Noteworthy Practices

This site was prepared to share noteworthy actions programs have undertaken toward meeting PAB accreditation standards. While actions mentioned were indeed part of the programs’ successful efforts to meet respective criteria and were assessed as noteworthy by reviewers, any action alone will not necessarily constitute fulfillment of a specific criterion. Each program will be assessed in its context by the Site Visit Team and the Board. Please contact the program for additional information on their practices. (Note: Programs with an asterisk* were recognized under the 2012 Standards.)

Strategic Plan

Michigan State University

The URP program has used a Strategic Plan to guide its activities since the 1990s, and the plan has been periodically revised in response to changing environmental scans, as well as programmatic and student performance. With the appointment of a new Dean to the College of Social Science in August 2016 the College embarked on a yearlong strategic planning process involving over 400 faculty members and stakeholders. Given this foundation, in fall 2017, the URP Program revisited its Strategic Plan to take into account its new environment. An annual Strategic Plan review meeting was established where a variety of stakeholders (faculty students, alumni, practitioners) can discuss changes collectively and progress is evaluated. Faculty also receive comments individually and informally (phone, email, in-person meetings) with these stakeholders. Starting in fall 2017, the URP faculty met regularly to revise its Strategic Plan in line with new College of Social Science priorities, and changes in School leadership and priorities. Note that beyond shared vision and values, the Program has separate missions for its undergraduate and graduate programs.

Wayne State University

The Department has chosen to gradually transition to a focus and branding on the “the legacy city”. The Department defines legacy cities as: “Cities impacted by the forces of de-industrialization, de-population, segregation and divisive public policy” Reflecting the focus on Legacy Cites, the Department adopted the following visions statement: “DUSP offers a legacy-cities focused, Detroit community committed curriculum, scholarship, and service. By 2021 DUSP will be the premier destination for legacy cities scholarship and teaching.” The MUP Program views planning as a profession that seeks to identify the root characteristics of legacy cities defined above; to fashion strategies that deploy policies, plans, resources, and regulatory approaches to create environments in legacy cities suited to equity, social justice, economic development, and ecological needs; and to develop methods for evaluating the human and environmental consequences of problems, programs, policies and plans in legacy cities. Planners bring together knowledge and expertise from social sciences, engineering, law, architecture, social work, biology, landscape architecture, urban design, and other disciplines to shape legacy cities.

Temple University*

Strategic Plan and Mission Statement: strong and effective strategic plan, reviewed annually; clear mission statement; measurable objectives.

University of Michigan*

Comprehensive Strategic Plan: engaged stakeholders at all levels (faculty, staff, students, alumni); clear vision, mission, and values; clear program goals and comprehensive set of measurable objectives for straightforward evaluations.

University of New Mexico*

Strategic plan fits well with university’s and identifies own specific niche.

Outcomes Assessment

For more resources related to outcomes assessment, visit the Outcomes Assessment page.

Michigan State University

During fall 2017 and spring 2018, we modified our student assessment tool given the new PAB-criteria that now contain: knowledge, skills, attitudes, competencies, and habits of mind. The new evaluation rubric came into effect in spring 2018. The Program measures student learning and achievement through direct (tests, capstone projects, rubrics, employer ratings, scores and pass rates on licensure exams) and indirect (course grades, surveys, student self-ratings, alumni satisfaction with learning) assessment methods. Our expectation is that upon graduation, students demonstrate mastery in knowledge, skills and values of the planning profession preparing them for an entry level position. Complete details of the learning outcomes process are presented in the appendix. The first measure is an objective evaluation by faculty members through the rubric systems, assessing the Program’s Culminating Experience with emphasis on knowledge, skills, and values. This evaluation tool has four levels, with LEVEL I being a beginner in learning about the planning profession and LEVEL IV mastering knowledge, skills and values of the planning profession. The second measure is feedback from our capstone clients, who are qualified external sources that provide specific information about our program learning outcomes. Planning practicum is the capstone project in our curriculum and the final milestone in our student’s development. As our students apply their knowledge, skills and values to real world examples, they are evaluated by external stakeholders.

Tufts University

Educational Outcomes: The Department developed a learning outcomes system composed of five elements beyond course grades. It includes:

  1. competency rubrics for core courses;
  2. an alumni survey regarding preparation for employment;
  3. an internship supervisor survey to assess student performance and mastery of skills;
  4. specific questions added to the school-wide graduate exit survey; and
  5. a student self-assessment survey administered half way through the program. The Department has worked diligently and thoughtfully to develop an impressive student-responsive assessment.

Learning Outcomes Measurement System:  We have established a system for assessing students’ proficiency in several of the core knowledge, research methods, and professional practice competencies.  We have collected the base-line data from three of our core courses, theses and capstone exams, and the student internship.  Our assessment instruments have collected perspectives on learning outcomes and other aspects of the program from students at different stages of their matriculation, recent alumni, and employers (as internship supervisors). Gleanings from this assessment have already begun to inform our curriculum.  Improvements include the introduction of the new half-credit thesis design course, new assignments in core courses, and the provision of tutoring and other supports in writing and quantitative analysis.  We devised a set of rubrics to assess students’ level of proficiency in selected competencies as demonstrated in class assignments. These rubrics are based on the “VALUE Rubric Development Project” of the Association of American Colleges and Universities, https://www.aacu.org/value/rubrics. In several courses, we use also the rubrics to communicate with students about expectations and their progress in developing the competencies. The rubric forms distributed to the students include detailed explanations of each ranking for every dimension of the competencies. In addition to the rating, students receive comments that explain their weaknesses and offer suggestions for improvement.  These assessment instruments will allow us to trace individual students’ progress in developing competencies over their time at UEP, especially with respect to critical analysis, research, and written communication.

