While the University’s College of Art and Design will greet its typical cluster of recent high school graduates, it will also welcome a second group of freshmen: five new architecture professors and two new landscape architecture professors.
The seven vacancies were mostly due to retirement but also from some professors taking higher positions both at the University and abroad. Such an influx of new professors is not typical — it signals a transitional movement in the architecture programs at the University, according to Director of the School of Architecture Jori Erdman.
Erdman said she believes many of the new hires were attracted to the University because it offers an interesting research opportunity, something not typically found in an architecture program: engaging in coastal sustainability.
One example is the University’s Coastal Sustainability Studio, which gives architects a rare opportunity to have a voice and work with engineers and scientists about how people will interact with different coastal projects, Erdman said.
New architecture professor Catherine Bonier said she has already spoken with people involved in the Coastal Sustainability Studio and is looking to learn more about the region and ways she can utilize her skills in architecture to make a difference.
Bonier said she and the rest of her new colleagues posses knowledge and wide skill-set in coastal and environmental sustainability.
Bonier specializes in the relationship between inhabitants of a region and the water. The University appealed to Bonier because of its unique engagement with water, one she had not encountered before visiting the area.
Director of the School of Landscape Architecture Bradley Cantrell said the landscape architecture program is also moving towards more involvement in coastal change.
Cantrell said landscape architects focus on using natural elements as a medium and that the region in Baton Rouge and surrounding areas provides an ever-changing environment for landscape architects to work and learn about the coast.
The school is a leader in coastal change, specializing in how to build with a changing environment, he said.
Cantrell said the new professors will be able to research ways in which people interact with their environment and in turn how those interactions affect economy and commerce.
The two new professors will bring the University a new and interesting slant to the coastal conservation discussion, merging the changing environment with the changing economy, Cantrell said.
“I think this round of faculty will move us forward and show that we are already moving forwards,” Erdman said.