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Biddison Hier, Ltd.
Consultants to Higher Education
1515 Fifteenth Street, NW Suite 613
Washington, DC 20005
Phone: (202) 882.8700
FAX: (202) 726.2251
email: hier@biddhier.com

Student Housing      Campus Amenities & Campus Life      Classrooms

Our Services

Student Housing

 

Housing is a critical support function for most colleges and universities, with significant implications for recruiting and retaining students, faculty and staff. For students, the concerns are about comfort, convenience, community and computing. For faculty and staff, key concerns are affordability and the ability to live reasonably close to campus in intellectually vibrant, culturally stimulating communities. Biddison Hier, Ltd. offers a range of services that assist institutions in addressing their housing needs, including:

  • Market Research: definition of student, faculty and staff housing needs, and quantification of demand, price points, and preferences

  • Benchmarking: competitive analysis vis-a-vis peer institutions and best practices in the industry to assist the institution in playing to its strengths to enhance recruitment and retention

  • Comprehensive Housing Planning: development of long-term housing master plans that provide a roadmap, phasing and funding strategies to modernize and upgrade housing, create / reconfigure program space, and add housing and campus amenities to enhance the quality of residential life

  • Housing Affordability Programs: identification of need for and preferred types of housing assistance; identification and evaluation of assistance programs; financial modeling to quantify impact on institutional resources and costs / benefits to the recipient

  • Financial / Economic Modeling: economic modeling to project financial implications and identify funding requirements to support housing development (renovation and / or new construction) and assistance programs

  • Privatization: identification of privatization options, costs and benefits to the university, and evaluation of privatization opportunities (RFP / RFQ development, evaluation of developer proposals, deal analysis).

 

Over the past decade, Biddison Hier, Ltd., has assisted institutions in developing comprehensive master plans for student housing; planning new multi-market housing to serve students, faculty and staff; providing counsel on the development of faculty / staff housing assistance programs; and structuring partnerships with private sector players to leverage university resources in creating housing opportunities. Our work has yielded specific, implementable solutions such as:

  • Revamping of student housing to create a better match between unit types, student demographics and program goals for learning communities

  • Addition of new campus amenities (e.g., technology centers, coffee bars, "Main Street" retail) to revitalize campuses as centers of intellectual life

  • Capital improvements to modernize student housing, correct ADA and life safety problems and renovate / reconfigure existing spaces to be more competitive for today's and tomorrow's students

  • Identification of faculty / staff preferences for housing assistance (bricks and mortar vs. financial); financial assistance programs to address for-sale and rental housing preferences; and quantification of institutional costs, immediate and long-term to sustain assistance programs​

 

Campus Amenities & Campus Life

 

Residential and campus life is perhaps the most important, though least tangible, aspect of a student’s college experience. A strong, successful approach to residential life can mean the difference between an isolating college experience and one that allows students to form meaningful relationships across disciplines and to feel like part of a larger community. 

Biddison Hier, Ltd. has worked with colleges and universities to create supportive residential environments that facilitate student interaction, encourage impromptu conversations, expose students to a school’s diversity of thought while allowing them to focus on their specific area of study, and make them feel as if they are part of a broader campus community. The firm addresses all aspects of the residential experience, including:

  • The uniqueness of the first year as a crucial transition period

  • The availability and nature of on-campus housing

  • Alignment of housing and residential program spaces along the developmental continuum from freshman to senior year and beyond

  • The importance of diversity in residential life

  • Dining and campus community / congregation spaces

  • The role of faculty as informal mentors within residential colleges.

 

After gathering information from surveys, interviews, focus groups, site visits, and reviews of peer institutions, Biddison Hier, Ltd. works with an institution to develop a residential and campus life master plan that is consistent with its cultural norms and goals for community-building. In addition to articulating concrete goals and guiding principles, the plan addresses the organizational structure of the program, the state of the campus’s physical spaces, and recommendations for technology infrastructure. Our work has yielded specific, implementable solutions such as:

  • Developing a strong community during the first year that eases students’ transition to college life and allows them to naturally form lasting bonds

  • Establishing a single, unified system of campus residential communities

  • Retaining links with off-campus communities

  • Recommendations for creating specific community spaces throughout the campus to encourage the casual exchange of ideas across disciplines

 

Classrooms

 

Classroom instruction is a critical part of a student's educational experience, and classrooms comprise a significant portion of college and university real estate. Yet on many campuses classrooms are often among the most neglected and problematic spaces on several fronts:

  • Physical: Need to refurbish and modernize antiquated classrooms

  • Pedagogy: Inadequate mix of classroom types to support existing and emerging pedagogies

  • Scheduling: Perceived large supply of rooms but space unavailable when and where needed

  • Management: Decentralized control and authority for classroom scheduling, planning and operations

  • Technology: Ad hoc approaches to determining need for and mix of instructional media

  • Funding: Lack of adequate funding for even basic classroom maintenance and upgrades (furnishings, technologies, etc.)

 

Biddison Hier, Ltd., over the past decade, has assisted institutions in developing comprehensive master plans for reinvesting in, scheduling and managing classrooms more effectively. Our work yields specific, implementable solutions such as:

  • Recommendations for achieving the right mix of classroom sizes and types through "rightsizing" classrooms to modern square footage and furnishing standards and / or planning new instructional spaces

  • Quantitative, objective data that highlights current utilization patterns and provides the foundation for significant policy changes in ownership / management / use of instructional spaces

  • Identification of software, policies and procedures that facilitate better scheduling of classrooms

  • Organizational changes that lead to improved management of classroom resources