University of Florida

On-campus and online courses are designed around the same Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs) and use very similar, if not identical, course syllabi.  Our assessment of student learning outcomes as outlined below is now being implemented for both online and on-campus versions of the capstone courses listed, including thesis, studio, and internship.  More specifically, we have been tracking knowledge and skills via the thesis/masters research project assessment worksheet and via employer review of interns.  The rubric for the planning project (studio) course provides further assessment of students via outside reviewers/jurors when possible.  Our programmatic student learning outcomes are as follows:

  • Graduates of the program will demonstrate research and critical thinking skills reflecting comprehension and use of relevant ideas and information in the planning field. These outcomes are measured as part of the rubric for Thesis and Masters Research Project.
  • Graduates of the program will analyze and combine qualitative and quantitative information from multiple sources to support decision making. These outcomes are measured as part of the rubric for Thesis and Masters Research Project as well as for Studio (Planning Project).
  • Graduates of the program will apply knowledge of human settlement, historical and contemporary practice, organizational/institutional structures, and policy and processes relevant to urban and regional planning concepts and theories. These outcomes are measured as part of Masters Research Project and Thesis.
  • Graduates of the program will demonstrate an understanding of professional ethics and responsibility and engagement with social justice issues. These outcomes are measured as part of the rubric for Studio (Planning Project) and Masters Research Project and Thesis.
  • Graduates of the program will display ethical behaviors, cultural sensitivity, teamwork, professional conduct and communication skills. These outcomes are measured as part of the rubric for Studio (Planning Project) and Masters Research Project and Thesis.

University of Massachusetts Amherst

The MRP Program uses both indirect and direct measures to assess student learning outcomes. Direct measures include: review of student work portfolios, community-based studio projects, practica, and internships. The internships require the student to keep a journal of the internship experience. Employers for internships also give ratings of student performance. The MRP Program also assesses student learning outcomes indirectly through course grades, program satisfaction surveys, and teaching evaluations. To assess the effectiveness of our teaching, we use the alumni survey to measure general and specific student satisfaction with their professional preparation, student course evaluations (both general university questions and specific supplemental questions directly related to program curriculum objectives identified in course syllabi), employers’ evaluation letters regarding student externships, internships, and practica, etc., and departmental forums such as program meetings. This assessment process is ongoing and recursive: we use responses to specific survey and course evaluation questions to engage students in program discussions, which help to set the agenda for faculty meetings and retreats, where we then initiate proposed curricular changes through the university review and approval process. Specific learning objectives are identified for MRP courses in their respective syllabi; these are based on the PAB’s accreditation criteria relative to program, department, college, and university strategic goals.

San Jose State University*

Students are expected to demonstrate mastery of five Program Learning Outcomes that, collectively, encapsulate the PAB Core Knowledge, Skills, and Values of the profession:

(1) Conceptualize planning problems from complex, real-world situations so that the problems are meaningful to clients and are research-worthy.

  1. Frame research questions and hypotheses
  2. Design appropriate methodologies to answer research questions

(2) Communicate effectively

  1. Communicate effectively in writing
  2. Communicate effectively by expressing concepts in visual terms
  3. Communicate effectively through public speaking

(3) Work effectively as team members and leaders of planning teams, and to apply an understanding of interpersonal and group dynamics to assure effective group action.

(4) Analyze and synthesize planning knowledge and apply it to address actual planning problems.

(5) Develop planning strategies to advance community priorities through collaborative engagement with stakeholders and do so in a manner that deliberately incorporates multicultural and historical perspectives.

Student achievement is assessed through evaluation by an internship or work supervisor, instructor evaluation of work produced in URBP 298B, instructor evaluation of work produced in URBP 201, and a review of AICP exam pass rates. All course syllabi contain course learning objectives and highlight the PAB knowledge, skills, and values covered.

Temple University*

Instructors prepare course portfolios at the end of each semester; includes assessments of achievements in course competencies, recommendations for improvements to the course.  This has been valuable for transitioning courses to new instructors and examining courses over time.

University of New Mexico*

The program appointed a Student Learning Outcomes Committee in 2012 to propose revisions to its existing student evaluation process. The outcomes are linked clearly to PAB-related criteria. Students are required to do a self-assessment at the end of their first year in the program, and faculty advisers review the assessment with the student. The same assessment will be conducted at the time the student defends a professional project/thesis, giving the faculty data to evaluate each student from two points in the program when they are done.

University of Puerto Rico*

Learning Objectives
Within the context of its goals, the GSP long-term objectives are to provide a learning experience for the student to develop the following:
1. A high level of ethical conduct regarding the citizens’ rights to be informed and to participate effectively in plans, programs, and projects that affect them and their natural, social, and cultural environment.
2. A multi-disciplinary capacity to analyze economic, social, urban, and environmental factors blocking the improvement of Puerto Rican society and its natural and built environments and to recognize the features most relevant to planned interventions and improvements.
3. A lifetime commitment to formulating innovative, creative, and feasible solutions in the form of plans, programs, and projects, and to foresee their consequences and evaluate their results in search of continuous improvements.
4. A lifetime commitment to improve his or her theoretical abilities, practical techniques, and communicative, oral, written, and graphical skills by frequently reading professional books and journals and attending related courses.

Overall Student Achievement
Learning assessment of graduating students: This assessment of the learning domains is executed with a 70 item rubric which covers the relevant competencies of these three domains and assigns an ordinal value in a scale of 0 to 2 points. These points correspond, in the same order, to unmet, partially met, and met criteria. Measures of assessment rubrics of learning objectives on research, critical planning, and communication skills applied to planning project by graduating students
• Research skills consist of identifying, defining, and framing research questions, designing and implementing a research method to validate, measure and analyze the problem, and identifying and/or designing actionable solutions to the problem based on findings
• Communicative skills to effectively present his or her ideas and work in written, verbal, graphical, and visual modes.
• Planning methodologies cover the whole integrated planning process consisting of the design of a plan or intervention, objectives, strategies, resources, outcomes, and evaluation.

