FIU Landscape Architecture Chair Roberto Rovira was invited to Austin, TX, to participate on the panel, “Achieving Excellence in Design Studio Teaching.” The discussion was held at the University of Texas at Austin, home to the 2013 annual meeting of the Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture (CELA), held from March 27-30. The panel was comprised by past winners of the Excellence in Design Studio Teaching award and included Associate Professor Roberto Rovira, Associate Professor Blake Belanger from Kansas State University, and Associate Professor Hala Nassar from Clemson University. The panel was moderated by CELA President Patrick Mooney from the University of British Columbia.
The CELA conference focuses on disseminating the latest research, scholarship, and teaching in the field of landscape architecture. For more than ninety years, CELA has examined the content and quality of higher education in the discipline to provide a better understanding of a landscape architecture education.
“It was an excellent experience to be able to share some of the teaching methodologies that have been successful for me over the years, and that have allowed FIU Landscape Architecture to consistently earn recognition in a number of venues,” said Rovira.
Panelists were given three questions to discuss. In response to how real world the studios at FIU are and what role they play in studio teaching, Rovira asserted that the FIU Landscape Architecture Department has taught a fair amount of real world studios that balance the pedagogical goals of the curriculum with the expectations of clients who range from cities and industries to organizations. It is important to provide students with relevant, real world experience, but at the same time he mentioned, “It is essential to address the critical goals that correspond to the students’ level of learning.” Rovira discussed the importance of critical thinking in the design studio process, which he described as “the best indication of achieving maturity as a designer.”
Roberto Rovira is the Principal of the interdisciplinary Studio Roberto Rovira and has been lead designer in national and international projects in Miami, South America, New York, Dubai and California. He has also been the recipient of numerous design and teaching awards, including the 2011 CELA Excellence in Design Studio Teaching Award and recognition as one of FIU’s Top Scholars in 2009.