Rodiek inducted as CELA Fellow, Ndubisi named top U.S. educator

Bo Yang

Galen Newman

Sean Michael

Texas A&M faculty and students garnered several distinguished honors at the Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture Annual Conference held last Spring in Utah, including the induction of Jon Rodiek, longtime Texas A&M landscape architecture professor, into the council’s Academy of Fellows and an Outstanding Educator Award for Forster Ndubisi, head of the university’s Department of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning since 2004.

Rodiek elevated to CELA Academy of Fellows

In elevating Rodiek to its Academy of Fellows, the CELA board cited his lifetime of inspiring and significant accomplishments in teaching, scholarship, and service.

A leading voice in the field of landscape planning research and also a fellow in the American Society of Landscape Architects, Rodiek is known for advocating the application of relevant scientific information in design decisions. He conducted precedent-setting work in developing design and planning techniques for mined land reclamation, wildlife habitat protection, wetland identification and arid land planning. He is also a sought after authority on wetland classification and interpretation and the assessment and evaluation of landscape and wildlife habitat. His writings on these topics have been presented at national conferences around the world.

Rodiek was the inaugural recipient of the Fábos Medal  — an award honoring the legacy of landscape architecture pioneer Julius Gy.Fábos, principal developer of the Metropolitan Landscape Planning (METLAND) System for landscape assessment and planning.

Since joining the Texas A&M faculty in 1988, Rodiek has led numerous student community outreach projects yielding new parks and outdoor amenities benefiting thousands of Texas residents.

In a partnership with the Timber Lane Utility District in north suburban Houston, his students designed a series of parks and recreation spaces recognized for their excellence by the Houston-Galveston Area Council of Governments.

The parks include hike and bike trails, a skateboard park, fishing ponds and other attractions.

His students also created master plans for a 46-acre gardens and greenway project surrounding the Texas A&M College of Agriculture and Life Science buildings; the Texas A&M University at Galveston Pelican Island campus; the Coastal Bend Regional Park in Corpus Christi, Texas; the Gulf Coast Trades Center in New Waverly, Texas, and many others.

In addition to earning numerous university and departmental teaching awards, Rodiek is a distinguished alumnus of the Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning of the University of Massachusetts, where he earned a Ph.D. in natural resources planning, master’s degrees in forestry and landscape architecture and an undergraduate degree in landscape architecture.

Ndubisi is CELA Outstanding Educator

CELA’s 2016 Outstanding Educator, Forster Ndubisi has made significant contributions to the landscape architecture discipline, including excellence in teaching, research, public service, and outreach.

Under his tenure as LAUP department head, Texas A&M’s graduate and undergraduate landscape architecture programs have been annually ranked among the nation’s best by the Design Futures Council, a leading design industry collaborative.

Ndubisi’s numerous distinctions include membership in the American Society of Landscape Architects’ Council of Fellows, an Outstanding Administrator Award from CELA in 2011, and recognition from the Design Futures Council in 2009 and 2010 as one of the 25 Most Admired Educators in America’s Architecture and Design Schools.

“He has forged a full and dedicated career that includes an unselfish excitement, each day, for the opportunity to impart the knowledge necessary in shaping the next generation of successful landscape architects,” said Margaret Robinson, president of the Texas ASLA chapter, in her letter nominating Ndibusi for the ASLA Council of Fellows.

Ndubisi’s publications include “The Ecological Design and Planning Reader,” a compilation of classic and contemporary writings illustrating key themes shaping the theory and practice of ecological design and planning.

He authored “Ecological Planning: A Historical and Comparative Synthesis,” lauded by Sally Schauman, an instructor in Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment, as a complete overview and comparative analysis that place the ideas of landscape planning into a set of developing concepts within a historical context.

Other 2016 CELA honorees

Also at CELA’s 2016 gathering in Utah, Galen Newman, assistant professor in the Department of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning, earned a $25,000 award supporting his research to develop planning solutions for shrinking cities.

Wonmin Sohn, a doctoral student in urban and regional sciences, earned a best poster award for her design to reduce polluted storm water runoff from parking lots at Texas A&M.

Bo Yang, who earned a Ph.D. in Urban and Regional Sciences in 2009, earned CELA’s Excellence in Research Award. He is now an associate professor for the Department of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning at Utah State University.

The convention also marked the end of a successful tenure as CELA president by Ming-Han Li, professor of landscape architecture.

In a term-ending letter to the organization, Li recounted CELA’s major 2015-16 initiatives, which included updates to the group’s strategic plan, the launch of a mentoring program, sharing research data with allied organizations, and many more.

The conference’s host committee was led by Sean Michael, who earned a Master of Landscape Architecture degree at Texas A&M in 1992. Michael is head of Utah State’s Department of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning.

posted June 29, 2016