As the incoming Director of Urban Studies this semester, I begin by thanking Professor Yipeng Shen of LACS for his excellent service as the Interim Director of URST for the last three semesters. While contributing his valuable outsider perspectives and insights to URST, this temporary role has turned him into much more of an urbanist than when he took on his interim responsibility and a closely affiliated faculty of the program. I welcome Terry Romero back to her familiar role as the URST’s Administrative Assistant, which she performed admirably for a few years previously.
At this juncture, URST is maturing after several years of vibrant growth as Trinity’s youngest major launched in 2013, with a few timely features to highlight. First, URST has risen to be the 8th largest major at Trinity with 54 majors in Spring 2021, behind Biology and ahead of Engineering. Second, we will have grown from two partial-FTEs at the outset to four tenured or tenure-track faculty members with full or partial FTE appointments by the fall, although we will still have the least favorable FTE to major ratio among the top 10 majors. In the meantime, we take great pleasure in having a small but steady group of visiting and closely affiliated faculty offering regular courses for both URST and the Cities Gateway program.
Third, we have recently enriched URST offerings through several new courses including Xiangming Chen’s “Chinese Global Cities” and “Reshaping Global Urbanization,” Jonathan Elukin’s “The City in History,” Julie Gamble’s “Learning from Hartford,” David Lukens’ “Digital Urban Investigations,” Yipeng Shen’s “Global Crime Fiction,” and Donald Poland’s “Introduction to Urban Planning” and “Comparative Planning Perspectives” (to be offered in fall 2021). Don’s second and new course highlights another feature of our growth and maturity through a curricular revision led by Garth Myers last fall.
The revised URST curriculum, among other improvements, has clarified the program’s two refashioned concentrations in Planning & Policy and Urban Society, respectively, specified a clearer methodological requirement, strengthened the battery of 300-level courses, and set a higher standard for seniors to obtain URST honors. The URST’s maturing through growth bodes well for its continued vitality in the years ahead.