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Ann Forsyth's blog

Managing Time in Graduate School

Recently, a number of students have asked me questions about a similar topic—managing time. In graduate school there are deadlines. Some required tasks are not things you would choose to do unless forced—just like the world of work. At the same time one has a relatively large amount of flexibility as to how one organizes time to get it done. The tips below aim to help you figure out an approach to this difficult issue. They draw on my own observations. However, my able researchassistant Amanda Wilson provided some additional comments and I quote her fromtime to time! Errors are of course mine.

Should I do a PhD in Planning?

In coming weeks doctoral applications in planning are due. Why apply?

For professional planners, a PhD sometimes sounds interesting compared with doing a regular job in a municipality. Some designers remember studio professors who seemed to float into class, unprepared, for a few hours per week. Compared with the ups and downs of private design practice, this can seem quite appealing. Of course, some people genuinely like studying and research, want to make a contribution in that area, and have a flair for teaching.

Planning Education: How Important is Having a Good Teacher?

 As students have been choosing classes over the last year, one question I’ve received is: how important is the teacher vs. the subject matter? In general, I argue, your own attitude is the most important factor in how well you learn. However, truly terrible teaching can make that more difficult and truly wonderful teaching can change your life for the better.

Planning Processes: Some Resources

Over the last six months some of my blog entries have highlighted plans and places. This month I turn to processes that are important in planning. This is a bit trickier than plans and places as the web presence of processes tends to be dominated by project examples and how-to instructions. It’s also hard from the web to get a sense of how processes have developed over time—for example what passes as rational comprehensive planning today, complete with numerous participatory processes and evaluation strategies, is quite different from the much criticized technical model of the 1950s and 1960s. Of course that’s a good reason to go to planning school.

Planning History: A Few of the Late 19th and 20th Century Places you Should Know

Earlier blogs have explored books and journals for finding out about the basics of planning history. In this blog I add to this by listing a just few of the places it is important to recognize as a planner. It is of course difficult to make such lists but students ask for them with some frequency. Of course, places are one thing and planning processes quite another--and in planning process is very important. Upcoming blogs will deal with plans and processes.