Each subcommittee is pursuing research, articles, trends, and best practice information on the design of all types of learning environments.

Early Childhood Learning Environments Subcommittee

Subcommittee Chair: Mike Wells, AIA

The AIA Early Childhood Learning Environments Subcommittee was formed in 2011 and is focused on all aspects of preschool and early childhood facility design. It is becoming widely understood that very young children are not simply mini-adults, or even mini-schoolchildren.  They are different in many ways, and it follows that educational buildings for very young children are likewise not simply mini-schools.  The Early Childhood Learning Environment Subcommittee seeks to recognize and understand these fundamental differences, and make that information available to the members of the Institute so that buildings for young children can also be informed.  As a client group that is unable to directly verbalize their needs, wants and wishes, it is up to the architect to understand, to interpret, to innovate and to advocate for design that:

  • Inspires the lifelong learner in all children
  • Creates healthy safe and nurturing learning environments
  • Encourages sustainable and toxin free indoor and outdoor environments
  • Respects age-appropriate learning and developmental curricula
  • Supports both the young child and the adult caregiver simultaneously
  • Teaches environmental responsibility and stewardship

“Childhood has its own way of seeing, thinking, and feeling and nothing is more foolish than to try and substitute ours for theirs.” Jean Jacques Rousseau.

K-12 Education Subcommittee

Subcommittee co-Chairs: Brian Minnich, AIA and David Van Galen, AIA

The AIA K-12 Education Subcommittee was formed in 2009 and is focused on all aspects of primary, intermediate and secondary school design.  Our subcommittee has more than 100 members.

The subcommittee is charged with:

  • Identifying, performing, documenting, and disseminating research
  • Communicating with AIA CAE members
  • Coordinating with AIA CAE Conference chairs
  • Generating content for distribution to the CAE as a whole through an Article of the Month

Subcommittee members participate in monthly or bi-monthly conference calls to develop, discuss, and coordinate subcommittee activities. Recent activities include investigations into the following:

  1. How are teachers taught to use technology in the classroom?
  2. How the President's Wireless Network initiative (WIN) might influence school planning.
  3. Update on the No Textbook School.
  4. How has the current state of the economy changed the planning priorities of school districts?

Higher Education Subcommittee

Subcommittee co-Chairs: Michael Nieminen, FAIA and Mark Dolny, AIA
Visit the Higher Education Subcommittee LinkedIn Group.

The subcommittee is pursuing research, articles, trends, and best practice information related to the following areas:

  • HIGHER EDUCATION EVALUATION (benchmarking, evaluation, innovative learning environments and higher education as “think tanks”)
  • MASTER PLANNING (including agenda planning, sustainable growth planning, campus community, blurring of living/learning, community partnerships, and sense of place)
  • PROCESS, DESIGN, AND SUSTAINABILITY (LEED, net zero and carbon neutral, integrated design)

Corporate Learning and Alternate Learning Environments Subcommittee

Subcommittee co-Chairs: Linda Keane, AIA and John Clark, AIA

The Corporate Learning Subcommittee has recently merged with the Alternative Learning Environments Subcommittee.

The CAE Alternate Learning Environments Subcommittee was formed in 2009 as the Subcommittee for Libraries, Museums, Interpretation Centers, Corporate and Convention Facilities, and is focused primarily on two areas of investigation: 
The changing paradigms of alternate learning environments as places of learning, research and teaching; Sustainable aspects on the design of alternate learning environments. The Subcommittee is charged with: Developing knowledge; Identifying, performing, documenting, and disseminating research; Communicating with the AIA CAE members; Coordinating with AIA CAE Conference chairs.

The Subcommittee members participate in monthly or bi-monthly conference calls to develop, discuss, and coordinate subcommittee activities. We communicate on a periodic basis through an established Google Group:

The CAE Corporate Learning Subcommittee notes that corporate learning and convention centers seem to be particularly relevant educational building types in lieu of today’s constantly evolving economic climate. Pertinent topics discussed by the committee include: Research and building a database and/or case studies of best examples of relevant facilities. Research and development of best practices for building space types particularly to accommodate flexibility for diverse learning and training requirements. Are there unique elements of these learning spaces? The role of community colleges in corporate training, conferences, and executive learning.

Research Task Force

co-Chairs: Dina Sorensen and Caroline Lobo, PhD, AIA

Individuals interested in volunteering can express interest by sending an email to