Faculty Quality At Graduate Planning Schools Ranked

<p>Although published several years ago, Bruce Stiftel's research into faculty quality at U.S. graduate planning schools remains the most comprehensive review of graduate planning schools, and is the basis for a new proposal for a national system of measure.</p>
April 13, 2006, 1pm PDT | Chris Steins | @urbaninsight
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An academic journal article, "Faculty quality at U.S. graduate planning schools: a National Research Council-style study," appeared in the Journal of Planning Education and Research, volume 24, Fall 2004. Authors include Bruce Stiftel (former president of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP)), Deden Rukmana, and Bhuiyan Alam of Florida State University.

The paper assesses nine measures of planning school performance for 84 U.S. schools, and is available from Sage Journals Online, for a fee. Four comments appeared with this article, and the authors' reply to comments appeared in JPER, volume 24, number 2, December 2004.

Continuing work on planning school performance measurement is underway, according to leadt author, Bruce Stiftel. Specifically, on April 22, 2006, the Governing Board of the American Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP) will consider a proposal for a national system of urban planning school performance measurement (PSPM). This proposal, if adopted, would lead to a wide-ranging program aimed at portraying school performance across the full range of objectives sought by urban planning schools. (For more information about this proposal, see the links following this article.)

From the journal abstract:

"Faculty quality assessment methods of the National Research Council study of research doctorate programs are applied to U.S. urban and regional planning graduate programs. Findings suggest that about one-half of planning faculty actively publish and that there is considerable concentration of both publication and citation activity among a relatively small group of scholars and schools. Accredited and nonaccredited schools show substantial differences, as do doctoral degree-granting schools compared with master’s-only schools. The strengths and weaknesses of faculty quality measures used are discussed, leading to a call for other studies using different measures."

Following are a few excerpts from the journal article:

"Among planning educators, there has been a longstanding reluctance to publication of comparative performance measurements. Results of a national reputational survey included in the first printing of the first edition of the Guide to Graduate Education in Urban and Regional Planning (Susskind 1974) were deleted from the second printing, and such a study has never been replicated. In the years since, when the Planning Accreditation Board and the Executive Committee (now Governing Board) of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP) have considered school rankings, the weight of opinion has always been against undertaking such an endeavor."

...Among the eighty-four urban planning schools studied are thirty-four schools offering doctoral degrees and fifty schools offering the M.C.P. or equivalent as their highest degree. Sixty eight of the schools have master’s degree programs accredited by PAB; sixteen master's programs are not accredited. Eleven schools are part of private universities; seventy-three are part of public universities.

We calculate the percentage of full-time faculty of the school who published any article indexed in the ISI database for the years 1998 to 2002. ...We [also] calculated the total number of citations in the ISI database by all faculty in each school for the years 1998 to 2002.

The top three faculty with the greatest number of publications include:

  • 1 Judith H. Hibbard, University of Oregon, with 17 publications
  • 2 George C. Galster, Wayne State University, with 16 publications
  • 3 Lois M. Takahashi, University of California, Los Angeles, with 14 publications

    The top three faculty with the greatest number of citations include:

  • 1 Michael Storper, University of California, Los Angeles, with 5,543 citations
  • 2 Manuel Castells, University of California, Berkeley, with 5,338 citations
  • 3 John R. Logan, State University of New York, Albany, with 5,086 citations

    ...Graduate urban planning education in the United States now involves the effort of 844 full-time faculty working at eighty-four schools. A disproportionate number of these schools are at America’s research universities: more than half are at Research I universities as classified by the Carnegie Foundation. Only 13 percent are at private universities. School size is quite small, with the average planning school employing
    only ten full-time faculty members. The seniority of urban planning faculty is not significantly different from national norms in higher education: about half are full professors."

    [Editor's note: This is a fee-based article, and access to the article costs $25.]

  • Full Story:
    Published on Wednesday, September 1, 2004 in Journal Of Planning Education And Research
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