#Getting the Word Out

After reading Beau’s post about Mississippi State being on cutting edge of topics like Ecological Urbanism, I got to thinking about why we don’t get the press other places do. Why is Harvard hosting a conference on this topic instead of us? What’s stopping our department?

I think the one of our biggest failings is a lack of presence. We need to start making some noise about the research and projects going on at State, about the quality of our professors and students and the work we are putting out. We go to a good number of conferences, sure, and I think within landscape architecture academia we have a very good reputation. But we don’t put ourselves out there.

Look at our website. Now look at UC Berkeley’s. Look at SUNYs. Look at Georgia’s. So much opportunity to do better in just this one area. We need to be posting theses, professors’ articles, student work, service projects and awards. We need to be running a blog, keeping up with the latest projects and posting editorials about our stances on local, state and national issues relevant to the profession. We need to be showcasing alumni, providing a connection between current students and those who’ve gone on to successful careers. Providing a vibrant, up-to-date, informative website is vital to the future success and growth of the department. How else will prospective students discover us? They don’t go to CELA.

Another avenue we should look at is publishing our own journal. UC Berkeley just started a student-run journal, called Ground Up, that they are publishing on the web and in print. They started with a topic (“an examination of a critical theme arising from the tension between contemporary landscape architecture, ecology and pressing cultural issues”) and are running with it, putting out a call for submissions.

If we are to ever raise the profile of the department, these are steps I feel we need to take. Like Beau said, WE need to host the next conference on ecological urbanism. WE need to be submitting articles to startup journals like Ground Up, building connections to other prominent programs. WE need to be telling the world how good of a program we have at Mississippi State, and the web is the place to do it.

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