POSTED: Saturday, September 7, 2013 - 7:00am
UPDATED: Saturday, September 7, 2013 - 7:04am
BATON ROUGE, LA — In August 2013, Lake Douglas, associate professor and undergraduate coordinator in LSU’s Robert Reich School of Landscape Architecture, joined Dean Alkis Tsolakis and Associate Dean of Academic Services Tom Sofranko as associate dean of research & development at the LSU College of Art & Design.
Traditionally, the College of Art & Design has supported two associate deans: one whose focus is internal, on academic services in the areas of recruitment, retention and advising students and faculty; and the other whose focus is more external, working to assist, facilitate, and encourage faculty in their respective areas of research and to expand the college’s development opportunities. The associate dean of research & development position has been vacant since 2009, when Stuart Baron left to become president of Delaware College of Art & Design. The position was left unfilled due to the significant budget cuts that occurred at the same time.
Douglas’ appointment as associate dean of research & development is timely in that it allows the college to focus on its goals in the areas of discovery, learning, diversity, engagement and productivity – goals based on the implementation of the university’s strategic plan, LSU Flagship 2020.
Tsolakis and Sofranko are enthusiastic that Douglas’ past experience as the graduate and undergraduate coordinators at the Robert Reich School of Landscape Architecture will segue into his new role as associate dean of research & development.
“It’s good to welcome Lake to the college’s administrative team,” said Sofranko. “He has always been a service-oriented faculty member who takes great pleasure in helping those around him succeed. With diminishing state funds and a greater need for fostering external relationships, Lake will be extremely valuable in building partnerships for both faculty and student research.”
Douglas’ responsibilities pertaining to research include assisting faculty in securing funding for research and facilitating the publication and exhibition of faculty work. He will also work to encourage community engagement through external research agendas and academic exercises, to develop new college-based vehicles to publish faculty and student work, and to replicate research-based initiatives into other areas of the College of Art & Design.
Douglas’ own professional work, publications and research reflect a diversity of interests. His dissertation research involved horticultural commerce as an agency of community growth, and his current research involves documenting 18th- and 19th-century urban life in New Orleans through the development of public and private open spaces. His other areas of interest include community enhancement through cultural development, using research skills to inform design strategies and the development of communication skills through effective writing.
As associate dean, Douglas’ development responsibilities include expanding the off-campus influence, presence and visibility of College of Art & Design faculty and students by creating partnerships with state-wide organizations in other cities for internships and seminars; investigating opportunities to create partnerships with state and local government agencies; and working with each unit of the college to develop longstanding relationships with design offices for student internships.
In his new role, Douglas will work closely with Tsolakis and Director of Development Julie LeFebvre to expand existing opportunities for alumni engagement with the college through financial support and to develop and fund new initiatives related to faculty research and academic interests. He will also work to secure external funding to support the creation of an on-campus archive through the solicitation of donations for office files, libraries and collections.
“If it weren’t for Lake, I would never have published my book,” said James Richards, author of “Freehand Drawing and Discovery: Urban Sketching and Concept Drawing for Designers,” published in February 2013. Richards received his bachelor of landscape architecture degree from the LSU Robert Reich School of Landscape Architecture and is currently an associate professor at the University of Texas at Arlington and cofounder of Townscape, Inc., an urban design consultancy based in Texas and Vancouver.
“Lake saw the potential for a book in my workshop materials and took on the role of mentor, educating me about publishing, coaching me through the proposal process and introducing me to influential editors. His knowledge and generous spirit were the crucial links,” Richards added.
“I look forward to working with Dean Tsolakis and the faculty of the college to expand our influence beyond campus boundaries and to work to develop new resources for our students,” Douglas said. “Finding new ways to make our influence visible throughout Louisiana and the region is an exciting opportunity.”