Tuesday, May 11, 2021

On Tuesday, May 4, 2021, the Iowa Board of Regents awarded Chuck Connerly, Professor and Director of the School of Planning and Public Affairs (SPPA), the Regents Award for Faculty Excellence for his “exceptional contributions and sustained record of excellence."

Connerly’s contributions to the School, the University of Iowa, the planning profession, and Iowa communities are meaningful and significant, and encompass his teaching, service and scholarship activities. Connerly thinks and acts collaboratively and makes decisions that consistently benefit University of Iowa students and the state of Iowa as a whole.

Connerly joined SPPA in 2008 and made a major contribution to the school in 2009 by founding the Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities (IISC), a multi-departmental effort at the university to enhance the capacity of Iowa's communities to address the economic, environmental, and social-cultural issues they face today and build a more sustainable future. This engaged-learning experience has given SPPA graduate students the opportunity to put their education into practice during a full-year capstone project that assists Iowa’s towns. This is a testimony to Connerly’s ability to structure and implement cooperative, impactful, and sustainable programs in service of the State.

In 2010, Connerly initiated the change in name from the Graduate Program in Urban and Regional Planning to the School of Urban and Regional Planning. 

In addition to History and Theories of Planning, Connerly teaches Community Development and integrates innovative strategies to enhance community identity and placemaking through video and storytelling projects. As a result of his contributions to the University, in 2015 he received the Michael J. Brody award for faculty service, presented by the University of Iowa Faculty Senate and the UI Provost's Office. This past year, Connerly published Green, Fair, and Prosperous: Paths to a Sustainable Iowa (University of Iowa Press, 2020), which addresses Iowa's pressing social, economic and environmental sustainability challenges. He was interviewed to discuss the book on Talk of Iowa (Iowa Public Radio), again bringing attention to the importance of good planning and governance for community resilience and sustainability in the state.

Connerly’s major recent accomplishment is the creation of the new Master of Public Affairs degree. The degree was created to address the lack of accredited public sector leadership training programs in Iowa and the difficulty of hiring these professionals from within the state. Connerly developed the curriculum and engaged with other units on campus. The new degree received Board of Regents approval in 2019 and welcomed the first cohort of graduate students in Fall 2020. The Board of Regents approved the School’s name change to School of Planning and Public Affairs in 2020 to reflect this addition. This achievement exemplifies his excellence and success in engaging collaboratively with practitioners, colleagues from a variety of fields, and administrators to deliver an outstanding program that will serve the State for years to come.

Outside the University of Iowa, Connerly served as President of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP) from 2011-2013, increasing the visibility of the University of Iowa on the national stage. In 2018, he received the ACSP Jay Chatterjee Service Award for his work in service of the organization.

Connerly continually collaborates with faculty, staff, and administrators across campus, across the state, and across disciplines. He works extremely well with people from all walks of life, with students, faculty and practicing professionals. He always prioritizes the success and welfare of our students and the long-term interests and sustainability of our School and programs. He has worked tirelessly throughout his career in service of the planning profession, on behalf of planning students, and, since he joined the University of Iowa, for the benefit of Iowa communities.

We congratulate him on receiving the Regents Award for Faculty Excellence and his many achievements.