MEPD program earns accolades and accreditation from Planning Accreditation Board

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The Master of Environmental Planning and Design program at the UGA College of Environment and Design was recently accredited by the Planning Accreditation Board (PAB), a national organization responsible for professional educational protocols at universities across the country. Jack Crowley, current director of the program, says this effort has been in the works for several years at UGA.

“In 2002 a small group of faculty in the College of Environment and Design and its dean determined that there was a need for professionals in planning who were educated in the physical planning and design of cities and the built environment in general,” Crowley explains. Design and planning for neighborhoods, cities, and regions have long been a part of the landscape architecture profession; this degree allows students to focus on large scale sites over the course of the two-year program. With the many challenges of climate change and shifting human demographics, the MEPD program wrestles with some of society’s most perplexing issues.

The first class of nine students started the 58-credit-hour program in the fall of 2009. More than 100 graduates have been through the program which is housed in the historic Tanner Building. At the 2016 fall conference of the Association of Colleges and Schools of Planning in Portland, Oregon, the Planning Accreditation Board voted to award UGA’s MEPD program accreditation. According to Crowley, the UGA MEPD is the most physical planning- and design- oriented accredited planning degree in the U.S.

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In the letter announcing the MEPD’s accreditation, the PAB emphasized several key strengths of the program, noting that:

“…[i]n its report the Site Visit Team noted many areas of excellence; the Program should be proud of its accomplishments. Specifically, the Site Visit Team found: an energetic, passionate, and collaborative faculty; and a program with a unique focus and emphasis on physical design tied to environmental concerns which excels in outreach to communities in other countries as well as within the state.”

The PAB accredits university programs based on standards recommended by the American Planning Association and other professional planning groups after a rigorous evaluation process, which occurred at the UGA College of Environment and Design last spring.