Rubric assessment results for years 2014, 2015, and 2016
SCALE:
UNSATISFACTORY: BELOW 70% OF ITEMS
SATISFACTORY: 70 TO 84% OF ITEMS
EXCELLENT: ABOVE 85% ITEMS

Assessment by employers
In the year 2011, focus groups with employers of city government and community-based organizations shared their assessments of employability and performance of program graduates, as well as student interns. According to participants, our students and graduates have a high sense of social responsibility and professional ethics, are able to effectively work in interdisciplinary teams, and can design and implement adequate methods and techniques to problems at hand.

Diversity

Auburn University

Consistent with Auburn University’s College of Liberal Arts Strategic Diversity Plan and the MCP program’s strategic plan, the MCP program strives to maintain student diversity in the program. In the past few years, student diversity has increased significantly. As of May 2019, the MCP program is comprised of a diverse student body of 43 graduate students consisting of 24 domestic (56%) and 19 international (44%) students. International students come from a variety of countries, including Bangladesh, China, Colombia, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Taiwan, Vietnam, and Nigeria. Over half (n=22) of our student body identify as female (51%) and 21 students (49%) identify as male. Of the domestic students, or U.S. and permanent resident students, 6 (25%) are African American, 2 students (8%) are Asian-American, and 13 (54%) are Caucasian. In addition, we currently enroll 3 (13% of the U.S. student population) Hispanic identifying students (with unknown race).

The MCP program also promotes diversity via its strategic and active recruitment strategies by offering graduate assistantships to deserving students that meet its quality standards. The MCP program seeks to offer graduate assistantships (covering tuition and monthly stipend) to support and promote diversity to students who meet the requirements for an assistantship. Auburn University’s Office of Inclusion and Diversity, Graduate School, and Black Graduate and Professional Student Association (BGPSA) have established the collaborative Graduate Diversity Campus Experience (DICE) program. More details of the DICE program are available here: http://bgpsa.auburn.edu/diversity-campus-experience-dice/. The MCP program participates in the DICE program, and in fall 2017 hosted four DICE fellows. One of them joined the MCP program in fall 2018 with a graduate assistantship.

Additionally, to increase its racial diversity, the MCP program is currently in dialogue with Tuskegee University’s Robert R. Taylor School of Architecture and Construction Science (TSACS) to recruit their undergraduate students. Tuskegee University’s campus is located 20 miles south of Auburn’s campus. It is a private Historically Black College and University (HBCU). The Dean of the TSACS also serves on the MCP’s Planning Advisory Council (PAC). A representative of the MCP program usually attends the TSACS career fair annually.

University of Illinois Chicago

In order to attract students from underrepresented groups, we send recruitment materials to Historically Black Colleges and Universities and to community-based and immigrant-serving organizations in the Chicago region. In 2018 the student group, Society of Black Urban Planners (SBUP), began an after-school program on urban planning in a public high school, Urban Prep Bronzeville, on Chicago’s South Side. Our department has also participated in the Chicago Metropolitan Area Planning’s Future Leaders in Planning (FLIP) program, which targets high school students with an interest in urban planning. We also market the program to undergraduates taking classes or majoring in our growing bachelor in Urban Studies program. Our department also created a joint degree program whereby students obtain both a Bachelor of Arts in Urban Studies (BAUS) and MUPP for undergraduates with outstanding academic performance who want to pursue graduate studies. We regularly offer excellent students of color Board of Trustees tuition waivers and Burnham Awards, which cover a portion of tuition for the student’s first year.

Our department seeks to maintain its diverse student body in part through course content focused on race, gender, sexuality, and class. Some classes, such as Gender and the City, Gentrification, and Race, Class and in Planning, are more explicit even though all classes bring these lenses and a focus on disparities into discussions and course material. With the Department’s active support, including dedicated faculty advisors, students created three new organizations since 2015: the Society of Black Urban Planners (SBUP), Latino Planning Organization for Development, Education & Regeneration (LPODER), and Women in Planning and Public Affairs (WPPA). One of the goals of these organizations is to retain minority students in the program. For example, LPODER seeks “to enhance the retention, outreach, and professional development of Latino students in the CUPPA graduate and undergraduate programs, thereby increasing the number of Latino students that enter the fields of Urban Planning, Policy, and Design.” The student organizations work with external groups such as APA-Illinois (Diversity Committee) and Women in Planning and Development.

University of Massachusetts, Amherst

MRP Students typically require 4 semesters or 2 years to complete the degree.  Dual-degree students require 6-8 semesters or 3-4 years to complete both degree requirements. Our accelerated 4+1 and dual-degree MRP students complete 36 credits solely in the full-time MRP curriculum; when completing courses in their other program, 12 of those graduate credits double-count toward the MRP, equivalent to the standard 48 total. Our 4+1 Accelerated Master’s degree program Associates to Bachelors to Master’s degree programs for traditionally underrepresented students. and our multiple dual-degree programs have significantly increased our diversity recruitment and retention opportunities through the Five Colleges and other regional schools. We have built streamlined ‘program ladders’ from Associates to Bachelors to Master’s degree programs for traditionally underrepresented students.

University of Pennsylvania

The department faculty, staff, and leadership have worked concertedly to attract and retain a diverse group of students in recent years.  Activities in this area include: 1) more active recruitment of underrepresented minority MCP applicants and candidates, as part of a larger diversity agenda the department has committed to 2) hiring faculty and instructors of color to help attract and support underrepresented students, 3) refining its classes, pedagogy, and supports for students. Specifically, the Penn Planning has added courses on community engagement and studios that have a specific social justice orientation.  In addition, the chair attended a yearlong seminar on inclusive teaching at Penn’s Center for Teaching and Learning and has brought key lessons from that seminar to the faculty.  The department analyzes course syllabi every semester to see whether courses include views from diverse groups, either as article/book authors, guest speakers or in other ways. The chair also hosts a breakfast for prospective students of color at the annual accepted students open house day, and convenes students of color a few times each year to talk about how things are going for them.

