College of Architecture, Planning and Design uses 2025 plan to build off success

Seaton Hall renovations are expected to start in fall 2015. The dean of the College of Architecture, Planning, and Design, Tim de Noble, said that he wanted the building to be inviting to students. (George Walker | The Collegian)

Tim de Noble, dean of the College of Architecture, Planning and Design, said the national success of a college is based on a simple question: Which program’s graduates are best prepared to make an immediate impact in the profession?

“That’s the kind of overall statement and question,” de Noble said. “And that’s why we rank so highly.”

The college is nationally ranked in the top 10 for its landscape architecture, interior architecture and architecture programs and is the highest ranked academic unit in Kansas.

De Noble said he sees the 2025 plan as a way to capitalize and improve upon the college’s success.

“The really wonderful thing about 2025 is that it has helped us jell our pursuit of excellence that we’ve always been involved in,” de Noble said. “The tendency is to look at 2025 and assume that before we formed that vision together, we were somehow not focused on the future. I think our college has long been in the pursuit of excellence in areas of research and service.”

The college’s 2025 plan is called, “AP Design VOICE.” VOICE stands for visionary, outreach service learning, infrastructure, community and engagement. De Noble said the college’s facilities are the biggest things holding them back, which will change when a $75 million Seaton Hall renovation begins in fall 2015.

Rachel Rankin, sophomore in landscape architecture, said the new Seaton building will open doors to how students in all disciplines of architecture think about buildings and spaces.

“Although Seaton looks classic and beautiful from the front, it is outdated and old,” Rankin said. “Seaton does not at all reflect the aspirations of the college to become a culturally relevant building.”

According to de Noble, the renovation is not just about a shiny new building.

“We want Seaton Hall to be a nexus of inter-disciplinary activity, he said. “I am someone who believes the design professions need to be much more involved in the course of our society. I want our building to be inviting. I want students who are studying geography, art, business and engineering to meet our building with our students and be a part of creating better solutions for our society.”

Other key aspects of the college’s 2025 plan include new programs to better accommodate minority, transfer and graduate students.

“We needed to find ways for more students, particularly nontraditional and those from diverse backgrounds, to be able to be a part of our community at AP Design,” de Noble said. “Before, our programs were structured primarily for high schools seniors or transfers going on and getting the five-year graduate degree.”

As part of the 2025 plan, the college is also implementing a new research program called R-SCAD, which stands for research-scholarly, creative, activity and discovery.

In order to pay for these changes, the college has upped its annual goal for private donations from $1 million to $2.5 million. However, the college has received $9 million in private donations over the past two years. De Noble attributes this increase in giving to the appreciation and respect donors have for the college due to its success.

The state of Kansas is also giving the College of Architecture, Planning and Design $5 million per year.

“AP Design is already one of the top programs in the nation,” said Caroline Finck, sophomore in landscape architecture and vice president of the Dean’s Advisory Council. “As we incorporate the 2025 plan, our program will kick it into a higher caliber.”

De Noble said the advantage of K-State’s college of architecture is that it is a comprehensive design and planning college.

“We have the capacity among our students and faculty to investigate and design at all scales,” de Noble said. “You have to think and work in all scales. We can work from the scale of the door knob to the scale of the city. If you are going to address the most important issues of our day, including environmental sustainability and stewardship, social equity, economic viability and aesthetic delight, those can only be addressed if you work collaboratively at all scales. The great thing is, we have that embedded right here at this college.”