October 22, 2008

The University of Kentucky College of Agriculture's undergraduate landscape architecture program is listed in the top 15 in the nation by a national publication in its annual survey of architecture and design schools.

DesignIntelligence, a bi-monthly publication promoting quality design education, ranked UK No. 15 nationally among 54 schools in its ninth edition of "America's Best Architecture and Design Schools."

"This is the first time this publication has included UK in its rankings," said Horst Schach, UK Department of Landscape Architecture chair. "This has been a rewarding year for our program. First, the fifth-year studio won a national honor award for their work in Kenton County and now this national ranking. Our landscape architecture students should feel confident that they are getting a high-quality education, and they are prepared to work in any size firm or agency throughout the country."

Schach said UK's landscape architecture program provides a broad-based education combined with an intensive, professional curriculum that fosters creative problem solving, critical thinking and aesthetic sensitivities associated with the design profession. Graduates must have an understanding of natural and social systems to plan, design and manage the natural and human environments that enhance the quality of life.

The five-year curriculum is structured to expose students to a variety of planning and design challenges which seek to develop analytical skills in the theoretical realm, as well as "real world" situations which require the development of concepts and solutions in a manner that allows students to communicate them to others. While being qualified to attain an entry level position in the profession is a realistic expectation, the program strives to prepare individuals for life-long learning and leadership within the profession.

DesignIntelligence and the Design Futures Council conduct an annual, nationwide survey of leading firms across the United States, in conjunction with the Almanac of Architecture and Design.

The survey determines the top colleges and universities for architecture, landscape architecture and interior design in the United States because, in the council's opinion, quality matters. A cross-section of U.S. firms with a disbursed geographic profile, including firms that are leaders in their market sector and have won major national, state, local and market-sector awards, were surveyed. They were asked to indicate which accredited programs in the past five years produced graduates most prepared for today's and tomorrow's real-world practices. 

The survey was targeted to those individuals -- directors of design, managing principals and human resource directors -- in each firm who have direct experience with the hiring and performance of graduates. Approximately 270 firms and organizations, comprising a total of 568,500 employees participated in this year's research.

DesignIntelligence is published by Atlanta-based Greenway Communications for the Design Futures Council and is aimed at leaders seeking to improve the built environment and the design professions.

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