ISU’s landscape architecture program ranks in top 15 nationally

AMES, Iowa — Iowa State University’s undergraduate program in landscape architecture is ranked in the top 15 in the nation, according to a new survey of practitioners by DesignIntelligence.

The survey placed Iowa State’s program 11th in the United States. In addition, Rob Whitehead, assistant professor of architecture, and Hale Selek, lecturer in industrial design, were named two of the 30 most admired design educators in the nation for 2015 (see related story).

DI seal

DesignIntelligence is a bimonthly publication for leaders in design professions. The magazine’s annual report, “America’s Best Architecture and Design Schools,” is the only national college ranking survey that focuses exclusively on design. Rankings cover accredited programs in architecture, industrial design, interior design and landscape architecture. Published in the November-December issue of DesignIntelligence, the 15th annual survey was conducted in mid-2014 on behalf of the Design Futures Council.

The DesignIntelligence survey ranks programs from the perspective of leading practitioners. The publication contacted leaders in more than 1,400 professional firms who have direct experience hiring and supervising recent graduates in each of the four design fields represented. They were asked the following question: In your firm’s hiring experience in the past five years, which schools are best preparing students for success in the profession? They also were asked about additional issues, such as how programs rate in teaching various skills.

Landscape architecture program

Iowa State’s undergraduate landscape architecture program ranked 11th this year. It also ranked 11th in 2014 and 2010, and has rated among the top 15 programs for nine of the past 10 years. (DesignIntelligence began ranking landscape architecture programs in 2005.)

Louisiana State University ranked first, followed by Pennsylvania State University and Cornell University. There are 44 accredited undergraduate landscape architecture programs in the U.S., of which 30 — like Iowa State’s — are professional bachelor of landscape architecture (BLA) programs.

When all firms participating in the national survey ranked the Midwest’s top schools for undergraduate landscape architecture, Iowa State was number four. In this survey, the Midwest includes nine undergraduate programs in Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio and Wisconsin.

In a separate DesignIntelligence survey of current students, all (100 percent) of the Iowa State landscape architecture students who responded said they “believe they’ll be well prepared for their profession upon graduation.” All respondents also rated the program’s quality to be above average (21 percent) or excellent (79 percent).

“The landscape architecture faculty are pleased that our program continues to be ranked highly by firms that employ our graduates. We appreciate the ongoing recognition of the quality of our undergraduate education,” said Mark Chidister, interim chair of the ISU Department of Landscape Architecture.

“The fact that current students who responded to the survey believe they will be well prepared for the profession speaks equally highly of our program.”

The ISU landscape architecture department has 132 undergraduate majors and 18 faculty.