Faculty Research Commons

Planning Process

January – March 2019

The University of Miami has engaged brightspot strategy to facilitate the creation of a future vision, service strategy, and space plan for a Faculty Research Commons to be located on the third floor of Richter Library.

Project Objectives

The objective for this project is to create a service and space strategy for the Research Commons that

  • Strategically engages with faculty to better understand their research needs
  • Establishes a plan to support faculty in their research and to facilitate interdisciplinary research communities, including the U-Link program
  • Designs an inviting hub within the library for faculty connection and collaboration
  • Determines which programs and services the Research Commons will offer and confirms how they will be delivered
  • Determines the Common’s space program and its blocking and stacking so that University of Miami (UM) can develop a renovation budget and begin its design phase next year

Project Assumptions

  • UML has conducted user research on the faculty’s research needs. Results from an Ithaka SK+R faculty survey will be available in December. The research phase of this project should utilize and build upon UML’s work to date.
  • UML currently provides space and services on the third floor of Richter Library that support faculty. These spaces include liaison librarian offices, digital scholarship offices, and Faculty Exploratory, all of which should be considered part of the Research Commons.
  • The Faculty Reading Room on Richter’s second floor will also be repurposed and integrated into the Research Commons.
  • The Center for the Humanities, currently on Richter’s first floor, will most likely be relocated into the Research Commons as a key partner. Additional potential partners may be identified through this engagement.
  • The Faculty Research Commons will serve as the inaugural home for U-LINK, UM’s interdisciplinary grant program for tackling societal problems. UML has already provided spaces and services to support this initiative and will incorporate this work into the new Research Commons.
  • While definitively located on the third floor of Richter, the Faculty Research Commons’ exact size and placement will be determined by this strategic process.

Project Approach and Scope

The planning process will occur over a period of eleven weeks from January – March 2019. The process will be participatory in nature and decided to facilitate change management by building consensus throughout the project. The process will include a Working Committee, Project Team, and a Faculty Advisory Committee.


  1. Groundwork and Project Management
  2. User Research and Visioning
    • Review of findings of completed Ithaka SK+R survey
    • Faculty Advisory Committee workshop
    • Interviews with faculty, leadership, and partners
    • Review of current trends
  3. Service Strategy
  4. Space Strategy
  5. Reporting: Final Report with Executive Summary

This process will build on brightspot’s knowledge of the University and Richter Library resulting from previous work for UML on the integrated planning of spaces and services at the Learning Commons. The team brings to this project their extensive experience in partnering with academic libraries to rethink their research programs and spaces, including projects at University of Pittsburgh and Georgia Institute of Technology.

brightspot strategy: Elliot Felix (founder), Adam Griff (director), Coby Lerner (senior strategist), and Maggie Williams (strategist)


Kelly Miller
Associate Dean for Learning and Research Services