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CSU Student Chapter of the American Planning Association creates an "Urban Garden"


urbangarden1 The CSU student chapter of the American Planning Association (APA) put their talents and education to use by creating an urban garden at Cleveland’s Jane Addams High School. Their efforts directly reflect the mission of the student group – to foster community building among faculty and students; reaching out to the community to teach the importance of urban planning; participating in Cleveland's neighborhood revitalization through civic service; exposing students to innovative solutions of current planning challenges; and enhancing members' professional development.

The effort was initiated and led by Jason Russell, a Master of Urban Planning, Design and Development (MUPDD) candidate and president of the student group. Notable contributions were made by Martha Susan Catherwood and Christine Dersi, both MUPDD candidates. Catherwood's professional background in landscape architecture provided the group with an architectural drawing of the space; while Dersi's student internship provided insight into ParkWorks services for the northeast Ohio region. As luck would have it, Catherwood owns a plant nursery.

urbangarden2Through Russell's involvement with the community, he identified a need at the Jane Addams High School where a previous garden existed but had not been maintained. The previous space had turned into dirt and weeds. Principal Brenda Washington was thrilled that the CSU students would volunteer to design and re-create a space that would benefit her high school students.

The APA student group incorporated into the design the remnants of wood and brick that were still at the site. ParkWorks provided a site visit to review the design and made recommendations for low-maintenance, drought tolerant plants. Russell and 17 students rolled up their sleeves and got to work.

Jane Addams principal Washington recognized that the APA group and the project illustrated for her students a pathway from high school to college. She invited the APA group to present the design process of the urban garden to science students and those active in the environmental club.

Looking forward to the Spring of 2009, the CSU students will work with the students at Jane Addams to mentor them in urban planning and design, maintenance and upkeep of the garden, and adding more plants to the garden.

The APA student group truly reflects the qualities of the MUPDD program that integrates planning, design and development into a graduate level course of study. Visit the APA's website for a visual tour of the project at:

Upcoming Events

NEW | Thursday, December 4, 2008, 5:30-8:30 p.m., Holiday Inn, 1111 Lakeside Avenue (corner of East 12 and Lakeside).  Please join members of the Business, MBA, Health Care, Urban Affairs, Black Alumni, and Diversity Management Program Alumni Associations for a holiday celebration and networking event!  Special guest speaker:  Chris Ronayne (’96 MUPDD), President and CEO, University Circle Inc.  FREE appetizers and parking.  Cash bar.  Link to invitation here. RSVP to Tony Pasiak at

johnny mango logoSAVE THE DATE! Levin College of Urban Affairs Alumni Organization
Monday, February 9, 2009, Johnny Mango World Cafe & Bar. Present the coupon from 11:00 a.m.-11:00 p.m. and 20% of sales will benefit student scholarship at the Levin College of Urban Affairs. The menu is available at Take out and dine in service both apply (you must have the coupon-here: More details will follow.

Urban Alumni and Student Notes

The Levin College mentoring programs kick-off dinner was held on October 29. Senator Grace Drake, director of the Ohio Center for the Advancement for Women in Public Service facilitated the meeting that more than 40 student mentees and mentors from across the professional community met for the first time. The program is open to undergraduate and graduate students who are in their junior or senior year of college. Some of the mentors are Levin College alumni and include: Randell McShepard ('98 MS in Urban Studies), Tim Tramble ('01 MPA), Mary Cierebiej ('97 MS in Urban Studies),
Chris Ronayne ('96 MUPDD),and Jeri Chaikin ('77 MPA).

Lisa Nelson (’90 MPA) has a chapter on the Central Neighborhood in an important new book produced by the Federal Reserve Bank and the Metropolitan Policy Program of the Brookings Institution.  Lisa’s chapter is noted here along with the web site for the full report.  Nelson, Lisa (2008), “Cleveland, Ohio: the central neighborhood,” in Berube (Ed.)  Concentrated Poverty in America: An Overview (Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond and the Brookings Institution, Metropolitan Policy Program) pp.35-46.        

Pamela Davis ('94 MUPDD) was noted in The Plain Dealer article Green planner. She has been hired by the Port Authority to lead an environmental review for a new site. Davis will manage practices affecting polluted runoff, air emissions and water quality. She also will spearhead environmental planning for the proposed move from the land west of Cleveland Browns Stadium to a peninsula north of East 55 Street. Davis resides in Lakewood.

Chris Ronayne ('96 MUPDD) was interviewed for The Plain Dealer article "My Cleveland, World-class city with self-esteem issues," on Sunday, October 12.

Susan M. Harper ('00 MPA) is the City Administrator, City of Cohasset, Cohasset, Minnesota. "After a few years in Wisconsin, I've achieved the position I wanted when I was in graduate school. I'm proof that you're never too old."

Lee Chilcote ('03 MUPDD) is Marketing Director and New Construction Project Manager, Progressive Urban Real Estate (PURE).

Benjamin T. Limmer ('03 MUPDD, Certificate in Economic Development) is a Planner III, Valley METRO Rail, Phoenix, Arizona.

