University of Aberdeen launches new undergraduate degree programmes

University of Aberdeen launches new undergraduate degree programmes

The University of Aberdeen will today (Thursday, February 2) launch its new professionally-accredited undergraduate programmes in spatial planning.

A reception is being held in the Linklater Rooms, King’s College, for an invited audience of more than 50 guests including town planners, surveyors, lawyers, architects, environmental managers and local councillors drawn from across the north of Scotland.

Professor Albert Rodger, Head of the College of Physical Sciences, is delighted to be attending the launch of the new programmes. He said: “The College of Physical Sciences considers the provision of top quality undergraduate and research programmes in Planning to be of high importance. I am delighted therefore not only to announce this new initiative but also the arrival of key new members of the academic staff.

“The new programmes will complement our long-established and internationally-recognised environmental programmes in Geography, Rural Surveying and Marine Resource Management. Our unique programmes, with their strong focus on the management of natural resources, will equip our graduates to be able to work for a wide range of agencies and consultancies concerned with the increasingly-challenging issues confronting our environment and society. The issues to be addressed include: the development of wind farms, the protection of the coastal zone, waste recycling and the long-term future of our rural communities.”

As mentioned above, to support both the delivery of the new programmes and its associated research activities in spatial planning and surveying the University has made some significant appointments. The core courses of the new programmes will be delivered by a new team of seven spatial planners in the School of Geosciences, four of whom have been appointed within the last six months. The University also intends appointing a new Professor of Spatial Planning this year.

The newly appointed staff are Alister Scott, Gunther Tress, Barbel Tress and Dumiso Moyo. Alister Scott joins the University from the Macaulay Land Use Research Institute and his new role will be as a Senior Lecturer. His area of research will concentrate on rural land use issues and he has published widely in a range of international journals. Gunther and Barbel Tress were previously at Wageningen University in Holland and specialise in landscape planning. Dumiso Moyo is joining the institution from the University of Dundee where he recently completed a doctorate in housing development in Africa. They will join an existing team of spatial planners comprising Aileen Stockdale (specialising in rural land management), Bill Walton (specialising in planning law and policy) and Lorna Philip (specialising in rural socio-economic analysis). All these staff will be attending tomorrow evening’s reception.

Guests will have the opportunity to hear about the University’s new vision for planning and surveying education, meet with new staff and hear about their backgrounds and interests.

Christine Gore, Director of Planning and Environmental Services, Aberdeenshire Council, is endorsing the University’s new programme and will be attending tomorrow evening’s reception. She said: “I am extremely excited by this new spatial planning degree and believe that it provides an extremely distinctive educational offering to individuals entering the planning profession.

“There is a well documented shortage of spatial planners in Scotland and we look forward to being able to recruit from a cohort of students from the University of Aberdeen equipped with the particular skills and knowledge that this programme will provide.”

Town planning (now known as ‘spatial planning’) has been taught at the University for more than 30 years. There are four undergraduate programmes in spatial planning and surveying being taught within the School of Geosciences (one in collaboration with the Business School). All of the programmes are professionally-accredited by the Royal Town Planning Institute and/or the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

The School of Geosciences also delivers undergraduate programmes in Geography, Geology and Marine Resource Management (and the latter is accredited by the Royal Institution of the Chartered Surveyors).

Bill Walton, Senior Lecturer and Director of Planning and Surveying, added: “Over the last six months the University of Aberdeen has completely restructured the spatial planning degree programmes, realigning them more closely with the existing suite of undergraduate geography, surveying and marine resource management programmes within the School of Geosciences.

“We have internationally-recognised research strengths in countryside and landscape management, rural transport, alternative energy sources and coastal zone management, and these will be strongly reflected in the content of the new spatial planning programmes.

“As a result, the University’s programmes will be very distinctive and quite unlike any other programmes currently available at other institutions in the UK.”

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