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Eliza Pennypacker, ASLA, Named Head of Penn State Department of Landscape Architecture

Penn State Department of Landscape Architecture
Prof. Eliza Pennypacker, MLA, ASLA.

Prof. Eliza Pennypacker, MLA, ASLA, who has taught in the Penn State Department of Landscape Architecture since 1982, and headed the Department of Landscape Architecture from 1993 to 2000, has once again been named to lead the university's department of landscape architecture. She has been the interim department head since the beginning of the 2014.

Pennypacker expressed her excitement at the appointment, noting that landscape architects have never been as in-demand and respected as they are now.

Her career at Penn State includes posts as interim associate dean for research (1987), associate director of Institute for Arts and Humanities (1989-91) and director of campus planning and design (2000-2001).

Pennypacker received her MLA from the University of Virginia. She, along with Tom Yahner, have been researching design pedagogy, exploring how best to teach design, and give students the tools to develop their abilities and decision-making strategies. Design, she says, requires a thoughtful teaching style. The challenge for professors is to prepare young designers, but how much do you lead them, and how much independence do you give them? Such questions are part of their research in the design studio.

Another of Pennypacker's research interests is best management practices for stormwater. She and colleague Stuart Echols are working on a book on artful rainwater design (ARD), a term coined by Echols. The book is due out in early next year.

She believes ARD opens extremely important opportunities for landscape architects. While the engineers do the green infrastructure part, landscape architects can design sustainable and beautiful stormwater management.

Among her accomplishments are collaborating with Penn State faculty members John Lucas and Don Leon (architecture) and the late Veronica Burns Lucas (landscape architecture) to win the national design competition for the Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Pennypacker has been at Penn State for 32 years, and has watched the department grow. The successes include Penn State being name the top bachelor of landscape architecture program in the country twice in recent years by Design Intelligence. There have been opportunities to go elsewhere, but she feels the department's commitment to excellence, diversity of expertise and sense of community are without equal.

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July 20, 2019, 7:34 am PDT

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