History and Formation

The School of Planning, Design and Construction (SPDC) was formed in 2004 by merging four accredited academic programs that were part of different departments and colleges.  These four programs were:

  • Construction Management Program in the Department of Agricultural Engineering, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR)

  • Interior Design Program in the Department of Human Environment and Design, College of Human Ecology (CHE)

  • Landscape Architecture Program in the Department of Geography, College of Social Sciences (CSS)

  • Urban & Regional Planning Program in the Department of Geography, College of Social Sciences (CSS)

In 2000 a group of faculty from the Construction Management Program approached the CANR dean and the Provost to consider establishing a School of Construction Management. They agreed to look into this possibility and in the meanwhile, changed the status of the CM program within the Agricultural Engineering as an independent program with separate budget and appointed a program director directly reporting the CANR dean.

In 2002, Provost came back with the suggestion to explore a broader school with built environment disciplines and then, formed and funded a committee to work on it.  The committee consisted of:

  • Robert von Bernuth, Co-Chair

  • M.G. Matt Syal, Co-Chair

  • Rex LaMore, URP

  • Eric Strauss, URP

  • David Lawerence, ID

  • John Burlee, LA

  • Warren Rahue, LA

The committee was tasked with investigating efforts by peer universities in the built environment area and produce a proposal to establish a school with built environment focus for the Provost, the President, and the Board of Trustees. The committee worked for one year including visits to Texas A&M University, and the University of Florida.  In addition, extensive material was collected, and interviews were held with other peer universities, government agencies and industry leaders.  Two proposals, one to establish the School of Planning, Design and Construction; and the other to establish a PhD program were submitted to the deans and the provost in the Summer of 2003.

During 2003-04, the proposal to form SPDC went through various governance and approval steps at the colleges and the university level.  In Spring 2004, the MSU board of Trustees voted to form SPDC and allocated the Human Ecology Building with Robert von Bernuth as the founding director. The Human Ecology Building went through renovation and most of the faculty moved into the building in Summer 2006.  Also in Spring 2006, the PhD program in CM was approved.  This PhD program was expanded in 2013 to include options for all four programs.