Sean Michael, who earned a Master of Landscape Architecture degree in 1992, heads the Utah State University Department of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning. A leading authority on landscape design’s impact on crime, Michael’s research findings have informed safety strategies in urban parks and other land uses.
In 2006, he authored "Security Design: Strategy, Integration and Liability,” the first training manual that detailed crime prevention measures that landscape architects can incorporate into their designs.
Michael, whose work has assisted trail development in Washington, Montana, Idaho and Colorado, also serves as a park and open space consultant to numerous municipalities, states and federal agencies.
In his classes at USU, Michael focuses on recreation, recreation areas, the communities adjacent to them, and environmental psychology in design. He lectures frequently about these topics to audiences in the U.S. and abroad.
He also heads the university’s Outdoor Product Design & Development program, which focuses on the design of outdoor recreational equipment. Since its founding in 2015, enrollment has soared in the fledgling program, the first of its kind of the nation.
Michael is also one of the university’s top administrators, said Bo Yang ’09, a former USU associate professor of landscape architecture.
“He led the expansion of the department’s fulltime faculty from eight to 14 members, improved its financial situation, which led to new lab and video conferencing facilities, established two new endowed lectureships, helped quadruple appearances by guest speakers, and raised faculty morale,” said Yang.
Michael also oversaw the establishment of a Ph.D. in Landscape Architecture program, new fundraising and alumni connection initiatives, a professional landscape architect in residence program, and many more departmental enhancements.