UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Kelleann Foster, a long-time professor of landscape architecture in the Stuckeman School and the director of the online Geodesign graduate program, is set to retire from Penn State on Dec. 31. She will remain a member of the Department of Landscape Architecture faculty as an emeritus professor.
Foster led the development of the Geodesign program, which is offered exclusively through the World Campus, and has served as its director for eight years. Roxi Thoren, head of the Department of Landscape Architecture, has appointed David Goldberg, associate clinical professor of landscape architecture, to lead the program. Goldberg played a key role in establishing geodesign as an area of graduate studies at Penn State.
“I am very excited for geodesign’s future with David at the helm as he has been an instrumental player in our online graduate program from the very beginning,” said Foster. “He assisted in the program and course proposals, he has been a member of our international advisory board and he teaches one of the key geodesign models courses in the program. I have no doubt geodesign will thrive under his leadership.”
According to Goldberg, geodesign is a structured, decision-making design process that infuses planning insights to form compelling impact simulations that visually represent our planet’s future.
“This is the future of planning and design, and I am excited to lead our Geodesign program and build upon its solid foundation,” he said. “I hope to continue to elevate the program to a level of quality commensurate with the excellence of a Penn State education.”
Foster joined the Department of Landscape Architecture faculty in 1989 as an assistant professor, nine years after she graduated from Penn State with a bachelor of science in landscape architecture and three years after earning her master’s in landscape architecture from the University of Massachusetts. She went on to move up the faculty ranks at Penn State, becoming a full professor in 2016 and serving as the interim head of the department from 2009 to 2011. In 2013, she was named the interim director of the Stuckeman School and in 2014 she was appointed as the school director, a position she held until 2019. She was also an associate dean of the College of Arts and Architecture during that time.
Foster has garnered numerous awards in her field throughout her career, including the 2019 Donald Hamer Leadership Award from the ClearWater Conversancy, a land trust and natural resource conservation organization in central Pennsylvania. A former board member and past president of the organization, she garnered the award for “sustained significant leadership in advancing Clearwater’s mission.”
Foster was named a recipient of the Presidential Award of Excellence from the Pennsylvania/Delaware chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) for her book, “Becoming a Landscape Architect: A Guide to Careers in Design,” originally published in 2010 by John Wiley & Sons with a Chinese version published in 2014. She has also received Merit Awards from the chapter for the State College Borough Design Guide and the Land Use Management Program, which was completed for 10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania, a leading advocate for responsible and efficient land use. The 10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania group is a client of the Visual Interactive Communications Group, of which Foster was a managing partner from 1996 to 2013. In addition, she was honored with the Distinguished Service Award from the ASLA Pennsylvania/Delaware chapter for leadership in the authoring and production of a CD on landscape architecture schools in Pennsylvania.
Foster served as chair of the Penn State University Tree Commission for 16 years, through which she established the Campus Heritage Tree Program. She holds memberships in the Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture, American Planning Association and ASLA.
Before joining the faculty at Penn State, Foster taught at Temple University and worked at landscape architecture firms McCloskey and Faber P.C. and Sullivan Associates P.C, both in the Philadelphia area.