I recently moved from Illinois to Utah to serve as Chair of the City & Metropolitan Planning Department. When I reflect on the 2018-29 academic year, I feel very fortunate to be working in an inspiring place alongside highly productive faculty, dedicated staff, and remarkable students. I have come to deeply appreciate our team of practitioners/instructors, who after putting in a full day at the office, teach many of our most popular elective courses in the evenings. We could not deliver our academic programs without you.
A few highlights from last year: We reviewed both of our graduate programs – the master’s degree in City and Metropolitan Planning and the doctoral degree in Metropolitan Planning, Policy, and Design. We revamped the core of each to build on the department’s strengths. We also made sure each degree program had enough flexibility for students to specialize, for example in ecological planning, housing & community development, small & resort town planning, smart growth, and urban design. We started a research seminar for our faculty and Ph.D. students to discuss research-in-progress and held our first poster event to showcase the professional projects produced by our MCMP students.
This coming academic year the department will focus on the Urban Ecology undergraduate program. We plan to create career pathways within the major. We see this as an opportunity to engage our undergraduates in professional development sooner as well as help them structure their elective choices while at the University of Utah. This year we will also celebrate the 70th anniversary of the College of Architecture and Planning and 50th anniversary of the Architecture Building. We look forward to reconnecting with our alumni at the events planned for this year-long celebration.
All of these curriculum changes and co-curricular activities aim to inspire our students to be empathetically rooted. We want them to think ecologically and to act in ways that further equity and justice inside the classroom, around metropolitan Salt Lake and beyond. All of our faculty and students engage with local communities through applied research, hands-on coursework or community service. We conduct leading research through the Metropolitan Research Center and the Center for Ecological Planning + Design. Our workshops, studios, and internships offer students opportunities to grapple with many challenges facing cities, suburbs and rural places in the Intermountain West.
We are bursting at the seams with good news. Every day, I hear a story about how one of our students, faculty or alum make a difference in the world. Follow us on social media and check our newly updated website to learn about our extraordinary CMP community.
Stacy Harwood, Chair and Professor
City & Metropolitan Planning