The Bachelor of Science in Regional Planning program at Indiana University of Pennsylvania was recently reaccredited by the Planning Accreditation Board, a national organization responsible for professional educational protocols at 77 North American universities comprising 72 master’s programs and 16 bachelor’s programs. The decision to reaccredit the BS in Regional Planning program was voted by PAB at its meeting, which coincided with the 2016 annual conference of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning in Portland, Oregon. Representing the IUP program were program director Calvin Masilela and Sudeshna Ghosh.
The program is the only accredited undergraduate program in Pennsylvania, and was first accredited by PAB in 2012, offering two concentrations: Environmental Planner and Land Use/Geographic Information Systems. The accreditation process is a comprehensive review that involves a program self-study and a site visit team assigned by PAB to assess the program’s strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for growth and improvement.
During its 2016 site review, the team noted that “the Regional Planning program fills an important niche within the region.” The review also noted that “the program has an exceptionally strong planning student organization (winners of the 2016 APA Outstanding PSO Awards at the national level), and the faculty appears good at bringing in outside funding while having strong relationships with neighboring agencies and organizations, allowing students to intern and work on projects within the region.” In addition, the site visit team review states that “the program has strong support from alumni, employers and Chapter APA members.”
According to Masilela, this strong endorsement “reflects the hard work and dedication of our faculty, the university, and the support of our professional practicing planning community that has afforded us the opportunity to build a program that strives to be the best undergraduate program in the mid-Atlantic, as reflected in our draft strategic plan.” The site visit team also made recommendations the program has embraced, including the timely completion of the program strategic plan and some curriculum modifications designed to strengthen the content of concentrations. “Significant progress has already been made to address these issues,” noted Department Chair John Benhart, Jr.
Located in the Department of Geography and Regional Planning in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, the Bachelor of Science in Regional Planning degree has been in existence since 1972. The program’s mission is to provide opportunities for our students, planning professionals, and citizens of a diverse regional community to master fundamental and innovative planning principles. The program trains students to become professional planners through a process that emphasizes conceptual knowledge, experiential learning, applied planning skills, and civic engagement. Planning students are also trained to take a comprehensive view, hear and speak for all citizens, reconcile controversy, and propose alternatives that can guide community decision making in allocating scarce resources to create better places to live.