World Scientific and Engineering Academy and Society Meeting hosted by MSU

Nearly 100 academic papers were presented at MSU during the World Scientific and Engineering Academy and Society Meeting in September 2015, featuring speakers from Algeria, Turkey, S. Africa, Portugal, Japan, Malaysia, Italy, and the USA.

Dr. Azami Zaharim presents as a keynote speaker at the WSEAS conference
Dr. Azami Zaharim presents as a keynote speaker at the WSEAS conference

Nearly one hundred academic papers were presented at MSU during the World Scientific and Engineering Academy and Society (WSEAS) Meeting in September 2015, featuring speakers from Algeria, Turkey, S. Africa, Portugal, Japan, Malaysia, Italy, and the USA.

At the meeting, Roger Trancik, FASLA, Professor Emeritus from Cornell and MSU graduate, was a featured plenary speaker and received the 2016 Distinguished Alumni Award. In addition, the event included the 7th International Conference on Landscape Architecture. Dr. Luis Loures, a landscape architect from Portugal and frequent visitor to MSU, was also a plenary speaker and participated in the landscape architecture portion of the conference.

Members of the Landscape Architecture Alumni and Advisory Board (LAAAB) attended the meeting and banquet, and the Board held its fall meeting during the conference. A postconference trip to Chicago gave WSEAS members and landscape architecture students the opportunity to interact and
see the planning and design sights of Chicago.

I was really pleased with the cooperation and gracious attitude of LAAAB members. The members helped to fill seats during the presentations, making international guests feel welcomed and appreciated.

Practitioners rarely get an opportunity to observe first-hand one of the driving forces in academia, as practitioners often only focus upon teaching and producing the next generation of landscape architects. But in academia, building and constructing new knowledge plus publishing in academic outlets is vital to the university’s reputation and standing. Rating and ranking a university’s standing is not heavily based upon teaching, which is difficult to measure, but upon the number of grants received and the new knowledge that is produced.

MSU is a major world class university. Our landscape graduate students work diligently to explore ideas and contribute to planning and design knowledge in such areas a rooftop gardens, surface mining, water quality, visual quality, recreation, housing, transportation, wildlife habitat, and urban design. Research topics can be somewhat deep and highly specialized, making the presentations a bit obscure, and the practicality of the research may not be fully realized or appreciated for years or even decades.

For example, the great Stanly White, a noted Illinois landscape architecture professor, developed green walls in the 1930s. He never lived to see how this idea has become popular and widespread.It is the tragedy of academics that they often do not live to see their ideas become a reality because it takes time for those ideas to be appreciated and adopted by the planning and design community.

It is just like the paintings of Van Gogh: He only sold one in his lifetime, to his brother, and died not knowing he would become one of the greatest painters in the world. The value of some research is not always easy to estimate. Sometimes research that is quickly acclaimed becomes nothing, and something that is of great value takes time to be appreciated. I try not to judge the work of other researchers too much.

Compared to many great institutions of learning, our small group of landscape faculty and students produce many more scholarly works than places with 20 or more faculty. I am very proud of my colleagues and MSU students. Thanks to everyone who made the meeting a success.

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