Working with the departments of Architecture and Landscape Architecture in the school, for the MCP class entering in 2018 the department was able to increase the number of full tuition scholarships for underrepresented minorities from our usual 3 to 5. The department and the school’s Admissions office are organizing trips in 2018-19 to historically black and Hispanic-serving colleges and universities, with alums of our MCP program who went to undergraduate school at those schools. The department recently launched its Moelis Scholars Program for black and Latinx students, and this program is now endowed.

The Diversity Committee has held staff-led focus groups with underrepresented minority, queer, and other students (including advocates for students with disabilities); and has collaborated with students to organize annual student-led town hall discussions focused on diversity. The Diversity Committee and Dean’s office staff established a web page and events each semester that support students’ exploration of increasingly diverse and interdisciplinary course offerings, student clubs (including Diverse Design and the recently formed groups Queer Design and Social Justice Club), and resources around campus, ranging from classes and academic programs to resource and support centers for students from diverse backgrounds. The department now schedules regular sessions with Weingarten staff at particular points in the semester, in coordination with major assignments in MCP core classes, especially first-year, first-semester courses. This has helped systematize the department’s support of international students and others in need of especially writing assistance.

Wayne State University

The MUP Program draws most of its students from the Detroit Metropolitan Area. The Program’s delivery is designed to accommodate part-time, working students, with most courses meeting once per week in the evening. Courses have been offered occasionally on Saturdays. The focus on working students results in a highly-motivated student body and itself provides important elements of diversity: diversity in work and life experiences, both of which enrich the Program. The 2015 MUP Strategic Plan set a goal that the student body should reflect the Detroit Metropolitan Area’s racial composition.

Western Washington University

As a result of our adopted student diversity and recruitment strategy, the Urban Planning program, and Huxley College in general, continues to increase its student diversity. The program is committed to a concerted campaign to enhance our student diversity. This is currently accomplished through a phased diversity-recruitment plan with strategies employed throughout the academic year. As part of this Plan, Huxley College hired a Diversity Specialist who is assisting with the recruitment of students from diverse backgrounds. In 2019, the University also recruited a Tribal Programs Director and Tribal Government Liaison Officer.

Part I of the UPSD Diversity Recruitment Strategy consists of short-term tactical activities to immediately engage diversity in the Urban Planning program as a trailblazing and pilot effort to be extended to the department of Environmental Studies more broadly. The second component of the Urban Planning program approach to diversity is to suggest a framework for developing an integrated plan for improving diversity among student, faculty, and curricula.

The efforts towards institutionalizing diversity efforts in the Urban Planning program were in part in response to accreditation requirements. In 2014, and in preparation for its first accreditation, the Urban Planning program set up a “task force” to develop guidelines that address diversity, equity, and justice in curricular, faculty development, climate, student and faculty recruitment and retention, and other matters related to diversity. As these efforts progressed and started to take shape, the College of the Environment took notice and commissioned Dr. Kamel to chair a college-wide committee to develop a plan for the college. The college plan was unanimously adopted in 2016 and was the first college diversity plan. Due to Dr. Kamel leadership and participation in diversity efforts at the program, department, college, and university level as well as at ACSP, he was assigned to participate in the university strategic plan. The plan that was produced incorporates several strong diversity, equity, and justice goals. These goals have informed and supported revisions to the Urban Planning strategic and diversity plans. As a result, the Urban Planning program has the highest student diversity in the college and among the highest at WWU.

California State Polytechnic University, Pomona*

Amazing diversity of student: The community in and around the City of Pomona is ethnically diverse with a good proportion being recent immigrants to the United States. 61 percent of graduate students are minority (Black, Asian, Hispanic) (Self Study Report, 2014, p. 27). Many of the graduate students in the urban and regional planning program are first generation college students who are going on to get a graduate degree in planning. The vast majority of these students have full-time jobs (most in the planning field) and are going back to school to advance their planning education. The Master in Urban and Regional Planning program does a great job in keeping in-touch with alumni and listening to current student needs which allows it to be connected and supportive of its current diverse student population.

University of California, Berkeley*

DCRP offers a fall Open House for prospective applicants and a spring “Recruitment Weekend.” The spring Recruitment Weekend includes two special events to help attract a more diverse student body. The Sunday Welcome Reception allows prospective diversity admits opportunities to connect and interact with members of two organizations: CED Alumni of Color and CED Students of Color (CEDSOC). Approximately 100 prospective students attend. The Lightning Faculty Talks on the Importance of Equity in Planning is a new student- led session for SP16 Open House where prospective applicants learned about the importance of equity in planning faculty’s research.

For the past few years, the MCP Program Chair and staff have also conducted biweekly webinars and conference calls. In webinars, staff demystify the admissions process and answer inquiries about the application, program requirements, and financial aid. Conference calls with the MCP Chair allow students an opportunity to ask about program strengths and weaknesses, faculty research, and what faculty are looking for in applications.

Lastly, every admitted graduate student is sent a personalized e-mail from the Chair and is contacted by phone or e-mail by at least one other faculty member. In addition to the Chair, a number of DCRP faculty have an open-door policy regarding potential applicants.

University of Cincinnati*

In 2016, the BUP program’s percentage of minority students (Hispanic, Black, and Other) was 8%, while the foreign student percentage was 12%. In the MCP, the percentage of minority students was 23.22% while the foreign students represented 46.43%. Because of the disparities in the two programs, due to the specificities of undergraduate and graduate planning education, many initiatives have been taken to improve the diversity of the student body with a particular attention to the undergraduate program.

  1. ACE – Activating Community Empowerment with Hughes High School
  2. PLANit at Hughes STEM High School’s After Hours in the Tower
  3. Discover UC: University of Cincinnati Scholars Academy Experience – Spring 2017
  4. DAAP CAMP – Summer 2017
  5. 2017 Equity & Inclusion Incentive Grant
  6. Urban Futures Cluster
  7. Agreement with Chinese Universities
  8. Reclassification of MCP Program

University of Texas at Austin*

The UT-CRP program has made strenuous efforts over the past seven years to create a student body that is diverse along multiple and sometimes changing dimensions of difference. We have been successful in sustaining a study body that is geographically diverse and diverse in terms of gender and gender identity. On average, international students comprise 15-20% of our enrolled master’s students, with the strongest representation from Latin America, east and south Asia and the Middle East. We draw students from numerous US states and regions (typically our student body has students from 10-20 different states). Well over 50 percent of our students are female from year to year and we have more recently become more sensitive and engaged with LBGTQ students, although we do not try to estimate numbers or ratios.

