Pauline Hurley-Kurtz has a special perspective on the history of the four-year Landscape Architecture and Horticulture programs offered by Temple’s School of Environmental Design. She’s been there since nearly the very beginning.
“I joined the Department of Landscape Architecture and Horticulture as an adjunct faculty member when founding chair John Collins was establishing four-year programs in Horticulture and Landscape Architecture. I became a full-time faculty member in 1994 and was involved with growing our undergraduate programs, teaching both Horticulture and Landscape Architecture students in beginning drawing and design studios and seeing some of our first four-year students graduate,” said Hurley-Kurtz, Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture and Horticulture. “I was also part of the team that worked on the first Landscape Architecture accreditation process and was teaching a community planning studio at the time. It’s been a wonderful experience seeing our graduates become established leaders in so many aspects of the field, from private design firms to municipal and city government to establishing their own businesses — many have also assumed leadership roles in their professional organizations.”
It’s fitting that with the 25th anniversary of the establishment of Temple’s Department of Landscape Architecture and Horticulture coming next year that a new chapter is being written in Professor Hurley-Kurtz’s personal history with the program as she takes on the mantle of the chair of the department.
“Please join me in congratulating Pauline on her new role,” said Teresa Scott Soufas, Dean of the School of Environmental Design and the College of Liberal Arts. “I know that Pauline will continue to build on the tradition of excellence in the department. I also extend my gratitude to Mary Myers for her wonderful leadership of the department.”
Dr. Myers, Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture, chaired the department for the past several years and will continue to teach and conduct research in the Landscape Architecture program.
“It is a tremendous honor to chair a department with such a rich history, dating back more than 100 years to the Pennsylvania Women’s School of Horticulture. Our faculty and staff also extend our sincere thanks to Dr. Myers for strong leadership and especially her initiative and commitment to establishing our new Master of Landscape Architecture (MLArch) program,” said Hurley-Kurtz, who served as Acting Chair of the Department of Landscape Architecture and Horticulture during Spring and Summer. “From the inception of our programs, there have been so many accomplished leaders in our department. This is a tremendous opportunity and I look forward to working closely with our accomplished senior faculty, Dr. Lolly Tai, Dr. Myers and Professor Baldev Lamba, who have all served previously as our Department chair, as we go forward. ”
As chair, Professor Hurley-Kurtz will work with faculty on curriculum development in both the Horticulture and Landscape Architecture programs. The Department’s collaboration with Dr. Deborah Howe, Chair of the Department of Community and Regional Planning and CRP faculty in the development of School of Environmental Design minors and green certificates “has been positive and similar inter-disciplinary initiatives will be supported as they arise,” said Hurley-Kurtz.
“We have a very productive faculty committed to excellence in teaching, research, creative work and community service. Our faculty are involved in plants and landscape research and creative work designed to restore our communities and improve the world in which we live. Landscape Architecture and Horticulture faculty will continue interdisciplinary research with the Center for Sustainable Communities, led by Dr. Jeffrey Featherstone — a tremendous opportunity for applied research”
Part of the upcoming department anniversary celebrations will be about showcasing and celebrating the accomplishments of Landscape Architecture and Horticulture faculty, students and alumni in teaching, research, creative work and service from the department’s first 25 years.
“We will also work with our alumni and faculty to help create opportunities for our current students and graduates, and together will explore short and long term goals for our department, including international initiatives. The scope of the landscape architecture and horticulture professions is expanding. ” Hurley-Kurtz said. “Temple’s programs strive to be on the forefront of providing an excellent education for students to become successful upon graduation. Many of our May 2012 graduates have full-time positions in the field.”
The employment market, she said, continues to improve in the public and private sectors — “so too do our programs continue to expand their scope.” The new MLArch program, which has a concentration in landscape restoration, for example, is preparing graduates to address current, critical environmental issues, she added.
“Our students in Horticulture and Landscape Architecture benefit from our beautiful 187-acre Ambler Arboretum, which is integrated into our curriculum as a living laboratory. Our Horticulture staff, led by Anne Brennan, does a tremendous job supporting the educational components of our curriculum, faculty and student research and community initiatives in addition to maintaining our beautiful gardens,” said Hurley-Kurtz. “We also work closely with both Ambler Arboretum Director Jenny Rose Carey and (Ambler Campus) Director of Development Linda Lowe on various projects, including garden installation, restoration, scholarships and internships. All these efforts support a strong hands-on component in curricula, which our graduates are recognized for.”
Professor Hurley-Kurtz came to Temple trained as a landscape architect and horticulturalist. Her design and research interests focus on memorial and healing gardens with a strong emphasis on planting design incorporating native plants. She led the design and installation of the Ernesta Ballard Healing Garden at Ambler, a project inspired by Temple’s award-winning 2006 Philadelphia International Flower Show Exhibit “Nature Nurtures, Mind, Body and Spirit” developed in the Landscape Architecture Design Build Studio led by Professor Hurley-Kurtz. She was additionally faculty coordinator for Best in Show winning “The Poetic Landscape of Ireland” featured at the Philadelphia Flower Show in 2007.
Professor Hurley-Kurtz was the design landscape architect for the award winning Philadelphia Irish Memorial project located at Front and Chestnut streets. The project was dedicated in 2003 and includes a large figurative bronze sculpture by Glenna Goodacre within a memorial park designed by Hurley-Kurtz that recalls elements of the Irish and Pennsylvania landscapes. This project has led to extensive on-going research on Irish Memorials around the world.
For the well-received John Collins Drawing Collection, Professor Hurley-Kurtz assisted in the development of a gift of twenty-nine drawings and prints by Collins to the School of Environmental Design and the Landscape Architecture and Horticulture Department. She was also the faculty coordinator for the permanent exhibit and interpretive graphics installed in 2011 in the Ambler Campus Learning Center.
While taking on the role of department chair, Hurley-Kurtz will continue to be involved in teaching.
“We have fantastic students who are winning prestigious scholarships and national awards for their work in studios and research” said Hurley-Kurtz.
Student projects developed in the Francisville Community Planning Studio and led by Hurley-Kurtz and Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture Robert Kuper won regional and national Ambler Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) Honor awards in 2011. Two students in the first graduating class in the MLArch program — Anna Anisko and Donna Shumpert — each won Pennsylvania/Delaware ASLA Honor awards for their Public Lands Studio projects, led by adjunct faculty Emily McCoy of Andropogon Associates, in 2012.
“Along with excellent students, faculty and staff in our department, we enjoy strong support from the administration and colleagues in the College of Liberal Arts, led by Dean Teresa Soufas and the Ambler Campus, led by Executive Director William Parshall,” Hurpey-Kurtz said. “I look forward to working with my colleagues in this new role and together shaping the next chapter in the Department of Landscape Architecture and Horticulture.”