Professor Sean Michael, head of Utah State University’s Department of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning (LAEP) is among the five professionals inducted as 2019 Fellows of the Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture (CELA).
Michael and other honorees were inducted as fellow at CELA’s annual meeting in early March. With this honor, Michael becomes the third USU LAEP department faculty member to be named a CELA fellow, the late Dick Toth in 2014 and Professor Emeritus Craig Johnson in 2016.
“Such recognitions are, in truth, a testament to the intertwined journey one embarks on with so many others,” Michael said. “I am certain that, were it not for the opportunities afforded to me by Utah State and the other remarkable institutions I have been welcomed to, such a milestone could not have occurred. This is an honor that I consider recognition of my work and the collective accomplishments of colleagues I have worked with who have enriched my career.”
Michael received CELA’s Outstanding Administrator Award in 2015 and served terms as the organization’s president-elect and president.
Regarding Michael’s work as LAEP’s department head, former USU faculty member Bo Yang wrote, “He led the expansion of the department’s fulltime faculty from eight to 14 members, improved its financial situation, which led to new lab and video conferencing facilities, established two new endowed lectureships, helped quadruple appearances by guest speakers, and raised faculty morale.”
Michael has studied and written extensively on landscape design’s impact on crime, and his research findings have informed safety strategies in urban parks and other land uses.
In 2006, he authored "Security Design: Strategy, Integration and Liability,” the first training manual that detailed crime prevention measures that landscape architects can incorporate into their designs. His work has assisted trail development in Washington, Montana, Idaho and Colorado, and he serves as a park and open space consultant to numerous municipalities, states and federal agencies.
In his classes at USU, Michael focuses on recreation, recreation areas, the communities adjacent to them, and environmental psychology in design. He lectures frequently about these topics to audiences in the U.S. and abroad.
He also heads the university’s Outdoor Product Design & Development program, which focuses on the design of outdoor recreational equipment. Since its founding in 2015, enrollment has soared in the fledgling program, the first of its kind of the nation.
Michael also oversaw establishment of a Ph.D. program in landscape architecture, new fundraising and alumni connection initiatives, a professional landscape architect in residence program, and many other departmental enhancements.