Enhancing the Dialog Between Education and Practice

by John Anderson, ASLA

ASLA 2018 Professional Analysis and Planning Honor Award. Extending Our History, Embracing Our Future, Madison, WI. SmithGroup + Hoerr Schaudt. / Image: University of Wisconsin-Madison

The ASLA Education & Practice Professional Practice Network (PPN) exists to promote communication between education and practice. We have developed a philosophy statement:  Education and practice mutually need each other and should respect each other. They should reciprocate and participate between themselves and most importantly should communicate regularly. In many cases, these relationships are already in place and functioning. In others, there may be disconnects, real or perceived. The PPN seeks to engage both practitioners and educators on how we can promote and enhance the dialog.

We would like to ask members of the PPN, both academics and practitioners, to provide feedback through the Education & Practice PPN survey on ways in which you are providing some level of reciprocation and participation.

In this issue, we will focus on:

Reciprocation and Participation- The relationships between practice and education occur on many levels. One primary method involves proximity, the interaction between practitioners and academia on a state-by-state or program proximity basis. It may involve a relationship between individual faculty members and practitioners who share a common subject or research interest.

Certainly, the alumni factor comes into play. Many of us take pride in promoting our alma mater and seeing it succeed.

We would like to ask members of the PPN, both academics and practitioners, to provide dialog on ways in which you are providing some level of reciprocation and participation. Toward that end, we will provide a series of questions to fuel the dialog:

From the practitioner’s perspective-

  • Does alumni status influence your participation or is proximity a larger factor when participating in design programs?
  • Have you hired students you have met during one of these interactions?
  • Does participation allow you to promote your firm, or otherwise meet promising upcoming graduates?
  • Do you find that your participation leads to dialog with the administration about your needs as an employer?
  • Do you feel a sense of accomplishment when mentoring students, even if indirectly?
  • Do you ever participate in research efforts directly relating to or benefiting your practice?

From the educator’s perspective-

  • Do you have a particular policy in place for engaging outside practitioners to participate in your program?
  • How often do you engage outside practitioners to participate in your program through the following?
  • Is this interaction primarily with landscape architects or do you reach out to allied professionals (architects, engineers, contractors, etc.) as well?
  • Do you feel that this interaction provides a forum for listening to industry concerns and needs?
  • Do you ever attempt to coordinate research efforts with a particular firm or project?

By enhancing the dialog, we can all do something to better prepare the next generation of our profession. We need students to fuel the growth of our profession, to step into leadership roles in solving the complex design and environmental issues we are currently facing.

We are continuing to ask each university landscape architecture program to identify a person within their program to act as a liaison with the Education & Practice PPN. Our goal is to provide the academy with an opportunity to communicate with the industry on current initiatives they are implementing, research they are producing, and innovative practices they are utilizing within their programs.

To both academia and the landscape architecture community- join the Education & Practice PPN and contribute to the discussion. We welcome your participation in this conversation! Please share your feedback by Friday, November 30.

John Anderson, ASLA, LEED AP, is Principal at Anderson Design, Inc., an instructor in landscape architecture at the University of Georgia, and ASLA Education & Practice PPN Chair.

One thought on “Enhancing the Dialog Between Education and Practice

  1. lknott November 9, 2018 / 11:47 am

    I took the survey, but it did not offer me much of a chance to expound. We are practitioners in historical landscape architecture and are located only 1.5 miles away from the University of Virginia and their landscape architecture/cultural landscapes program. However, we have not been asked to participate in any of their activities and are just generally ignored by faculty and staff, although we have lots to offer and would be glad of the publicity. It’s a shame and has created an unpleasant feeling of resentment towards the university program.

    Laura L. Knott, Regional Director
    300 West Main Street, Suite 201
    Charlottesville VA 22903
    (434) 979-1617

Leave a Reply