The CRP program consistently works to improve the diversity of our student body through efforts to create an environment supporting diversity and inclusion in the School and the CRP program and through outreach and travel targeted to minority recruiting both within Texas and nationally.

University of Utah*

In 3-4 years, student diversity increased from 93% white to 70% white (more diverse than both university and state) [Staff notes] They have a very clear strategic direction on recruiting more people of color, especially from the growing Hispanic community in the metropolitan area.

Florida Atlantic University

FAU’s SURP serves a diverse group of individuals who are predominantly drawn from the South Florida region. Within the context of SURP’s mission and vision, the diversity and inclusion plan is intended to incorporate considerations of diversity in three major areas: 1) Faculty and Staff; 2) Students; and 3) Curriculum, Outreach, and Research. The ultimate goal of the diversity plan is to increase awareness among faculty, staff, and students of issues of diversity, inclusion, and equity and to continually strive to improve diversity and inclusion in all aspects of SURP’s activities as well as in SURP’s internal and external communications. For the purposes of this plan, diversity and inclusion focus on three major categories of individuals who have been historically disadvantaged among faculty and students in higher education, namely individuals of non-white race, Hispanics/Latinos, and women. Part of SURP’s mission is to “prepare planning practitioners and researchers for national and global practice by promoting the ideals of social responsibility, sustainability, equity, diversity, and public service,” which can only be accomplished through increased attention to diversity and inclusion in all aspects of SURP’s work

University of Minnesota*

The program effectively utilizes adjunct faculty and supports adjuncts with useful faculty and staff resources. Adjunct faculty were exceptionally pleased with the level of support they are given, to the extent of being provided templates for course syllabi

Pratt Institute*

One of the great strengths of the program, and directly related to the Pratt Institute model for teaching, is the ability to have numerous adjunct and part-time faculty drawn from the leaders of government, non-profit and private sectors who are renowned in their fields. The quality and diversity of that faculty not only provides many opportunities for the students but is recognized by those students for the advantage it provides.

Students

University of South Florida

Mentor A Planning Student (MAPS) program – Through a partnership with the Sun Coast Section and the Heart of Florida Section of the Florida APA, USF MURP matches students with professional mentors in the local community. This program is officially recognized by APA Florida and offered through USF’s planning programs. MAPS, now in its fifth year, is regularly rated as outstanding by mentor and mentee participants and allows students to experience different aspects of planning (e.g., public or private sector; environmental, transportation, etc.). Students can participate each year they are in the MURP program. This program has been nationally recognized and used as a model for mentoring programs in other states.

University of Central Florida*

In 2012, students in the Program created an official UCF student organization. The Urban Knights student organization is very dynamic and, among other activities, has created a Technical Skills Workshop where local planners provide workshops to teach specific skills. In 2014, the Urban Knights received recognition at the APA national conference for this innovative program. The Urban Knights student organization plays a major role in requiring student inclusiveness and addressing contemporary urban issues. UCF has both the Latin American Student Organization and the Black Graduate Student Organization as resources for MSURP students. The Urban Knights student organization has continued to develop programs for students, alumni and local planning professionals by creating workshops that provide networking opportunities and continuing education credit.

University of Colorado Denver*

There is strong engagement with the local APA chapter and professional planning practice through the service learning emphasis in the curriculum. Meetings with alums which included Denver region APA members, indicates a number of activities and full engagement of students in APA activities and functions in the region. Many students spoke to the importance of these APA and Alumni social and professional events as contacts for internships and future job opportunities. About 30% of students attend the annual state APA conference and get travel support to do so from faculty donation. Based on review of documents, interviews and meetings with APA members and Alums, this criterion was well met.

University of Washington*

The program’s Professionals Council connects students with local practitioners. It is much more than a board of visitors. Rather, it is student focused. The Council sees to it that each incoming student has available a practitioner-mentor who makes her/himself available to students for a variety of professional orientated discussions, though these must be initiated by the student. All students noted taking advantage of their mentors, and all noted the ease with which mentors made themselves available. The Professionals Council is a tremendous resource for the Program; it has been since its establishment and there is no reason to expect that it will not continue to be.

Clemson University*

During the second year of study, most students are shifted over to the Public Service Assistantships (PSA) with local planning agencies and firms. The hourly wage is set by the employer, but the total typically ranges from $4,500 to $5,500. The PSAs also offer a tuition reduction to $1,000 per semester—regardless of in-state or out-of-state status. The total value of a Public Service Assistantship is approximately $12,000 for an in-state student and $22,000 for an out-of-state student (per academic year). These positions provide valuable professional experience as well as financial support. In recent years we have been able to procure between 12-15 Public Service Assistantships each year. Their availability fluctuates depending the state of the economy and the budgets of public and nonprofit planning agencies. The program director devotes a large amount of time to retaining existing PSAs, finding new ones, dealing with the PSA contract documents, and cultivating positive relationships with planning professionals throughout the Upstate region.

University of Central Florida*

Hired a full-time School of Public Administration internship and experiential learning coordinator to facilitate student engagement with the community. The Internship Coordinator meets regularly with the UCF Office of Experiential Learning to develop internship and service learning opportunities. This office seeks to ensure that all students have access to opportunities to gain relevant academic, personal and professional knowledge, skills, and attitudes they need to become work-ready and civically engaged citizens upon graduation. The SPA Internship Coordinator also works collaboratively with UCF Career Services to develop external partnerships with key community organizations and employers to promote student learning. The new full-time experiential learning coordinator will be used to help forge a long-term partnership between the MSURP program and a city/community organization.

