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End-of-Year Note from the Chair

Mural panels from our autumn “On the Wall: Painting a Public Picture” drawing workshop led by Tori Shao (BLA ’17).
 

Dear Friends and Alumni,

I hope this letter finds you and those close to you doing well as we enter the holiday season here in the U.S. This has been a year of change in the department as we have bid farewell to several faculty and welcomed new… yet there is a buzz of excitement again among our students, faculty, and others in the classrooms and studios as we continue to become familiar with in-person teaching and engagements that further creative and critical thinking in landscape architecture and our allied disciplines.

Over the past year Professors Nancy Rottle and Thaïsa Way retired from the University to pursue their next adventures, though Nancy is staying on in a part-time role to continue her work with the ScanDesign program to teach the autumn Copenhagen studio and to work on projects through the Green Futures Lab. Thaïsa has extended her appointment as the Director of Garden and Landscape Studies at Dumbarton Oaks in Washington D.C. and continues to build on the strong work she has been initiating over the past three years. The faculty elected both to receive emeritus status from the department, and while they are transitioning on to new endeavors, we are excited for the opportunity to continue our relationships and collaborations.

Assistant Professor Celina Balderas Guzmán

We have also hired a new faculty member and this September welcomed Celina Balderas Guzman as an Assistant Professor. Celina recently completed her doctoral studies at the University of California – Berkeley. Celina’s research and teaching works across environmental planning, design, and science with a broad focus on water flows, particularly coastal climate adaptation, urban stormwater, and green infrastructure. Celina’s hire is related to the College’s first-ever cohort hire to advance our vision for working towards a more just and beautiful world. A total of five faculty began this autumn and each brings new strengths and perspectives and as a group, they have the potential to be an effective team who, together with the excellent faculty already here, will accelerate the positive impact of our teaching, research, and engagement. The future is bright.

 

However, on a more somber note this past year we also gave final farewells to two very important people who long served to establish and advance our community. Both previous department Chairs Sally Schauman and Robert Buchanan passed away and our thoughts and well wishes are extended to their families and friends. Though it has been some time since either were faculty here, I am sure many of you have fond memories of your experiences with them.

Dani Slowik – 2022 Fountain Scholar

As with every year, we bade farewell to a terrific group of students who graduated from either the Bachelors or Masters program. As most of you know, the students put so much into their education and we are deeply proud of all their accomplishments and we look forward to following their progress as they step into their next stages of life. At the same time we also welcomed a new cohort of eager, engaged, and enthusiastic students who have just begun their journey with us. We look forward to providing them with the opportunities to shape their interests and work to help define the future of the discipline and field.

 

Design/Build students in Traena, Norway this past summer.

This past year we also had the opportunity to re-engage with our well established study abroad programming with faculty led trips to Italy, Norway, Denmark, and Peru. We look forward to continuing this tradition with planned programs to return to these locations as well as Nepal in the coming year.

As always, the faculty in the department have been highly active with community collaborations, research, and publications. Jeff Hou recently published the co-edited Emerging Civic Urbanisms in Asia. Hong Kong, Seoul, Singapore and Taipei beyond Developmental Urbanization (Amsterdam University Press) and also contributed to the Handbook of Sustainable Cities and Landscapes in the Pacific Rim (Routledge) along with myself, Nancy Rottle, and Ph.D. candidate and long-time lecturer Elizabeth Umbanhowar.

 


We were also fortunate to have our faculty recognized through several nationally recognized awards including Daniel Winterbottom as the CELA Outstanding Educator as well as being selected as a Landscape Architecture Foundation Fellow for Innovation and Leadership for his ongoing work on the therapeutic potential of design for landscapes and locations of incarceration.  In addition, Catherine De Almeida was selected for the CELA Excellence in Research and Creative Work (Junior level) award, and Affiliate Associate Professor Amy Wagenfeld for an ASLA Community Service Award.


Lastly I want to thank you all for your support and ongoing engagement with our program. I would especially like to thank and recognize
Site Workshop for taking the lead on a fundraising campaign that built upon a coalition of local firms to raise funds for the Endowed Scholarship for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Landscape ArchitectureIt is focused on supporting the recruitment and retention of students into landscape architecture who identify as persons of color. The contributions from these firms will actively help to shape, support and diversify the future of the field. We gladly welcome any and all contributions you may consider to this fund to support students. Contribute today.

 

While the year has been full of change, it has also been terrific, and we are looking forward to what the next will bring. I wish you all the best in the arrival of the new year and hope to see you soon here in the halls of Gould. Come back for a visit any time.

 

Sincerely,

Ken P. Yocom, Chair

 

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