A Penn State landscape architecture faculty member since 1989 and the director of the online Geodesign graduate program since 2013, Kelleann Foster retired from Penn State on Dec. 31, 2021.
Foster served as director of the Stuckeman School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture and associate dean of the College of Arts and Architecture from 2014 to 2019. In 2013–14, she was interim director of the school for which she served as acting professor-in-charge from 2016 to 2019.
Foster has 30-plus years of professional practice experience as a landscape architect and has been teaching at Penn State for over 25 years. Her sabbatical, based at Esri’s World Headquarters in Redlands, California, focused on how Penn State’s online geodesign graduate program could most effectively engage students in a collaborative, virtual studio environment. This resulted in the creation of Penn State’s geodesign programs — a Geodesign Option in the MGIS degree, a Graduate Certificate in Geodesign, and a Master in Professional Studies in Geodesign — all offered entirely online through Penn State’s award-winning World Campus. Foster has also introduced geodesign to thousands around the world through her MOOC, titled “Geodesign: Change your World.”
Much of Foster’s work involves working with communities and dynamically using computer technologies to communicate alternative scenarios to citizens. Her work has received national and international recognition. She also focuses on generating awareness about career opportunities as a landscape architect. Foster authored a book, part of John Wiley and Sons “Careers in Design” series, titled “Becoming a Landscape Architect.” In 2014 the book became available in Chinese through Chinese Architectural Press.
When she’s not working, Foster can be found exploring the world via bicycle and she enjoys anything connected to chocolate! She is a board member and past-president of the central Pennsylvania land trust, ClearWater Conservancy, and helps with the organization’s annual fundraiser “The Art and Chocolate Winter Gala.”
- B.S. in Landscape Architecture from Penn State in 1982
- M.L.A. from The University of Massachusetts in 1986
- Licensed landscape architect in Pennsylvania since 1987
Honors + Awards
- Presidential Award of Excellence, American Society of Landscape Architects, Pennsylvania/Delaware Chapter Professional Awards Program, for book Becoming a Landscape Architect: A Guide to Careers in Design for Innovative Communication.
- Merit Award, American Society of Landscape Architects, Pennsylvania/Delaware Chapter Professional Awards Program, for “The State College Borough Design Guide,” for Innovative Communication.
- Merit Award, American Society of Landscape Architects, Pennsylvania/Delaware Chapter Professional Awards Program, for “The Land Use Management Program,” (completed for VICgroup client 10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania), for Innovative Communication.
- Special Recognition Award, American Society of Landscape Architects, Pennsylvania/Delaware Chapter Professional Awards Program for “PennSCAPEs” CD-ROM, for Innovative Planning.
- Excellence Award, American Planning Association, Nevada Chapter Professional Awards Program, for “Henderson, NV Visual Interactive Code”—the DeBoer Excellence Award for innovative planning.
- Merit Award, American Society of Landscape Architects, National Professional Awards Program, for “Model Policies for Rural Residential in VIC” in the category of Communication.
- Merit Award, American Society of Landscape Architects, National Professional Awards Program, for “BLUPRINTS” in the category of Analysis and Planning.
- Award of Excellence: Outstanding Rural Planning Program, Small Town and Rural Planning Division of the American Planning Association, for “Land Use Regulations supportive of Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources in Urbanizing Rural Communities”. (with J. Hammer, Rodale Institute)
- Ruddell, D., and Foster, K. (2018). GIS&T and Geodesign. The Geographic Information Science & Technology Body of Knowledge (3rd
- Foster, K. (2018). The Data/ Tech Wave is Growing—How can we get more onto the Geodesign Surfboard? Journal of Digital Landscape
- Geodesign parsed: Placing it within the rubric of recognized design theories (Dec.2016)
- Ecosystem of tools as a linked-shared environment to achieve higher-order learning objectives.
- Book: Becoming a Landscape Architect, A Guide to Careers in Design
- State College Borough (PA) Design Guide (large PDF)
- Clearwater Conservancy
- Foster: Becoming a Landscape Architect Book
In the News
- Landscape architecture professor, director of Geodesign program to retire
- Geodesign graduate program adds longtime educator and specialist to faculty
- Geodesign graduate program welcomes urban planning expert to faculty
- Geodesign program launches video series to raise awareness about the discipline
- (Geo)Designing solutions for the future of Yellowstone
- Penn State Extension land-use webinar to focus on geodesign