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American Society of Landscape Architects


October 2004 Issue

The CEOs of Academia
Increasingly, landscape architects are becoming deans at leading colleges. How did they get there, and how do they define their powerful roles?

By Frank Edgerton Martin

The CEOs of Academia
Curtis Parker/

"What on earth are you doing as dean of the agriculture faculty?"

Moura Quayle has heard that question often over the past seven years as dean of the University of British Columbia's Faculty of Agricultural Sciences. Her career path from private practice to teaching and finally to the powerful role of dean reflects a growing trend for landscape architects. No longer limited to being heads of small departments overshadowed by architecture or research sciences, landscape architects—a small but growing group of them—are now leading multidisciplinary design, agricultural, and humanities colleges from coast to coast. Their stories point out the collaborative strength of the profession as well as the need to foster leadership and executive skills in practitioners so that they may be more effective in the political, corporate, and educational realms.

Quayle's story is fairly typical of landscape architects working as academic deans. After studying landscape architecture at the University of Guelph, Quayle started her own firm in Victoria, British Columbia, then worked in Montréal before receiving an MLA at UC-Berkeley in the early 1980s. "I knew I wanted to teach and in fact did my graduate thesis on design education." For 13 years she held a joint appointment in architecture and landscape architecture at the University of British Columbia. In 1997, she was appointed dean.

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