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What makes a great planning program is an enduring question in planning. Some school have a period at the pinnacle: Penn in the late 1960s and early 1970s; UCLA in the 1980s; and so on. Others rise and fall. What makes a program great to work in for faculty or staff may not have as many benefits for students, and the reverse. However, if asked to propose key features of great programs, I would list the following.
Others may have different lists—as might I at some time. Most are variations on engaging core ethical concerns in planning, learning from diversity, playing well with others, and keeping a focus on important issues and the long term. Note that this is not about planning rankings but something a bit more difficult to quantify.
There are also many very good planning programs that do an excellent job producing practicing planners. But a great planning program needs to do something more.