Kent State University’s College of Architecture and Environmental Design will offer three new master’s degrees beginning in fall 2014. The new offerings will expand the depth and breadth of the college’s degree offerings and allow Kent State to better prepare architects, interior designers and other design professionals for the demands of the 21st century.
The new degree offerings are Master of Health Care Design, Master of Landscape Architecture and Master of Science in Architecture and Environmental Design. Final approval of the degrees was granted by the Chancellor of the Ohio Board of Regents on Dec. 22, 2013.
Master of Health Care Design
The Master of Health Care Design is a post-professional degree that focuses on the design and performance of healthcare environments. The degree is for professionals with a demonstrated level of competency in their respective field.
“This is a one-of-a-kind degree in the state of Ohio,” said Douglas Steidl, dean of Kent State’s College of Architecture and Environmental Design. “With the healthcare industry prominent as an economic driver in the nation, especially in Northeast Ohio, and given the projected increased demand for public health services, this degree will equip professionals with requisite and relevant skills unique to the industry.”
With professional development in mind and the exceptional density of nationally prominent hospitals and health facilities in Northeast Ohio and Western Pennsylvania, this degree will offer students access to seasoned professionals with significant experience in the healthcare design industry.
“There is a real concentration of healthcare providers in this region,” Steidl noted. “In Cuyahoga County, the two largest employers are the Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals. In Summit County, the largest employer is Summa Health System, and the second is Akron General.”
The Master of Health Care Design is a direct response to the needs of the profession, said William Willoughby, associate dean and associate professor in Kent State’s College of Architecture and Environmental Design.
“There is so much innovation and invention in the delivery system of healthcare in Northeast Ohio,” Willoughby said. “It’s a dynamic marketplace.”
Master of Landscape Architecture
The Master of Landscape Architecture is a professional degree program that will be offered at Kent State’s Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative, located in downtown Cleveland’s PlayhouseSquare District. The program will provide graduates with the requisite intellectual base for adapting to the design challenges facing communities today.
“Cleveland and other older industrial cities in the Northeast could use landscape architects to improve the environment,” Steidl said. “This even includes things such as water quality and how design affects Lake Erie and the Great Lakes watershed.”
The program will engage in design and research within the region with the goal of improving the environmental health and well-being of the built and grown landscapes of Northeast Ohio with the broader intent of impacting design concepts beyond the region.
While the program’s focus will be on urban landscape design, it is not limited to that, according to Steidl. It also will target issues such as inner-ring suburbs, agriculture, brownfields and industrial reclamation.
“It’s regionally specific because Northeast Ohio has some unique assets and qualities that landscape architects are qualified to enhance,” Willoughby said. “This is a worthy program for the future of our region.”
Master of Science in Architecture and Environmental Design
The Master of Science in Architecture and Environmental Design will provide students with a broad platform for research in areas deemed significant to design disciplines in the 21st century. The program will approach graduate education in environmental design as an opportunity to investigate more graceful relationships between humanity and the natural world.
“This is a research degree that will be open to anybody that has a bachelor’s degree in any accredited design program,” Steidl explained.
To ensure a more fulfilling profession in architecture and the allied environmental design arts, professionals will depend increasingly on an expanded mode of practice involving multidisciplinary collaborations and research, Willoughby said.
The diverse coursework in Kent State’s College of Architecture and Environmental Design, coupled with graduate offerings from other degree programs at the university, will provide students with opportunities to choose areas of research uniquely tailored to their interests.
“With this degree, we have certain areas of choice targeted to the specializations and the expertise of our various faculty members,” Willoughby said. These include high-performance and sustainable design; historic preservation and building forensics; digital design and fabrication; construction methods and materials; and design theories.
Having an Impact
Kent State has principal architects in 23 of the 25 largest architecture firms in Northeast Ohio, Steidl said.
“These three new degrees will result in Kent State having a greater impact on the community,” Steidl said. “At the end of the day, it’s really about impact. We’re looking at how to make the world a better place to live for everybody, and these offerings enhance what we are already doing.”
Representatives from Kent State’s College of Architecture and Environmental Design are actively seeking to recruit students for the new programs.
“It is an exciting opportunity to be among the first graduates from these new programs,” Willoughby said. “This first cohort of students with be right there alongside our faculty in helping to establish the direction and quality of each of these each degrees.”
For more information about Kent State’s College of Architecture and Environmental Design and its new degree programs, visit www.kent.edu/caed.