"By accepting this position, I have a great opportunity to build a master of landscape architecture program in a College of Architecture that is very highly rated nationally," said Hillard, who joined the OU faculty Aug. 16.
"Also, I very much wanted to come to this part of the country," he said, adding that he taught and worked in Saudi Arabia, New York state, and Scotland before moving to Oklahoma.
As director of OU's division of landscape architecture, Hilliard will be responsible for the College of Architecture's newest and fastest growing program in terms of enrollment and professional membership.
In 1983, OU became the only university in the state and region to offer a master of landscape architecture program. Since that time, enrollment has grown to some 50 students and is expected to double over the next two years.
Landscape architecture has been an established profession in the United States for more than a century and dates back even further in other areas of the world.
"It's an old profession whose history follows population density," said Hilliard, noting that Frederick Law Olmstead - who designed New York City's Central Park a century ago - is considered the father of landscape architecture in the United States.
"As populations become more densely packed, there is more of a need for the design of open spaces," he added.
Landscape architects deal with the design of exterior environments - of people's activities on the land, Hilliard said.
"The work of landscape architects can range from planning large-scale projects - such as new towns and subdivisions, recreation areas, industrial complexes and sports facilities - to planning a small garden or courtyard," he said.
"Landscape architects work independently or on a multidisciplinary team of architects and engineers, depending on what the project entails," Hilliard added.
OU's master of landscape architecture program requires students to have a broad range of skills in such fields as art, engineering, business, construction, botany and horticulture. …