University of Southern California*

Career services are exemplary. Career guidance is a process that literally begins on the day of matriculation and continues through graduation. The Price School has its own Career Services office and centralizes the functions of career and job search advising in one location. The program benefits tremendously from well-designed and executed career services that effectively leverage the alumni network. Well-designed and executed career services that effectively leverage the alumni network.

Faculty

Auburn University

The hallmark of Auburn University’s Master of Community Planning (MCP) program is the opportunity for students to engage with communities throughout Alabama and the Southeast in nearly every class. Our program faculty has partnered with several cities in the past five years including City of Auburn – Opelika, Birmingham, Dothan, Loachapoka, Mobile, Montgomery, Prattville, Prichard, and Tuskegee and all in Alabama; and LaGrange, Georgia. The MCP faculty, students, and partner communities have actively engaged in understanding, analyzing and addressing some of the challenges that these communities face via these outreach projects. These projects are often built in several of our core and elective courses where community partners meet and discuss with the MCP program faculty and identify study focus for the semester. These community engagements have been very successful and have been beneficial for our students to get engaged with the real-life challenges and problems. Auburn’s MCP students receive hands on learning experiences with real clients and work on real issues. Through numerous site visits and field trips with city planners, mayors, community groups, and the public, students are able to gain extensive and valuable insight about planning practice. They present their work in professional forums such as city council meetings, planning commission meetings, to community groups, or through public participation processes. The partnering communities’ benefit from the faculty expertise, and gets help in generating base line scenarios and various alternative proposals for their future planning.

Please see the link of Auburn University MCP Program’s Alabama City Year Program here: https://auburnmcp.wixsite.com/city-year-program

University of Maryland – College Park

In 2013, the National Center for Smart Growth (NCSG) launched the Partnership for Action Learning in Sustainability (PALS) program, a campus-wide initiative that harnesses the expertise of UMD faculty and the energy and ingenuity of UMD students to help Maryland communities become more environmentally, economically, and socially sustainable. PALS is designed to provide innovative, low-cost assistance to local governments while creating real-world problem-solving experiences for University of Maryland graduate and undergraduate students. The PALS program was inspired by the Sustainable City Year program at the University of Oregon. PALS initiated its first partnership with the City of Frederick, Maryland in September of 2014, adding a second smaller collaboration with College Park in January 2015 and launching its third partnership with Howard County and the Columbia Association in September 2015. In 2016, PALS engaged Anne Arundel County and the City of Annapolis, the first time the program partnered with both a city and host county concurrently. Last year, PALS worked concurrently in Montgomery County and Prince George’s County, two of the largest counties in the state, with a focus on environmental and social sustainability. Smaller collaborations with community partnerships in Baltimore helped create real estate development feasibility analyses for several Baltimore sites and built databases that mapped key features such as job opportunities, vacant housing, and vehicle ownership. This fall, PALS entered into its fifth county partnership with Harford County. A new feature of PALS in this year is its work with three smaller towns, thanks to support and a partnership with the Maryland Departments of Planning and Housing and Community Development. Feedback from public officials and local government staff involved with PALS confirms that PALS recommendations have been formally adopted, PALS preliminary designs have led to final designs and project implementation, and PALS products are used by local government staff in a variety of contexts. PALS projects have also won awards from the Maryland Sustainable Growth Commission. Our participation in the PALS program has enhanced students’ opportunities to develop effective communication skills. All PALS projects require a final presentation to the client community, and all PALS reports must adhere to strict guidelines for publication and presentation quality.

For more information about the PALS program, refer to the PALS program website.

California State Polytechnic University, Pomona*

Faculty are job-oriented and keep good connections to alumni and profession. With the entire faculty either actively working with planners as part of their job outside of the university, and/or their class or research projects lets them work closely with local governments and planning departments, directly benefits the graduate students’ jobs in their ability to get planning job shortly after they graduate. In addition, because faculty personally keep in touch with most of their students after they graduate, the alumni connections provide a great informal network for student to find internships and new jobs.

Pratt Institute*

The focus of the program on applied advocacy and community building has resulted in a long history of relationships with city and borough governments and the many community development non-profits organizations in the city. This has allowed for a significant familiarity between those entities and the Pratt students and faculty over a long term that has enhanced the ability of Pratt to conduct multiple studios over time with individual neighborhoods, thus allowing for a more long-term approach to addressing some of the neighborhood issues.

University of Arizona*

The program has a long-standing and productive relationship with local planning professionals through the Friends of Planning that facilitates professional connections for students with potential employers as well as providing professional insights and recommendations not available from tenure track faculty. All faculty, tenure track as well as auxiliary, demonstrate a high-level accessibility to the students.

Curriculum

San Jose State University*

One of the strengths of the Program is its emphasis on social equity, which runs as a consistent thread through all course content, studio work, and faculty values. The department is the institutional anchor for the University’s award winning CommUniverCity program, which engages university students and staff in cross-disciplinary approaches to serving the many lower-income and minority communities in proximity to the campus, which itself is located in the heart of the City of San José. URBP faculty and students take advantage of its urban location in downtown San Jose to engage in interdisciplinary public service projects that assist local communities in addressing topical planning issues, while also providing students with real-world professional experience. In 2005, the department was able to substantially increase its partnerships with marginalized communities when SJSU established CommUniverCity San José, a community- university-city partnership that connects SJSU faculty and students to projects that advance the neighborhood improvement priorities set by low-income, largely immigrant In recent years, the professional plans and community-based projects completed by SJSU’s MUP students and CommUniverCity have won regional, state, and national academic and professional awards. These include awards given by the American Planning Association, the American Institute of Certified Planners, the Institute for Transportation Engineers, the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities, the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, and the League of Conservation Voters.

