Conversations with CELA: Vice President of Research
Dear CELA Members,

The call for abstracts for CELA 2020: 100 Years of CELA will be coming soon through Constant Contact. In the meantime, I will continue to recognize the great work many of the CELA leaders have been doing in ‘Conversations with CELA’. You can find out more about positions and committees by going to:
Conversation with Vice President of Research, Galen Newman
Where do you teach and what do you teach?
I am an Associate Professor at Texas A&M University. I teach design studio, landscape history, and advanced digital representation.
Interesting fun fact: your family/personal life, the reason for choosing this profession, life lessons?
I was born in Opelika, Alabama, the brother of a twin sister and a younger sister. I chose landscape architecture after working for a few summers with a family friend who was in the profession and taught me the importance of synthesizing ecosystem services with aesthetic values through design. I have learned that this synthesis is best achieved through the blending of values from multiple, engaged partners as well as the provision of scientific research as a basis/ rationale for design decision-making.
What is your CELA position title, Committee name and members, and a summary, in your own words, of responsibilities with CELA?
I serve as the Vice President of Research and Creative Scholarship for CELA. As part of this position, I also serve as Chair of the Standing Committee for Research and Creative Scholarship and CELA represented for the Landscape Architecture Foundation. My primary roles include managing the CELA Annual Conference submission system, acting as Editor for Landscape Research Record, and working with Track Chairs to coordinate their necessary services to CELA.
Why did you get involved with CELA?
I originally began, like most academics, as an annual presenter at CELA. After corresponding with many professors from my college years who were involved in CELA administrative roles, I became interested in obtaining a position in the organization. A track chair position came open related to my research interests in 2014 and I was encouraged by CELA Board members to take on a co-chair role. From there, I have worked my way up through the ranks, learning more about CELA’s inner workings.

What is your committee currently working on?
The CELA Standing Committee for Research and Creative Scholarship is currently 1) developing new tracks for the CELA annual conference, 2) filling current track chair vacancies, 3) assisting with the coordination of the CELA 100 year anniversary special issue, 4) reviewing CELA 2019 full paper submissions, and 5) working with the CELA board to transition into new software platforms for CELA abstract submissions.
What has been the most rewarding part of your service work to CELA?
The most rewarding parts of my service to CELA has been both the ability to better align CELA goals with the needs of education related to the profession and the development of a larger network of scholars to with which to work. As CELA and landscape architecture grow, new needs and technological changes must be addressed within the pedagogical approaches taken to ensure graduating students are keeping up with these changes. Working with the network of CELA personnel, the organization helps ensure these needs are met.
What has been the most challenging?
The toughest challenge, as with most service roles, is the time demands. While service to CELA has many rewards (other than those mentioned above), the demands required to fulfill obligations can be quite taxing. This requires a strong time management ethic and a humble approach to work.

Ashley Steffens, Associate Professor
University of Georgia, College of Environment and Design
CELA President 2019-2020