Robert D. Brown, a professor at the University of Guelph in Canada, was recently describing Lee-Anne Milburn’s research abilities to a colleague.
The colleague’s response: “Where can I get a Milburn?”
The vast resume belonging to the chair of Cal Poly Pomona’s Department of Landscape Architecture goes beyond research, though as it can be seen in an array of improved communities, educated students and informed professionals.
Earlier this month, the American Society of Landscape Architects elevated Milburn to its Council of Fellows for 2014. She was nominated by the executive committee of the Southern California Chapter of the ASLA.
Fellowship is one of the highest honors that the national association can bestow on a member and recognizes their impact on the landscape architecture profession as well as society.
“Elevation to fellow is one of the highlights of my career to this point. To have this level of recognition from my peers, professionals and others means a great deal,” says Milburn, who has been department chair and an associate professor at Cal Poly Pomona since 2010.
“I’m looking forward to getting involved with the council and its efforts to promote student scholarships and the future of the profession.”
Milburn’s impact on communities started in the late 1990s in Ontario, Canada, where she served as project coordinator and analyst in the city of Mississauga. Her work reenergized community recreation centers, and her studies improved parks for skateboarders as well as for dogs and their owners. Despite leaving Mississauga in 2004, her designs of trails for bicyclists and walkers continue to improve the quality of life for the city’s residents.
Milburn’s work in communities in the United States has included addressing climate change in Las Vegas, storm water runoff and greenways in Los Angeles, and water retention in the foothills of La Canada Flintridge. Her interaction with these cities extends beyond a relationship with government officials as she works to educate residents and professionals through outreach efforts that include lectures, classes and meetings.
“She represents the excellence design team members and scientists expect when they include landscape architects on complex projects,” says Karen Hanna, a former dean of the College of Environmental Design at Cal Poly Pomona.
Prior to Cal Poly Pomona, Milburn was an award-winning teacher at Mississippi State, North Carolina State and the University of Nevada at Las Vegas. Her teaching style emphasizes that students clearly understand the content as well as have professional values and attitudes.
The research abilities that Brown detailed to his colleague is what many find to be most impressive. Milburn’s study of non-farm landowners in Ontario moving from urban to rural living is considered one of the most influential, hands-on studies on the subject. She has also been similarly lauded for her publication on attitudes toward research by landscape architecture faculty.
“Lee-Anne is extraordinary bright and insightful,” says Brown, who co-authored eight research projects with Milburn. “Each of her publications addressed considerably important issues in landscape architecture.”
Milburn says connecting research and practice has been the primary goal of my career, so this month’s honor was especially significant to her.
“This is both a wonderful recognition that the profession has advanced in terms of its perception of the role of research and the importance of it to the advancement of landscape architecture,” Milburn says.
“As such, achieving fellow status is rewarding to me in terms of my goals of providing the profession with a credible basis for its decisions to advance our prestige and status in other disciplines and in the eyes of the public.”