Two faculty members at Texas A&M’s College of Architecture have been recognized for outstanding research and teaching with 2014 Distinguished Achievement Awards from The Association of Former Students.
Walter Gillis Peacock, professor of urban planning, earned an award for outstanding research achievements, and Kent Anderson, executive associate professor in the Master of Land and Property Development program, earned an award for teaching excellence.
Along with 22 fellow honorees, Peacock and Anderson will be formally presented with their awards at a 1:30 p.m. ceremony April 28 at Rudder Theatre.
Peacock, who heads the college’s Hazard Reduction and Recovery Center, has been the principal investigator or co-principal investigator in research projects totaling $4 million since joining the Texas A&M faculty in 2002.
His findings have been fundamental contributions in natural hazard and disaster research, often challenging existing ideas and assumptions about resiliency, said the College of Architecture’s leadership team in a letter nominating him for the award.
Peacock was one of the first scholars to recognize the significance of social vulnerability in disaster recovery, said the leadership team, developing an evidence-based model that was a breakthrough in quantifying household recovery after a disaster.
His work on vulnerability science contributed to the development of the Texas Coastal Communities Planning Atlas, an online, interactive geographic information system-based mapping tool that enables local communities, businesses and community-based organizations along the Texas coast to better understand their disaster risks and hazard vulnerabilities.
Peacock is also one of the leaders of an initiative to coordinate disaster resilience, vulnerability and risk reduction research on a national scale.
Along with fellow hazard researchers, sociologists, engineers, planners, architects, anthropologists, economists, geographers and seismologists, Peacock is helping to develop Creating a More Resilient America, a network which they foresee consisting of an initial set of research nodes performing regional resiliency and vulnerability research integrating the physical, social and engineering sciences focused on major urban and rural areas subject to natural hazards.
The Association of Former Students also recognized Kent Anderson, an executive associate professor in the Master of Land and Property Development Program, who has also headed his own land development firm since 2003.
“He is the kind of professor that only comes along once in your career,” said Glenn Goodrich ‘09 of Goodrich Realty Consulting LLC in McKinney, Texas in a letter nominating Anderson for the award. “He prepared me to excel in the world by providing insight into the mindset of an investor.”
Anderson, continued Goodrich, made his Master of Science in Land Development degree, the precursor to the MLPD degree, a bargain.
“My advice to any incoming student would be to take as many of his classes as you can,” he said. “I and his other former students are thankful for his ‘above and beyond’ approach and his genuine care for his students’ education.”
Anderson was also nominated for the award by the College of Architecture’s Student Advisory Council, which includes officers for the college’s 26 student organizations.
“He is not afraid to discuss the business failures along with the successes in his career,” said the students in nomination letter. “He takes students on field trips to his own development projects, detailing each step of the development process.”
Anderson brings more than three decades of real-world experience into the classroom, said Jesse Saginor, a former Texas A&M faculty member teaching at Florida Atlantic University.
“It is utterly impossible to put his knowledge into a textbook,” said Saginor in a nomination letter. “He provides students with meaningful projects associated with his industry contacts, providing students with valuable experience.”
Anderson’s impact, continued Saginor, extends far beyond the classroom.
Many of his former students have risen quickly through the ranks of land development companies and, in many cases, Anderson has been there every step of the way to provide advice and insight, he said.
Anderson is a role model for the department, said Forster Ndubisi, head of the Department of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning.
“He helps us all to become better teachers through his example and mentorship,” said Ndubisi. “He is an effective, caring teacher who seamlessly combines teaching with industry experience.”