University Commons Interior Design

Performance Learning reinvigorates a campus and transforms the student experience.  


Serving as the new front door to Millikin University, the Commons is the largest building project in the history of the University, and is designed with the explicit intent of creating a unified home for Performance Learning on campus. The renovation and expansion took the 1970s-era Staley library and created the new “front door” to campus. Organizations formerly located in different facilities throughout campus are consolidated in the Commons, including:

  • Oberhelman Center for Leadership Performance
  • Center for International Education
  • Office of Inclusion and Student Engagement
  • University Library
  • Campus Dining
  • Radio Station and Newspaper
  • Maker Spaces
  • Math & Writing Centers
  • Media Arts Center
  • Dean’s Office

Millikin University offers a distinctive educational model they have dubbed Performance Learning. Students in every discipline must perform their knowledge before their peers, professors and the business community, allowing students to be prepared for the professional world upon graduation. Small teams of students across many disciplines, called Agile Teams, work together to solve a problem, present publicly to their peers, create a public online presence, and create both for-profit and not-for-profit small businesses. These Agile Teams have completed a diverse range of projects from homelessness awareness, to art therapy programs, to the student-run radio station, investment groups and music production groups.

Agile Teams come together in the Center for International Education, or the Center for Leadership Performance to develop and refine projects with their faculty mentors. They are supported by a variety of spaces, all with flexible furniture (tables, chairs and couches) as well as integrated technology and white boards. These spaces include:

  • New Technologies Studio where teams explore virtual/augmented reality or 3D printing.
  • Media Arts Center supporting web design and marketing, digital photography, graphic design, and animation.
  • Leadership Board Room for formal meetings, interviews and presentations.
  • Multiple collaboration studios, including the “Think Tank”, that support small-group planning and collaboration.
  • Writing and Math Centers for peer-led support.

Says Millikin President Dr. Patrick White, “An innovative new structure built in and through the Staley Library, has become a vital center for Millikin life. “The 87,000 sf ‘front door’ opens more opportunities for interaction and our hallmark Performance Learning.”