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As of Oct. 1, the Master of Community Planning program is part of the College of Liberal Arts at Auburn University. The 37-year-old program has a history of providing a broad-based, professionally oriented planning program at Auburn and will now be housed in the Department of Political Science.

"We are very excited to welcome the dedicated faculty, alumni and students from the Master of Community Planning program to the department," said Steve Brown, chair of the Department of Political Science.

The Master of Community Planning program has had a dual master's degree program with the Master of Public Administration program for many years, and this move will strengthen that connection. The move also has support from professional planners throughout the state and the Alabama Chapter of the American Planning Association.

"I am thrilled about our move to the Department of Political Science," said Rebecca Retzlaff, associate professor and program director. "It presents many new and exciting opportunities for our students and faculty to collaborate with allied disciplines of political science, public administration and health services administration."

The College of Liberal Arts is large and diverse, and the community planning faculty said they are excited about the many new opportunities that the move presents.

"Planning is a broad and diverse field, and we will now be in a better position to collaborate with disciplines such as anthropology, history, economics and many others," Retzlaff said.

According to Brown and Retzlaff, community planning programs are a natural fit with political science and public administration. In recent years, many planning programs throughout the country have moved out of architecture schools and into broader departments, like political science, as the field of planning and the professional and educational needs of students have changed. This move is consistent with a national trend in the planning field away from architecture and design schools and toward the social sciences.

"We welcome the Master of Community Planning program to the College of Liberal Arts with open arms," said Joseph Aistrup, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts. "And we are looking forward to building on their successes and forging new relationships and opportunities for our students in CLA."

For more information about the Master of Community Planning program, please visit the College of Liberal Arts' website.