Faculty Response to Planetizen Survey of Urban Planning Masters Programs sign now

Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP) Member Schools Response to the 2007 Planetizen Survey of in Urban Planning Masters Programs for Purposes of Ranking and Rating these Programs

We, the undersigned program administrators and faculty members of ACSP member schools, oppose participation in the 2007 Planetizen survey of masters programs in urban planning, and in their reputation survey.

Planetizen collects two sorts of information for their Guide to Graduate Urban Planning Programs: i) program information via a survey of planning program administrators (and ACSP), and ii) reputation information of planning programs via a survey of a national sample of individual planning faculty and planning practitioners.

We call on program administrators and member schools of ACSP not to participate in the Planetizen surveys.


Our reasons:

1. Summary reputation rankings reduce planning program quality to one-dimensional information a rank rather than providing multi-dimensional and meaningful indicators of planning program quality. This concern is similar to those being raised by university administrators more broadly about college rankings by US News and World Report (e.g., http://www.businessweek.com/bschools/content/may2007/bs20070507_640186.htm). The information in the Planetizen Guide could have been produced without the additional step of ranking planning programs.

2. Planetizen will not disclose their methodology for ranking programs, claiming it is proprietary. This lack of transparency is antithetical to what we teach in planning about process, namely the top-down approach by experts vis a vis collaborating with stakeholders throughout the process.

3. Planetizen is a private network run by a for-profit company not affiliated with any educational planning institution. The ACSP is a member organization of education planning institutions, and compiles the Guide to Undergraduate and Graduate Education in Urban and Regional Planning, which contains essentially similar information as the Planetizen Guide, but without the rankings. It has been designed over many years of work as contemplating a choice of schools, and can be relied on for that purpose.

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Estelle HesterBy:
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Planning Faculty and Administrators

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