LA students design CDRC preschool outdoor classroom honoring Collins
By: Norman Martin
This semester Muntazar Monsur and Daniel Phillips, assistant professors in Texas Tech's Department of Landscape Architecture, are leading a new project honoring a valued, long-time university employee. LARC 2413: Studio 3 class is closely working with the Christine DeVitt and Helen DeVitt Jones Child Development Research Center (CDRC) to design an outdoor classroom in the organization's preschool playground area.
Program officials note that the project is being done in the memory of Marjie Collins, a 25-year veteran of the CDRC, who passed away earlier this year. As part of the design process, Monsur, Phillips and their students conducted an online survey with 15 CDRC teachers and caregivers to get their insights about how the design should incorporate Collins teaching philosophies. Students then used the data from the survey to develop their concepts and design.
"Due to the ongoing situation with COVID-19 and consequent social distancing requirements, we decided to arrange a virtual exhibition of students' works using a free platform called Artsteps," Monsur said. "We are expecting that the virtual exhibition will provide a way for CDRC teachers, parents, and staff to see all the designs, comment on them, and engage in discussions using the social media tools of Artsteps." Anyone can visit the exhibition using the link here.
The CDRC's Preschool Program, located at 15th St. and Akron Ave in Lubbock, has a class size of 18, and includes participants ages four to six years old.
Texas Tech's Department of Human Development and Family Studies in the College of Human Sciences operates a Child Development Research Center, which provides educational/developmental programs for approximately 80 families with children from birth through five years of age. It is accredited by the National Academy of Early Childhood Program Accreditation.
Monsur, an expert in measuring environment-behavior relationships in children's environments, joined the Texas Tech faculty in 2019. Recent honors include receiving the Gertrude Cox Award for Innovative Excellence in Teaching and Learning with Technology as part of a research team for creating a 360 Environment and Behavior lmmersive Tool (2018). Monsur received his doctoral degree in design from North Carolina State. He also received a graduate certificate in Geographic Information System from North Carolina State.
In addition to his efforts with the CDRC, Monsur has an active research program underway dealing with enhancing the quality of children's lives by improving/modifying environments. He's the lead investigator on a project, in collaboration with researchers at North Carolina State University, titled "Effectiveness of a Child Care Hands-on Gardening Component for Preventing Preschool Obesity in Different Climactic Zones and Demographic Areas." The project is supported by a $272,149 grant from the USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
Separately, Phillips, a landscape designer and urban ecologist who has been awarded the coveted Rome Prize from the American Academy of Rome, joined Tech's Department of Landscape Architecture last month. The California native interests broadly focus on experimental green infrastructure and informal urban greenspaces. He indicated that he is interested in continuing his teaching and research efforts in Lubbock, while drawing upon a global perspective.
Prior to joining the faculty, Phillips served as faculty of record in urban sustainability at Unity College in Maine, and a design thinking at the New School of Architecture and Design. In addition, he worked as part of many transdisciplinary teams in India, including the Jana Urban Space Foundation, and the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and Environment.
CONTACTS: Muntazar Monsur, assistant professor, Department of Landscape Architecture, Texas Tech University at (806) 834-2994 or email@example.com and Daniel Phillips, Assistant Professor, Department of Landscape Architecture, Texas Tech University at Daniel.Phillips@ttu.edu
1026NM20 / GRAPHIC: Monica Saso
Editor's Note: To view the virtual exhibition of LARC 2413: Studio 3, please click here