West Virginia University’s Master of Landscape Architecture program has been accredited through the end of 2019 by the American Society of Landscape Architects Landscape Architectural Accreditation Board.
“Creating and delivering the Master of Landscape Architecture program has been in the works for over eight years and is a testament to faculty efforts,” said Peter Butler, an assistant professor in the program. “Our first group of students graduated last year and have found high levels of employment opportunity within the discipline,” Butler continued.
With a core of traditional landscape architectural design skills, students were prepared for professional practice while also focusing on niche subject areas in their final projects. The subject areas examined included brownfields reclamation within an urban environment, alternative energy solutions as a driver for economic development, watershed scale analysis and flood attenuation and response, and ecological stormwater design for interpretation.
“As the program develops and builds over the next several years our graduates will be prepared to address current pressing environmental and social problems within contexts ranging from the rural to the urban, and to provide leadership in creating positive change,” Butler said.
Accreditation is a non-governmental, voluntary system of self-regulation. The LAAB accreditation process evaluates each program on the basis of its stated objectives and compliance to externally mandated minimum standards. The program conducts a self-study to evaluate how well it is meeting its educational goals, then LAAB provides an independent assessment, which determines if a program meets accreditation requirements.
“We are thrilled with this accreditation,” said Daniel Robison, dean of the Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design. “It speaks not only to the work of our faculty to make it happen, but also to the relations between design, environment and societal needs that the Davis College works to breathe life into for our students and in our research and service.”
Robison also noted that the external review team remarked that WVU’s program was a good as any first-time MLA review they have done.
Provost Michele Wheatly echoed Robison’s enthusiasm for the program and its recent accreditation.
“We are already the flagship institution in the state of West Virginia and we aspire to national prominence,” she said. “Having a forward-thinking program like this one accredited affirms all that we are doing here at WVU.”
Programs leading to first professional degrees at the bachelor’s or master’s levels in the United States are eligible to apply for accreditation from LAAB.
The Board of Trustees of the American Society of Landscape Architects recognizes the quality of educational programs leading to first professional degrees in landscape architecture at the bachelor’s and master’s level accredited by the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects Accreditation Council. It regards the criteria for accreditation and many of the individual program guidelines to be comparable to those employed by the Landscape Architectural Accreditation Board of ASLA.
WVU’s undergraduate landscape architecture program is accredited by LAAB through 2017. WVU is home to West Virginia’s only accredited academic programs in landscape architecture.
CONTACT: David Welsh, Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design
Follow @WVUToday on Twitter.