Planning Plus Launches – Multi-Disciplinary Team Working to Help Higher Education Administrators in Designing Innovative Solutions

Colleges and universities saw long-standing existential pressures and challenges magnified and exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic. In order to assist college administrators in navigating this new landscape, a consortium of leading senior level college administrators, architects and planners and real estate professionals have launched Planning Plus, a multi-disciplinary team designed to examine the web of challenges and help develop innovative solutions.

Based out of Philadelphia and New York, the consortium includes two former college presidents from Presidential Partners; architects and planners from L.R. Kimball and real estate professionals from Colliers International.

Planning Plus’ team focuses on crafting strategic, academic and facilities plans in order to strengthen the institution’s assets, and make better use of facilities, curriculum and real estate to increase student learning and net revenue. Among the focal points:

  • Review institutional dynamics
  • Identify primary institutional assets, advantages and challenges
  • Review, align and prioritize academic plan and strategic vision, connecting them to physical assets
  • Review curriculum alignment
  • Assist in the design of student experiential learning and research, as well as civic learning and engagement
  • Review current space and land utilization and campus master plan, indentifying substandard, unused or underutilized campus facilities
  • Identify appropriate business, organizational and community entities, as well as other academic institutions, for partnering, outsourcing, consolidation or collaboration
  • Develop viable solutions through dialogue with leadership and stakeholders

“As we have watched numerous colleges face permanent closure and other higher educational institutions struggling to adapt to a new environment, Planning Plus believes our holistic approach can uncover new ways of thinking, new paradigms and innovative solutions,” said Richard Guarasci, former Wagner College President.

“Institutions need to consider all of their needs as part of the whole challenge, rather than segment it into different departments. Schools need to consider such factors as new facilities, new curricula and a way to handle the challenges and opportunities arising from increased use of online learning as all part of the same plan. Our goal is to help administrators in crafting a path forward,” said Barry Eiswerth.

“Administrators need to conceive of and develop what may be previously unconsidered, innovative solutions in order to support the long-term health, prosperity and societal benefits that we believe higher education offers. By providing a true multi-disciplinary team, our goal is to tailor solutions to the specific needs, situational dynamics, and resources available with each institution,” said Joe Fetterman.

The team includes:

Richard Guarasci:

Dr. Richard Guarasci is a national leader in higher education and civic engagement. He served Wagner College as its longest tenured president. He chaired The Association of American Colleges and Universities, Campus Compact, The Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities, and served on the Anchor Institution Task Force as well as the Boards of Project Pericles and Bringing Theory to Practice. He is the author of a number of books and articles, the latest “Anchoring Democracy: The Civic Imperative from Higher Education” in Liberal Education: Spring 2018 and a forthcoming book, “Neighborhood Democracy: Building Anchor Partnerships Between Colleges And Their Communities” (forthcoming , November 15, 2021, Stylus Publishers).

Stephen Greenwald:

Stephen Greenwald is an educator, lawyer, media executive and consultant. He served as President of Metropolitan College of New York from 1999 to 2007 and as Chief Executive Officer of three media companies; taught law at Temple University Law School, Fordham Law School and in Israel; and developed graduate media programs at Wagner College. Stephen’s diverse experience in both academia and business encompasses all aspects of institutional management including financing, program innovation and leadership.

Barry Eiswerth:

Barry Eiswerth’s life-long passion for designing educational spaces is reflected in how he works. His collaborative style encourages open communication among team members, leading to memorable solutions that elevate education environments for a range of public and private institutions. Throughout Barry’s career, his project experience has included master planning, historic renovation, interior design, and architectural design. He also serves as a Board Member of the Marymount International School in Paris, a unique distinction for an American architect. He was elected as an Associate of the National Academy of Design in 1987 and was appointed an Academician of the Academy in 1996. Barry’s work was exhibited at the Academy in the show “Parabolas to Post-Modern” in the Fall of 2011.

Joanne Pizzo:

With over 30 years of experience in architectural design, Joanne specializes in educational facilities. She has designed and managed projects for over 35 educational facilities, including multiple projects for 15 university and college clients. Projects have ranged from master planning to full renovations to new construction. Additionally, Joanne has worked with several corporate clients, and has the unique ability to intermesh the two worlds when appropriate. Joanne is also an educator and mentor for architecture students and is currently an adjunct professor at Drexel University, sits on architectural juries whenever possible, and has previously mentored with the AIA Philadelphia Chapter, ACE Southeastern PA, and the PennDesign:Zell/Laurie Real Estate Center at The Wharton School.

Bruce Schmitt:

Bruce has more than 30 years of experience in the architectural field, directing the planning and design efforts for more than 10,000,000 SF spanning more than 100 projects on five continents and over 20 countries. His diverse portfolio includes work with an emphasis on Higher Education, International Schools, performance spaces, public libraries, and multi-family housing. Bruce also has experience with comprehensive master planning design. He is adept at motivating and leading clients and teams in the achievement of design excellence with a strong personal commitment to sustainable design and the creation of buildings and sites with a strong sense of place.

Joe Fetterman:

Joe Fetterman currently focuses on providing strategic solutions to local, national and global Health Care, Life Sciences and Higher Education clients. Joe’s background in architecture, real estate development and financial analysis provides clients with an experienced professional and strategic leader who integrates complex factors to create successful results for clients. Joe has worked with institutions including the University of Pennsylvania, University of Delaware, Penn State University, Delaware State University, Philadelphia University, Camden Community College and Montclair University. Joe has an MBA from The Wharton School and a Bachelor’s Degree in Architecture from Drexel University.

About Planning Plus 

Planning Plus provides a suite of services for higher education administrators, including campus facilities analysis, expertise in college operations, administrative functions, finance, personnel, academic programs, brand identity & market presence, and an assessment of campus real estate and how it might be better utilized to generate revenue.

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