Kyle Krewson ('05 BA, Public Safety Management) to Architect/Engineer Designer, Cleveland State University.

Justin Glanville ('07 MUPDD) was interviewed for The Plain Dealer for the article "Figuring the Flats: Urban planner hopes green design can make an impact by the river."

Janice Nagel ('08 BA) is Administrative Secretary, Legal Affairs, Cleveland State University.

Christopher Norman ('08 MUPDD) is the director, of Crown Point Ecology Center, Akron, Ohio.

For more updates about what is happening with your former classmates. Check out class notes on the Urban alumni web pages. Take a moment to update your alumni profile at

Jeffrey L. Brudney, Albert A. Levin Chair of Urban Studies and Public Service, Received Invitation from the President
by Jeffrey L. Brudney

example“The President cordially invites you to his Remarks on Volunteering, Monday, September 8, 2008. The White House, South Lawn.” So read the email invitation bearing the virtual Seal of the President of the United States.

My reaction, “You’ve got to be kidding.” I quickly dial the RSVP line provided. “The White House Volunteering Event. How can I help?”

I forget why I called. Nice to see how ten years of formal education at some of the best public universities in the United States had prepared me for every professional eventuality. “White House, Volunteering Event,” the receiver intones. Connect to full story here.

Tributes and Celebrations at the Levin College of Urban Affairs


Stivers, Murray, and Keller

Keller, Murray, and Stivers-Thought Leaders and Public Administrators-Celebrate their Retirement
The Levin College recently paid tribute to three retiring faculty members, Lawrence F. Keller, Sylvester Murray, and Camilla Stivers.  The community, students, colleagues, and family gathered on Mary 2, 2008 to celebrate the professor’s years of service and contributions to the Levin College.
“Camilla Stivers, Larry Keller and Sylvester Murray are thought leaders who have shaped our program and the field of public administration.  They are outstanding faculty and distinguished scholars who have shaped the lives and careers of countless students and alumni. We owe them our deepest gratitude and wish them retirements filled with many more achievements,” said Interim Dean Ned Hill.

The evening’s program featured CSU’s president, Michael Schwartz as well as former Levin College Dean and now Youngstown State University’s president, David C. Sweet. 
Fran Hunter, Bee Chalarat
Fran Hunter Recognized
Levin Collegeís Department of Urban Studies hosted a retirement celebration for Frances (Fran) Hunter, Coordinator of Graduate Internships and Assistantships. Alumni, students, CSU colleagues, friends and family paid tribute to Hunterís outstanding commitment to students, pursuit of knowledge and the fostering of community. In recognition of Hunterís love of books, former Graduate Assistant Pornphrom (Bee) Chalarat (Ď08 MUPDD), compiled photographs of faculty, staff, students, and college events in a bound published book. Fran and Bee are pictured to the right. Hunter has been with Levin College since 1986. She started as a student and graduate assistant. She graduated with an MS in Urban Studies specializing in organizational leadership and public management. In 1988, she became the Coordinator of Graduate Assistantships and Internships. She is the recipient of the Cleveland State University Distinguished Alumni Award, Civic Achievement, Curtis Wilson Distinguished Black Alumni Award and the Howard I. Bruce Award for the outstanding graduate of the Masters in Urban Studies. She produced the Bicentennial video, "African Americans: Time to Tell the Story." She serves on the boards of the Cleveland Public Library, Northeast Shores Development Corporation and the Urban Liberties Council. She is a member of the American Society for Public Administration and the Conference of the Minority Public Administrators.

Star Celebration
Center for Neighborhood Development (CND) Celebrates 30 Years and Pays Tribute to Philip D. Star
Levin College celebrated the Center for Neighborhood Development’s (CND) 30 years of service and paid tribute to former director, Philip D. Star. The event brought together university colleagues, students, graduates of the Neighborhood Leadership Cleveland program, representatives from across Cleveland’s 37 neighborhoods, students, friends and family.  Pictured to the left: Councilman Tony Brancatelli, Phil Star, and Councilman Jay Westbrook.

The program was filled with heart-felt acknowledgements of the accomplishments and work of the CND and Phil Star. W. Dennis Keating, MUPDD program director, served as Master of Ceremonies. The Center was established in 1979 by Professor Norman Krumholz. Since its inception the CND has played an important role in the redevelopment of Cleveland neighborhoods and the emergence of the community development movement.

In 1988, Phil Star became the Center’s director. For two decades, Star continued the work that Krumholz began. Under his direction, major CND accomplishments include:

  • Neighborhood Leadership Cleveland (NLC) – a leadership development program in collaboration with the Neighborhood Centers Association (began in 1994 and has held 24 classes with 733 graduates);
  • Neighborhood Link – an online community information portal managed by CND, which includes the Directory of Neighborhood Based Organizations;
  • Staffing the Community Energy Coalition;
  • Development of the mediation program for the Cleveland Housing Court; and
  • Assistance to 16 CDCs to improve their organizational structure through the CDC Organizational Assessment Project.
PHOTOGRAPHY NOTE: The picture used in the banner at the top of this message is from the CSU student chapter of the APA and their creation of the "urban garden" at Jane Addams High School in Cleveland.

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