Associate Professor
Debra Cushing

Profile image of Associate Professor Debra Cushing

Faculty of Engineering,
School of Architecture & Built Environment

Personal details


Associate Professor
Faculty of Engineering,
School of Architecture & Built Environment


Children, Youth and Environments, Community Engagement, Design Pedagogy, Landscape Architecture, Participatory Planning


Architecture, Urban and Regional Planning

Field of Research code, Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC), 2008


  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Design and Planning (University of Colorado)
  • Master of Science (MS) in Landscape Architecture (University of Wisconsin, Madison)

Professional memberships and associations

  • Member of the QUT Design Lab
  • Editorial Board Member of the Children, Youth and Environments Journal
  • Member of the Australian Research Alliance for Children & Youth
  • National Education Committee of the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA)
  • APRU working group on Children, Youth and Environments


Dr. Cushing has taught numerous units in the Creative Industries Faculty, including:

  • NYC Creative Cities Study Tour (tour leader)
  • People and Place Seminar (unit coordinator)
  • Landscape Design studio units at multiple year levels (unit coordinator)

Dr. Cushing believes that students learn best when they are exposed to information through multiple modes and can actively engage in their learning experience. To enable active learning, Deb often incorporates discussion groups, hands-on practice, and opportunities for students to teach others what they are learning into her classes. When feasible, Deb also structures her classes to include a service-learning project. Although service-learning is often a more complex class format, it can also result in a richer and more memorable learning experience for the students. When the service-learning project follows best practices to ensure the “service” is specifically requested by the partnering community organization and it matches the learning objectives of the class, it can create a beneficial experience for everyone. Deb has extensive experience using service-learning in classes she taught in the United States, including:

  • Designing with Multicultural Youth:  Using Multimedia Techniques for Social Change
  • Sustainable Planning and Design
  • Participatory Community Planning:  Designing Outdoor School Environments with Children and Youth
  • Participatory Community Planning:  Designing Healthy Communities with Children and Youth
  • Participatory Community Planning:  Urban Agriculture
  • Environment and Behaviour (University of Colorado Boulder)
  • Plants and Ecology in Design (University of Wisconsin-Madison)
  • Regional Planning (University of Wisconsin-Madison)


Selected publications

QUT ePrints

For more publications by Debra, explore their research in QUT ePrints (our digital repository).

View more publications