BLACKSBURG, Va., Feb. 7, 2011 – Virginia Tech’s undergraduate programs in architecture and landscape architecture, both in the School of Architecture + Design, College of Architecture and Urban Studies, ranked No. 4 and No. 3, respectively, in the 12th annual America’s Best Architecture & Design Schools study conducted by the journal DesignIntelligence. The school’s programs in interior design and industrial design also ranked in the study’s top 10 in their respective fields.
Virginia Tech’s graduate landscape architecture program, offered in both Blacksburg and in the National Capital Region, has been ranked No. 4 in North America.
“We are encouraged by the recognition our graduates have received by the architecture and design communities,” said Jack Davis, the Reynolds Metals Professor of Architecture and dean of the College of Architecture and Urban Studies. “We know the importance of preparing students to be successful, especially in a challenging economic environment.”
The study, conducted each year by DesignIntelligence on behalf of the Design Futures Council, uses the perspective of leading practitioners to determine its rankings. Professionals from some of the leading firms in the country were asked to share their opinion about which academic programs give students the best preparation for professional practice in their field. The study also presents the results from surveys given to deans and program chairs on their peers’ performance and to current architecture students on their satisfaction about their education. This year’s study continues a trend of high rankings for programs within the School of Architecture + Design.
Virginia Tech’s undergraduate architecture program is ranked No. 4 in this year’s survey, marking the fifth straight time the program has been ranked in the top 5 in North America. The university’s graduate architecture program is ranked No. 12. When asked to rank the preparedness of recent graduates in several vital knowledge and skill areas, the industry professionals ranked the Virginia Tech graduates in the top five in the areas of analysis and planning, communication, construction methods and materials, and sustainable design practices. In the peer assessment survey, deans and department chairs ranked the program as the No. 3 most admired program, citing, “high admission standards, excellent facilities, and innovative pedagogy,” according to the study. More than 90 percent of students in the university’s undergraduate and graduate architecture programs said they believed the program was ‘above average,’ or ‘excellent,’ and similar percentage said they believed they are well prepared for professional practice upon graduating.
Virginia Tech’s undergraduate landscape architecture program is ranked No. 3 this year and is among the top five programs for the second consecutive year, an honor shared by the university’s graduate program in landscape architecture, which is ranked No. 4 this year. Industry professionals rank the knowledge and skills of the programs’ graduates as among the top five in the areas of communication, computer applications and design.
The undergraduate interior design program at Virginia Tech ranked No. 6 in this year’s study, and has been ranked in the top 10 in four of the last six years. The graduate program in interior design is ranked No. 10. Industry professionals ranked the skills and knowledge of the programs’ graduates as among the top five in the areas of communication and computer applications.
Virginia Tech’s undergraduate program in industrial design ranked No. 10 this year, marking the third consecutive year the program has ranked among the top 15 in North America. When asked to rank the preparedness of recent graduates in several vital knowledge and skill areas, industry professionals ranked the Virginia Tech graduates in the top five in the area of computer applications.
Two Virginia Tech professors were among the 25 named Most Admired Educators in North America for 2011: Robert Dunay, the director of the Center for Design Research in the School of Architecture + Design and the T. A. Carter Professor of Architecture; and Ronald Kemnitzer, chair of the industrial design program.
Virginia Tech’s College of Architecture and Urban Studies is composed of four schools: the School of Architecture + Design, including architecture, industrial design, interior design and landscape architecture; the School of Public and International Affairs, including urban affairs and planning, public administration and policy and government and international affairs; the Myers-Lawson School of Construction, which includes building construction in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies and construction engineering management in the College of Engineering; and the School of the Visual Arts, including programs in studio art, visual communication and art history.