Arizona State University*

Noteworthy, is the Program’s efforts to support Native American students. Efforts include an integrated course called tribal community planning with the American Indian Studies program, support of five American Indian students on research in Navajo nation planning issues including student authorship on a planning report, and involvement of planning faculty on GeoDesign projects to support planning in the Navajo Nation. PUP 598 Tribal Community Planning is a collaborative course between the MUEP program and the American Indian Studies (AIS) program that teaches Indigenous Planning to MUEP students and introduces planning to AIS students. The course was offered for a fourth year in fall 2017. It received an ASU award for “Classroom Innovation” in 2016. Students gain insight into the importance of community engagement and reaching consensus in tribal plans and design as well as the cultural connections between planning, community, and engagement. Most of the projects involve community engagement.

Eastern Washington University*

Tribal Planning program/certificate: seen as important for the profession; supports large Native American population in Washington State.

University of British Columbia*

The Indigenous Community Planning (ICP) concentration is a unique program of study for students to understand and address the planning context and issues of First Nations in Canada primarily, and indigenous communities elsewhere as well. The program is thoughtfully conceived and delivered, attracts students from within and outside of First Nations communities, and is, in the view of the SVT, a model of path breaking planning education. ICP students work with indigenous community members, typically in western Canada, to address planning issues identified in those communities. Of the 22 ICP graduates to date, 40 percent are members of indigenous communities. Two of these Indigenous graduates have subsequently enrolled in PhD programs, and most of the rest are working in positions related to First Nations communities.

University of Utah*

Made Specializations “optional” while also making two strategic hires (ecology and urban design), creating a very strong specialty area in Ecological Planning, Urban Design and Smart Growth.

California State Polytechnic University, Pomona*

One way the graduate planning program maintains its support of a diverse student population is by making its curriculum very accessible to non-traditional students. As previously stated, the majority of the classes taught in the Master in Urban and Regional Planning are at night. The faculty are experimenting with hybrid lecture/on-line instruction which will only provide greater educational flexibility to meeting its non-traditional student population. Class projects heavily immersed in the local community. Almost all of the classes in the graduate degree program have some connection to a real-life planning issue in a nearby community. This is no better illustrated than in the standard “planning theory” at Cal Poly Pomona: URP 512 – Urban and Regional Planning Theory and Practice. One of the educational outcomes for URP is “develop an awareness of how communication and group dynamics shape planning.” As a result, the students get a great opportunity to see planning thought (in this case theory) in action, while at the same time providing useful resources to local community planning leaders in terms of research and identification of possible alternative planning solutions that may not have previously considered.

Cornell University*

The internship program. MRP students enjoy a wide variety of internship opportunities in the summer between their first and second year in the program. With the aid of a subsidy from the Graduate School, the department offers stipends for a 10 week, 20 hours/week summer paid internship. Participating organizations are then asked to match the grant for the internship period. Despite the increase in enrollments virtually every student who wants an internship is able to secure a paid internship.

Michigan State University*

(1) The Study Abroad program is very well developed and integrated into the program and their activities. It effectively brings the global dimensions of planning into the curriculum and provides the students with a wonderful opportunity to experience planning from another perspective, thereby broadening their horizons.
(2) The Capstone Practicum experience was mentioned in the previous review as a strength of the program and it continues to be wonderful experience which enables students to learn what it means to be a professional planner. Five to six community projects are selected and the students work on them in small groups or teams. The planning process is followed from beginning to end (from data collection and goal setting through to implementation). This is considered a win/win situation for all involved students and community participants alike. This could serve as a model for other programs.

University of California, Irvine*

The UC Irvine COPC (Community Outreach Partnership) program was established in the Department of Planning, Policy, and Design in 2001, with funding from HUD. When HUD defunded COPC, the Program found resources to continue it. The UC Irvine COPC program provides opportunities for MURP students to engage local communities in Southern California through applied research on issues of concern to the community. As well, COPC had funded practicing planners to teach as adjuncts in the Program.

University of Pennsylvania

The curriculum is uniquely innovative in the way it has been structured to front-load the foundational courses in the first semester and put students into a demanding workshop course (essentially a first year studio) in their second semester. Students also take the introductory course in their concentration in the first year. This front-loading challenges students and provides flexibility for students who change their interest areas.

University of Utah*

Linkage of applied projects with courses – helps prepare students for “real world,” and nurtures potential employer relationships.

Governance

University of California, Los Angeles

Our faculty, staff, and students are intimately and collaboratively involved in departmental governance, and rely on a wide variety of performance measures and metrics to monitor our program. For example, we track, report, and discuss in both faculty and Assembly meetings detailed information on applicants to our programs, evaluations of these applications, the character and qualities of those admitted and those enrolled. We then invite and encourage feedback from students on best practices for admission and recruitment of top students. In this way, students can see their feedback in action during future admissions cycles, including when they become alumni and are involved in the recruitment of top students. Students and alumni are also invited to participate in the hiring process. During the process of the candidate’s interview, we routinely hold a session for alumni to meet the candidates and ask questions. Students also have a separate session to ask about teaching philosophy and approaches to equity, inclusion and diversity. All students and alumni are invited to attend the research talk of each candidate, and are sent a survey through which they can provide anonymous feedback to the Department. This feedback is used by the senate faculty in their deliberations.

Other Practices

Ball State University*

DesignWorks Summer Program for High School Students: The department is involved with DesignWorks, a high school summer workshop run by CAP. DesignWorks has traditionally been a two-week interdisciplinary workshop, although in recent years, the college has experimented with a one-week format. The program draws high school juniors and sophomores who are interested in environmental design and architecture and is designed to give students the full university experience and to expose them to the studio culture at CAP. Students stay on campus in dormitories and eat in the dining halls. Hands-on design problems and field trips occupy their time from dawn to dusk. The college plans to create a one-day seminar based on the same principles and take the program on the road to make it easier for students around the state to be exposed to the professions. The Department is also involved in the My Community, My Vision program.

Clemson University*

Public Service Assistantship program: requirement for second-year students, students work for local governments or planning firms two days a week (Monday and Friday; classes scheduled for Tuesday-Thursday to accommodate), receive financial aid.

