Updates from ASLA


West Virginia University Program Saved

West Virginia University /, Backyard Production

Grappling with a $45 million budget shortfall, West Virginia University (WVU) announced sweeping university-wide cuts over the summer, including BSLA and MLA landscape architecture degree programs.

Key factors that led to the Provost’s Office Preliminary Recommendations included: enrollment declines, an increase in faculty, a below median ratio of faculty-to-program majors, and expenses exceeding revenues for the years of analysis. The program had until August 18 to submit a notice of intent to appeal. 

With support from students, faculty, alumni, members of the West Virginia ASLA chapter, and connections through the ASLA community, the WVU landscape architecture program put together a strong appeal case. Through dozens of support letters from firms and individuals, and almost 1,500 signatures on a sign-on letter, the case was made to keep the landscape architecture programs. One key argument: the profession and the programs provide important work to the local and regional community in West Virginia.

To address concerns about the low student-to-faculty ratio, the program presented a plan to discontinue the MLA program, which would then allow for the delivery of the BSLA major with fewer faculty. WVU’s appeal case was strengthened by the recent inclusion of landscape architecture on the U.S. Department of Homeland Security STEM Designated Degree Program List.

On September 5, the WVU Provost’s Office announced the final recommendations from the appeals hearings, including a unanimous decision to keep the BSLA program. “The School made a strong case for retaining the BSLA major by demonstrating it could achieve efficiencies while addressing the needs of landscape architecture students who do not have a similar degree program to pursue here at the University,” Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Maryanne Reed said.

The successful appeal comes with requirements to provide the Provost’s Office with a recruitment and marketing plan to increase first-time freshmen enrollment in the program and set a target enrollment to achieve by fall 2026.

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