPA is an organization primarily for educational facilities professionals, however their resource guide goes above and beyond. It’s almost a one-stop shop with research, resources, webinars, and industry information.

The American College Health Association (ACHA) shares Considerations for Reopening Institutions of Higher Education in the COVID-19 Era.

Community College Daily shares COVID-19 resources and research for community colleges and their partners.

Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU) created this coronavirus portal to share advocacy efforts, the latest guidance, university communications, impacts on teaching and learning, research efforts, and more.


The American Council of Educators shares a summary of responses to a survey of the concerns and challenges faced by college and university presidents.

College Reaction is a polling and research source gauging student thought on critical issues like politics, tech, social trends, science and health.

Encoura explores COVID-19 impact on student demand, program innovation, and adult learner demand.

This essay from the Journal for the Study of Postsecondary and Tertiary Education (JSPTE) discusses how we might explore the idea of a “third space” in higher education—blending technologies—to better support equity and justice and better prepare education leaders for the future.


The Chronicle shares key coverage of how this worldwide crisis affected college campuses.

A provocative argument suggesting ways that the current crisis might be a chance to write a “…new chapter, a new contract between higher education and society” from Forbes.

Scott Galloway, business professor at NYU Stern, has a blog, No Mercy / No Malice, dedicated to how higher education helps us stretch how we’re thinking, and how we might be able to help our clients imagine their future.

Community College Daily explores how the pandemic has highlighted—and widened—the equity gap between community colleges and their students and the broader higher education community.

This curated list of higher education resources was compiled by Bryan Cannon and Rebecca Celis. Questions or comments? Have a link that you think is particularly insightful that we haven’t included? Contact Rebecca, who’d love to hear what you’re reading.

HGA has created a hub for our insights and reactions to the COVID-19 pandemic as architects, engineers, interior designers, and problem solvers. Follow the conversation here.