News & Press: ACSP Annual Conference News

A Closer Look with Charles Hoch

Tuesday, January 17, 2017  
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PAB Outstanding Site Visitor Award: Academic

Charles Hoch, University of Illinois at Chicago

ACSP recently connected with Charlie to find out more about this accomplishment.

How did you feel when you won the award?
I was surprised, but pleased to receive the PAB site visitor award. A reluctant recruit to the PAB board, I quickly learned how the reviews that we prepare for each school and that the PAB conducts strengthen urban planning education. Site visitors can be important emissaries for planning schools answering questions from curious university officials. I tried to play that role well.

Who do you want to thank, if any?
I am grateful to the example and encouragement of Linda Dalton, Norm Krumholz,Genie Birch, Bruce Stiftel, Sandi Rosenbloom, Lew Hopkins and Chris Silver whose commitment to ACSP, APA and PAB showed me how showing up and doing well makes an important difference for planning education. I started my PAB board along with executive director Shonagh Merits whose good judgment and humor helped all of us keep on task and on time. Shonagh along with the work of associate Jesmaire Johnson has greatly reduced the administrative burdens of accreditation while helping improve the quality of assessments for all involved.

I urge faculty colleagues who have not considered the role of site visitor to sign up and play an active role improving how we all do planning education in North America.

Charlie's Bio
Professor Hoch studies planning activity across scale and discipline. Struggling with New Left inspired criticisms of conventional rational planning at UCLA Hoch studied the ideas of American pragmatist John Dewey. Setting out to discredit pragmatic ideas at their source he became a convert. Hoch has spent three decades studying and proposing that we treat planning as an inherently pragmatic enterprise. It is no accident that he taught planning theory and the professional development seminar for 25 years. Hoch’s 1994 book, What Planners Do offered a pragmatic interpretation of the urban planning field. Learn More

About ACSP Awards
Each year ACSP is proud to honor faculty and students who have distinguished themselves or made major contributions to the academy or to the profession via outreach efforts, public service or for service to ACSP, the Academy, or the profession. A complete listing and history for all awards can be found at

PAB recognizes two site visitors annually, one educator and one practitioner, for their outstanding contributions to the PAB’s mission of ensuring the high quality of planning education. PAB's Site Visitor Committee selects award recipients based on feedback received from fellow team members and a member's past performance on Site Visits.


The Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning promotes education, research, service and outreach in the United States and throughout the world by seeking to:

  • recognize diverse needs and interests in planning;
  • improve and enhance the accreditation process, and;
  • strengthen the role of planning education in colleges and universities through publications, conferences, and community engagement;
  • extend planning beyond the classroom into the world of practice.