by David N. Myers, Ph.D., PLA, ASLA
Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture (CELA) Call for Abstracts
Deadline: September 12, 2022
The theme of the CELA 2023 Conference directly involves landscape architecture professionals. Align | Realign: Dialogues between Academic Pursuits and Professional Demand investigates the overlaps and misalignments between what is both taught and researched in academia compared to what the professional market demands.
As you all know, landscape architecture has long been broadly defined as the integration of art and science. Both the profession of landscape architecture and the education of the discipline have historically been dependent upon a constant dialogue between the arts and the sciences.
Recently, the growing role of research within the profession of landscape architecture has created a shift in more scientific thinking to help reinforce evidence-based design decision making. The degree to which scientific research is given emphasis in a design inevitably varies. This variance is generally dependent upon the values and findings within the given research and the specific goals and needs of a given design project. Educators and professionals can also fluctuate in their locations along the art/science continuum, sometimes creating misalignments within what the landscape architecture profession demands and what is being researched or taught in landscape architecture education.
Align | Realign explores these relationships. Submissions to the Align | Realign theme track include research or scholarly inquiries related to comparisons or synergies between design education and professional needs, collaborative research and/or design projects, design impact measurements and techniques, student placement or student skills vs. needs in the workplace, software taught vs. software used in practice, advisory board interactions and activities with programs, or other related phenomena.
We highly encourage submissions from landscape architecture practitioners, research departments within firms, and other similar units.
The Call for Abstracts for CELA 2023 closes September 12, 2022, so submit soon!
The conference will be held in-person from March 16-18, 2023, in San Antonio, Texas. CEUs are also available at the conference.
David N. Myers, Ph.D., PLA, ASLA, is CELA President and University of Maryland Landscape Architecture Associate Professor, Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture.
Prof Myers (David): This call for abstracts to address the growing role of research in the profession and the at times apparent “misalignment” between what the profession demands (for “practice”) and what is being researched or taught in landscape architecture education for evidence-based design decision-making is good. However, I sense the more serious issue is the attempt of non-registered LAs who may be in academia but want to “practice” by teaming up with others in sister professions such as architecture (who may also not be fully registered to practice)…! The implications for the profession are significant especially as the call for more serious planning and design work that addresses environmental and climate change issues continues to expand. In summary, the “dialogue” between academic pursuits and professional demands is not really a “conflict” for the profession, but an opportunity for continued collaboration and expansion of the profession…. HOWEVER, it requires the profession (and the AIA) to fully support the requirement of registration in order to “practice”.
Similarly, obtaining a license to practice hinges upon the periodic CLARB task analysis which polls licensed practitioners about their day-to-day activities in order to determine the content of our licensing exams. The results of the new task analysis will shape the LARE starting in December 2023. Landscape architects must respond to climate change/crisis with more than good intentions. Uniting academic practitioners with those who design and build work may only occur if academics see the value in licensure and project managers increase design budgets to include input from ecologists, wetland scientists, and others sister professions.