College's annual symposium spotlighted faculty research

The 13th Annual Texas A&M College of Architecture Research Symposium: Built, Natural Virtual took place Monday, Oct. 24 at the Langford Architecture Center on the Texas A&M campus.

The daylong research showcase featured a series of faculty presentations previously delivered at scholarly venues around the world. This year's symposium included invited or refereed presentations and papers from the 2010-11 academic year.

"The individual sessions comprising the symposium displayed a wide range of scholarship with respect to people and place," said Louis G. Tassinary, executive associate dean for the College of Architecture. "Fundamentally, the sessions reflected themes that have emerged in the work of the faculty and research staff over the past year."

The symposium featured more than 50 presentations divided into diverse categories and delivered in several concurrent sessions throughout the day. The presentations were grouped in broad categories including invention, energy, modeling, management, policy, pedagogy, aging, innovation, perception, history, archaeology, excogitation and well-being.

The college’s annual symposium was establishedmore than a decade ago to underscore the influence of research on teaching and practice. It also serves as a catalyst for research-informed teaching in the College of Architecture's five undergraduate and nine graduate degree programs. And, because many of the presentations were originally delivered at scholarly venues abroad, the event also showcases the global influence of research conducted by college faculty.

Highlighting the 2011 symposium was a keynote address by social psychologist Susan D. Clayton, the Whitmore-Williams Professor of Psychology and chair of environmental studies at the College of Wooster, a private liberal arts school in Wooster, Ohio.

Her presentation, "Conservation psychology: Psychological tools to address environmental challenges," examined the role of psychology in addressing threats to the natural environment. She presented research focused on the role of nature in human well-being, discussed studies examining human responses to environmental problems, and suggested ways in which psychology can promote environmental well-being.

A Fellow in the American Psychological Association, Clayton has served as president of the Society for Population and Environmental Psychology. Her research examines the ways people think about, and make personal connections to, the natural environment.

She has published extensively on topics related to justice as well as the natural environment and developed an Environmental Identity scale to assess the degree to which the natural environment plays an important part in the way in which people think about themselves.

Among her current research projects, Clayton is examining the impacts of zoo visits on social interactions and attitudes toward animals. She is also investigating how environmental problems are manifested and experienced differently in different countries, and how these cultural differences affect the response to such problems.

To facilitate the symposium and encourage student participation, the College of Architecture suspended all scheduled classes and studios on the day of the event.

See keynote speaker bio: [“Pioneering conservation psychologist to keynote 13th College of Architecture research symposium”] ( .

posted October 26, 2011