Cleveland State University*

Matrix model of the college: specializations shared by programs within the college (planning, public administration, etc.); provides strong cross-disciplinary studies; allows for faculty and students to pursue diverse interest around a common theme of neighborhood, community and economic development; “The problem with this approach is that, in this matrix environment, it is often difficult to determine what faculty, courses and other resources are strictly planning for the purposes of accreditation.”

Columbia University*

Speed dating to connect current students with alumni for prospective employment.

Cornell University*

Two innovative student-led initiatives: (a) Design Connect – started by students in 2009 – it provides students with practical experience in planning and design. Project proposals are solicited from local communities, which are then reviewed by a board of 10 students. These proposals have been integrated into workshop classes; and (b) CRP Connect, a networking opportunity that connects alumni to each other and to current students. In addition, the SVT was impressed with the department’s newsletter, the Cornell Planner, which is sent to all current students, faculty and alumni and reports on departmental programs and activities. The newsletter is another student-run initiative.

Florida Atlantic University*

Community-engaged learning.

Florida State University*

The Program has a full-time Planner-in-Residence, a position that was conceptualized as providing a bridge between the Department’s academic programs and professional practice, who leads capstone studio classes. Florida State pioneered this model and has continued to develop it by giving a longer-term appointment to the planner-in-residence that has allowed her to be promoted and to become an easily identifiable contact person for practitioners who want to propose a studio project.

Iowa State University*

Collaborating with ISU Extension in teaching studios. The instructor works with ISU Extension Field Specialist based in the community to help provide the students access to local knowledge and local contacts. Selected students will have the option of working with the community as an intern after the completion of the class to help implement the recommendations from studio project.

Jackson State University*

Alumni in positions of leadership locally and in the state.

Rutgers University*

The NJAPA staff, the student representative and the faculty representative are in constant contact and run several events per month. These range from networking happy hours and guest speakers to continuing education and providing internships and jobs.

Temple University*

Center for Sustainable Communities: provides logistical and financial support for faculty research, interdisciplinary research with other campus units, and graduate research assistantships; integrated into program mission.

University of Buffalo*

Cross-disciplinary collaboration and Centers and Institutions. The Regional Institute is especially noteworthy as an integrating force for School-wide faculty, for providing research infrastructure, and projecting the regional scale of thinking and practice. In addition, a new overhead return policy creates incentives to continually increase the level of extramural support.

University of California, Irvine*

The Center for Unconventional Security Affairs, established in 2003, studies and develops solutions to “unconventional security challenges” at the intersection of major environmental and social problems, such as the social consequences of war, climate change, and flooding, through interdisciplinary field research. It is a campus-wide institution based in the Department of Planning, Policy, and Design that provides the Program’s students with opportunities to work on both domestic and international issues.

University of Cincinnati*

BA program co-op: paid professional experience and conduit to long-term employment.

University of Florida*

Online students generally complete the MURP program in 9 semesters, at an average 6 credits per semester. The typical online student is a working professional; the online delivery’s course sequencing is considered a best practice for programs designed for working professionals. Online courses are delivered entirely online over a period of eight weeks, which was the standard established by Pearson based on best practices in online education. Online students typically take one 3-credit course in the first half of the semester (A term), and one 3-credit course in the second half of the semester (B term), thus earning six credits per semester. The online studio and master’s project courses (URP 6341 and URP 6979), are 6 credits and occur across sixteen weeks. The on-campus and online internships typically occur over a one-semester period. Pedagogy techniques are shared across the on-campus and online delivery formats in both directions for mutual benefit and consistency.

In almost all courses shared between the on-campus and online delivery, lecture content derives from the same presentation slides. Faculty generally lecture live using PowerPoint slides to on-campus students, whereas lecture content is pre-recorded using voice over technologies for online lecture delivery. In several instances, on-campus courses have “flipped the classroom” to utilize pre-recorded lecture content for on-campus students outside of scheduled class time. Class periods are then used for discussion and question and answer sessions, which are recorded and posted for online students to access. This approach has been successfully implemented for the Specialization courses URP 6271 and URP 6280, and Elective course URP 6610. Instructors have also found creative ways to incorporate classroom interactions in the online courses, such as through discussion boards, peer review assignments, and real-time/synchronous sessions. Instructors have replicated experiential learning in the online courses through experiential assignments, including attending public planning meetings and conducting self-directed field trips.

University of New Mexico*

Attracting and maintaining an appropriately diverse faculty.

University of Oregon*

Experiential learning features prominently in the Community and Regional Planning Program (MCRP). In their second and third quarters, students work under the direction of faculty and selected second-year peers to develop plans and studies for governments and organizations in Oregon. The organizations fund these projects and serve as the clients for the student teams, which also allow students to hone their professional skills and explore new areas of work. Projects are overseen by teaching faculty focused on applied research. The program, termed “Community Planning Workshop,” occurs early in the curriculum by design; it is one embodiment of the program’s “learningplanning-by-doing-planning” philosophy. Over its nearly 40-year history, workshop projects have won state and national planning awards and have encompassed a wide range of topics, including: economic development studies, parks master plans, natural hazard mitigation projects, economic impacts of cultural events, riparian protection studies, and food market assessments. The Sustainable City Initiative (SCI) has been led by faculty in the Planning and Architecture departments but engages faculty and students from across the university. Each year an Oregon city or jurisdiction is designated as the Sustainable City Year Partner through a request for proposals process. The partner identifies a list of issues, projects and concerns, which the SCI staff match with compatible faculty and classes. As a result, student class assignments are real projects with clients that participate and receive the findings. Furthermore, many projects allow collaboration between disciplines such as planning, architecture, business, law, geography, economics and journalism. Students are energized by their “real world” work and clients are energized by the fresh ideas, energy and new perspectives that the students bring to projects.

Virginia Commonwealth University*

MURP enjoys strong reputation within the University including with the Provost and President.