Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture

President’s Message April 2019

CELA (Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture)

President’s Message April 2019

Dear CELA Members,

CELA 2019: Engaged Scholarship, hosted by UC Davis was an outstanding conference with almost 400 attendees, resulting in 112 posters, 264 presentations, 11 panels and 66 full paper submissions! A special thank you goes out to Patsy Owens, Yiwei Huang, Meaghan Lidd and the other UC Davis faculty and students for hosting a great conference. Thank you to all those who work behind the scenes, including Galen Newman, CELA VP for Research, the track chairs and reviewers as well as Jun-Hyun Kim, CELA VP for Communication, who assisted with photo and video posting on the CELA website ( and Facebook account (

There was plenty to celebrate at the conference. William ‘Bill’ Johnson was CELA’s Lifetime Achievement Award winner and keynote speaker. He was recognized at the CELA Awards Luncheon along with fourteen faculty and student award winners and the best Poster Award winner. Congratulations is also extended to the five new members inducted to the CELA Academy of Fellows: Bob Grese, Sean Michael, Peter Olin, Iain Robertson, and William Sullivan. Congratulations to all! A full list of award winners and photos from the award ceremony will be coming soon and can be found online at and on the CELA Facebook page.

Mark your calendars…The 2020 CELA Annual Conference, 100 Years of CELA: Deep Time, will be in Louisville, Kentucky March 18-21, 2020, home to Churchill Downs, the Louisville Slugger Museum, several Kentucky Bourbon distilleries, host of the Kentucky Derby Horse Race and location of many outstanding landscape architecture projects to tour. Stay tuned for more information and the call for abstracts in June/July. Check out for conference updates.

Moving forward with CELA business, the CELA Executive Committee will be traveling to Raleigh, NC in late May to continue strategic mapping with IMI Association Executives. We are excited to begin working with the Fonteva organization management software. The CELA database transition to Fonteva is about 70% complete and includes over 1000 members from almost 90 programs. Thank you Charlene LeBleu for dedicating many months to collecting these. Once the database is complete, a member survey will be sent out which will help CELA identify how we can better support our members and the future direction of the CELA organization.

The recent CELA fiscal year, November 1, 2017 – October 31, 2018, ended on a positive note with close to 24% in net income. The current fiscal year is projected to end with a similar net income over expenses. Close to 60% of income comes from membership dues, while the Landscape Journal Royalty generates 26%, being the second most significant revenue category. Other income derives from advertisements and the annual conference. Earlier this year The CELA Board agreed to switch the existing accounting method from accrual to cash basis, which is the most common practice within non-profit organizations, as it provides a more accurate picture on organizational assets. Going forward, we will see payroll expenses and several professional charges to be substituted with management fees, which is expected to decrease total operational expenses. Contact the CELA Treasurer, Ebru Ö zer or CELA Executive Director, Peter Kralka at for more information.

The Frameworks study is one of the Presidents Council’s initiatives to identify gaps in public perception regarding landscape architecture.  Phase I of this report, due in April, will identify effective strategies for communicating the scope and value of the landscape architecture profession based on descriptive research. Phase II, to start in June, will develop prescriptive research to identify and test effective strategies to reframe landscape architecture and provide actionable research recommendations. The Presidents Council is a collaboration of leaders from ASLA, LAAB, LAF, CLARB, and CELA for developing common strategies and shared vision toward the advancement of the Landscape Architecture profession. CELA will be hosting the next Presidents Council to discuss this report and other initiatives in January 2020 in Raleigh, North Carolina.

It’s an exciting time to be involved with CELA! Upcoming events include a CELA member survey for strategic planning, manuscript reviews for the Landscape Research Record from CELA 2019, the call for abstracts for the CELA 2020 conference, and call for faculty and student awards. Later in the year, CELA will be accepting applications and nominations for leadership positions. If you’ve thought about it in the past, now is the time to get involved! Open positions this year include President-Elect, Student Director-Elect, 2nd Vice President (for awards), Vice President for Research, Vice President for Communications, and Regional Directors for Regions 1, 4, 7 and 9. We will also be looking for a CELA representative to serve on the ASLA Education Committee. Position descriptions are being updated and more information regarding all of these member opportunities will be coming soon.

Ashley Steffens, Associate Professor
University of Georgia, College of Environment and Design
CELA President 2019-2020