Eliza Pennypacker has been a faculty member in Penn State's Department of Landscape Architecture since 1982, and has twice served as department head: 1994 – 2000 and 2014 – 2020. She has taught a wide range of courses, including the History of Landscape Architecture, First-Year Seminar, and all levels of design studio, including the semester abroad. While serving as department head, she teaches the First-Year Seminar as an opportunity both to welcome and get to know incoming B.L.A. students, and to introduce these students to the issues, challenges, and ideas of contemporary landscape architecture.
Pennypacker is a passionate teacher, committed to inculcating “independent design decision-making” in her students. That passion led to development of a research track in design pedagogy that she conducted with fellow teacher Tom Yahner (2006 – 2013). Her current interest in this area lies in addressing the profile and educational predilections of Generation Z.
Pennypacker’s other research track focuses on “artful rainwater design" (ARD): stormwater management that not only mitigates quality and quantity of runoff, but celebrates rainwater in a design that educates or entertains visitors. In collaboration with Stuart Echols, she has written and presented on this topic extensively and has published a book, Artful Rainwater Design: Creative Ways to Manage Stormwater, published in 2015. In addition, as the 2012-13 Stuckeman Professor of Interdisciplinary Design, Pennypacker hosted a one-day symposium on April 10, 2013, titled “Challenges and Opportunities in the ‘Artful Rainwater Design’ Approach to Green Infrastructure.” The event convened twelve experts in ARD who delivered TED-Talk-style presentations a facet of ARD that they find particularly interesting or challenging. These talks were videotaped and are accessible via YouTube: http://bit.ly/ArtfulRain.