A Letter From the Chair

Gaining momentum in the Department of Planning and Landscape Architecture!

Greetings friends and alumni! We’ve been thinking about you over the past year-plus as we gain momentum in our new combined Department of Planning and Landscape Architecture. Now in our second academic year, the department is focused on refining our degree programs and strengthening our students’ experience. We are finding many new opportunities to explore!

URPL and LA Alumni are in a great position to help with this – especially with recruitment, enhancing the experience of current students, assisting recent graduates, and maintaining long-term connections among program alumni across the department. We are exploring new opportunities to connect with you through our student associations and our two alumni groups – the URPL Alumni Relations Council and the Landscape Architecture Alumni Advisory Council. Look for more information about those opportunities soon. We also encourage you to engage with the broader Badger Alumni community through the UW Foundation and Alumni Association. You can keep us up to date on your contact information and your personal or professional news (http://www.uwalumni.com/news-stories/alumni-notes/ ).

Ensuring rigorous and relevant academic programs and a safe, healthy, and supportive department climate for students, staff, and faculty is essential to success in our merged department. We’ve heard from a number of you over the past year about news coverage that highlighted negative behaviors associated with a now-retired faculty member in URPL and UW’s Nelson Institute, some of which affected alumni from years ago. As current department chair, I am sorry that anyone, past or present, experienced the behaviors described in those reports and an environment that allowed them to occur. That issue and the ensuing reflection within our department has placed issues of climate, culture, and commitment to student experience at the forefront for all of us. We continue to engage with and learn from each other to create new norms and commitments that ensure PLA is an outstanding department for working, learning, and professional growth.

Finally, we are evolving our newsletter communications along with our integration and growth as a new department. While we’ll continue to reinforce the unique identity of each of our degree programs and alumni relationships, we will distribute our final editions of Connections and the Council Ring newsletters in early 2019. After that, look for a new format later next year focused on the entire department and interests that span our alumni communities.

Until then, best wishes from all of us here at UW-Madison. We’re excited to connect with you in 2019.


Ken Genskow

Professor and Chair

Photo of the CHair