Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA)


Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning

Committee Chair(s)

Michael L. Timmons


Michael L. Timmons


Keith Christensen


Randy Williams


This study presents an examination of the history of the Department of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning. The study uses both qualitative and quantitative methods to produce a holistic view of the events that influenced change with the Department and it is presented through a social constructionist lens. The qualitative methods were primarily driven by oral history interviews with former faculty, as well as analysis by the author of historical documents. The quantitative analysis involved the use of an alumni survey to measure changes in demographics, values, predispositions, and perceptions regarding the LAEP Department amongst the student body, and how those changes influenced the Department.

The historical findings are presented as a narrative from the origins of the Department in the late 1930s to 2014, covering the first seventy-five years of the program. The narrative is broadly organized into chronological sections (1939-1964, 1964-1972, 1972-1983, 1983-2001, 2001-2014), and broken up further by specific themes that run throughout the narrative (leadership, faculty, program development, facilities, technology, and student body). This thesis found that throughout the first seventy-five years of the Department’s history, change has been brought-about by numerous internal and external forces, and the people involved in the creation and development of the LAEP Department were influenced by a broad range of social and professional trends. Notably, the creation of a core faculty in the 60s and 70s set the agenda for changes that occurred within the LAEP Department for the next forty years, and that their strengths and weaknesses were manifest in the Department's development.