data-based decisions

Data-Based Decisions

LAAB Professional Accreditation Standards

Both of the recommendations from the 2005 LAAB review team’s report were pursued by the Faculty the year following the team’s visit. The mission was rewritten (see Mission Statement) and the curriculum was thoroughly evaluated, resulting an all-inclusive course competencies matrix (see Learning Objectives).

Advisory Board Review

Due to the lack of consistent reporting of recommendations, no actions were taken as a result of the Board’s review in2008. Previous years have been reported as showing a more consistent series of reports and responses. In spite of this lack of data, the 2008 Board was generally very positive, reporting a strong show of enthusiasm from the students the Board interviewed. Notable areas of concern included quality of studio environments and the condition of equipment (e.g., drafting tables). The department has been actively pursuing remodel of the Graduate Studio in response, and will have that remodel completed by the convening of the fall 2009 Board meeting.

Public Juries

Public juries serve a unique, continuous form of assessment. Corrective action within the courses during which juries occur emphasize assistance to the student (e.g., graphic presentation methods), and, to a lesser extent, the instructor (e.g., framing of the project). Consequently both manifold decisions resulting from both types of assessment are not findings readily reported here.

Portfolio Review

Patterns across the years regarding quality of work seen in the portfolios cannot be examined. LAEP has maintained a policy of returning students’ portfolios to them. That policy has been changed for 2010. Although this change will, over time, mean that portfolios can be examined, it should be noted that the validity of such comparisons will be suspect; it is Program’s intent that past portfolios of the highest quality will be shared with upcoming sophomores to form a pattern of continuous improvement in quality, creativity and content.

Internal Curriculum Review

In 2006, following an extensive self-assessment process, LAEP outlined a set of curriculum changes. In response to weaknesses identified in that process, the LAEP Faculty subsequently identified each course’s capacity to effect improvements for those weaknesses. Decisions for course-specific change to the curriculum included:

LAEP 1350 Introduction to Landscape Architecture

  • Implement a departmental standard of citation using the Chicago Manual with author - date.

LAEP 1200 Graphics

  • Add an introduction to computer-generated graphics, focusing on what is the appropriate application for what program. Introduce a working knowledge of scanning, Photoshop, importance of file size, and Powerpoint. No development of 3-dimensional models.

LAEP 1350 Theory of Design

  • Work on reducing the number graded projects.

LAEP 2300 & 6230 History of Landscape Architecture

  • Course load is a bit heavy. Cut the term paper and have the writing requirement fulfilled in other LAEP courses.

LAEP 2600 Construction I

  • Must add current stormwater management issues and bio-engineering options.

LAEP 2650 Architecture and the Built Environment

  • Add the development of a working knowledge of Photoshop. Focus on LEED certification and other sustainability issues.

LAEP 2700 Site Analysis

  • Reduce to 3 credits from 5 to reduce overall credit load in the curriculum. Maintain focus of 1st 5 weeks on human behavior and the last 10 weeks on the development of site inventory and analysis skills. Add a requirement for literature review in journal literature. Also, have an introduction to the use of GIS, and use Illustrator to produce boards.

LAEP 2720 Site Planning

  • Institute a department-wide jury to review products.

LAEP 3120 & 6320 Residential Design

  • Focus on the use of GIS for problem solving.

LAEP 3500 & 6350 Planting Design

  • No changes recommended.

LAEP 3610 Construction II

  • Remove vertical and horizontal road alignments from the course in 2008 and move to Construction I.
  • Remove the bridge assignment that is duplicative of the assignment in Architecture and the Built Environment.

LAEP 3700 City and Regional Planning

  • Integrate the lectures of this course into 3120 Residential Design.

LAEP 4100 & 6140 Urban Design

  • Lecture on the design of posters.
  • Extend the scale of the problem to site details.

LAEP 4110 Construction Document Prep

  • Require the use of CAD.
  • Develop CAD standards.

LAEP 4120/4130 Emerging Areas

  • These are faculty-driven projects often related to current faculty research projects or projects of interest. These should change each year with several options for students.

LAEP 4920 Professional Practice

  • This course should be given earlier in the curriculum. The course should be split and be offered as one credit in the Junior year and one credit in the Senior year. Since 2006, the above curriculum changes have been implemented with the following exceptions:

  • LAEP 2650 was removed from the curriculum, negating needs for the proposed changes. It was also determined that the following course-independent changes be implemented:

    • Implement a departmental standard of citation using the Chicago Manual guidelines.
    • Integrate computer generate graphics and GIS mapping use throughout the curriculum.
    • Add a working knowledge of LEED certification, stormwater BMP’s and on-site stormwater management to the curriculum.
    • Emphasize presentation skills and critiques throughout the program.Make digital copies of assignments (selected) a requirement (either digital file or digital photo).

Since 2006, the above curriculum changes have been implemented with the following exceptions:

  • LEED certification has not been integrated
  • Presentation skills have received limited emphasis

Rapid turnover in administrators in LAEP has meant that continuous monitoring of data-based decisions has not occurred. Consequently, 2009/2010 will be the first year that the department returns to the process since 2006. Discussions have been started for a curriculum review to occur during this academic year. These decisions will be based upon disciplinary emphases that the faculty determines to be the direction for the program.


Spring of 2010 will see the first use of the newly created rubric. As an assessment of the capstone work of juniors in the BLA the rubric’s data will aid in decisions relating to the curriculum’s success in achieving the targeted learning objectives at that junction in the degree.

Exit Assessments

The first collection of exit survey and exit interviews occurred in 2009. Those data will be analyzed and response decisions made during the 2009/2010 academic year.