The West Virginia University Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design welcomes Judith Wasserman as the new director of the School of Design and Community Development.

Wasserman, whose first day at the Davis College was Jan. 29, arrived from the University of Georgia College of Environment and Design. At UGA, she served the college as director for the Master of Landscape Architecture program and interim director for the Master of Environmental Planning and Design program. She also worked on furthering the Advanced Visualization Initiative. Wasserman was involved with UGA’s diversity effort, and as diversity officer, authored the first diversity plan for the College of Environment and Design. In 2014-15, she was selected as a South Eastern Conference Academic Development Leadership Fellow.

Wasserman is eager to begin working with faculty within the School of Design and Community Development as she focuses on creating one cohesive school.

“This is a fantastic opportunity to work with stellar faculty members in a uniquely positioned school focused on multiple scales of design, community engagement, agricultural education, outreach and extension,” said Wasserman. “I look forward to working with each faculty member to help realize individual goals and visions while connecting disciplines for new possibilities of creative engagement.”

WVU Davis College Dean Daniel J. Robinson is pleased that Wasserman will fulfill an important leadership role for one of the college’s newly formed schools, created as a result of a strategic reorganization in 2014.

“The School of Design and Community Development creates a unique opportunity for us to bring together five of our really great fundamental programs into one school,” he said. “I’m excited for the opportunity that Judith will have to lead the school so that the programs continue to be strong individually, but also find ways to integrate across disciplines.”

The Davis College School of Design and Community Development, notable for the place-based orientation of its work, is made of up of five programs: agricultural and extension education; design studies; fashion, dress and merchandising; interior design; and landscape architecture.

A key focus point for Wasserman will be connecting disciplines to develop collaborative research and outreach projects not only within the school, but university-wide and beyond. Her initial goal is to develop a shared vision and identity.

“I’m eager to bring together these different disciplines and, ultimately, form a common vision for the school, developing a cohesive identity and really making a mark not only in the state of West Virginia, but on the international stage,” she said.

Wasserman is an elected member of the Board of the Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture. She also chairs accreditation evaluation teams for the American Society of Landscape Architects. Her published scholarship includes the design of urban environments for active use and health, California modernism in landscape architecture, and place-making for cultural meaning.

Wasserman, a three-time graduate of Cornell University, holds a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and professional master’s degrees in landscape architecture (MLA) and regional planning (MRP).



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