Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture
As a designer, Haas grounds her work (research, teaching and service) within the context of improving greenspace access and active commuting opportunities, particularly for WVU and surrounding communities. Haas is a registered landscape architect in the state of West Virginia. Before joining WVU in 2013, she worked in practice for one of the largest design and planning firms, EDAW (now AECOM | Design + Planning). She helped earn a Colorado Chapter ASLA Award for Excellence for an innovative site analysis protecting the most important vegetation on a 200-acre site for Texas A&M's Health Science Center. Her specialties in practice included: campus planning, green roofs, planting design, and stormwater management. As a Fulbright Grantee (2008-2009), she worked with City officials to examine how public spaces and city planning can better promote ethnic integration in Tallinn, Estonia.
Haas is interested in how public space can promote inclusivity and ethnic integration, and in the layered histories of colonial landscapes. She researches cultural landscapes with sensitive histories, focusing on how municipalities and designers can promote inclusivity and community in public space while recognizing site histories. Haas’ work in West Virginia looks at larger-scale greenway connectivity, especially creating accessible trails in public greenspace, and safer walking routes to public schools. She is also interested in landscape ecology, especially stream restoration.
Haas is passionate about engaging students in the learning process. She uses a range of teaching techniques and team projects to ‘flip’ her classrooms and involve students in active learning in field labs, discussion, and studio. She introduces her students to technical landscape architecture skills, including: native plant identification, understanding ecological relationships, advanced site engineering and field sketching. Haas often engages students in real-world projects that benefit the community, facilitate fund-raising, or encourage stakeholder dialogue.
Her students’ projects have contributed to West Virginia Land Trust projects for public water access along the Guyandotte River, masterplanning at Elizabeth’s Woods in Little Falls, concepts for the revitalization of Star City’s riverfront, planning Rail-Trail connections for Suncrest Elementary School and surrounding neighborhood, stream surveys for long-term monitoring at Krepp’s Park and Core Arboretum, and tree surveys at Falling Run, Core Arboretum, and White Park.
In 2016 and 2018 Haas was the faculty advisor for student teams in an EPA design competition, the Campus Rainworks Challenge. The WVU team placed among the 16 finalists in 2016, proposing innovations to campus stormwater management. She is also the faculty advisor for the newly formed student group, Mountaineers for Green Design.
From 2014-2017, Haas served as the design lead for Falling Run Green Space, a WVU-owned 60-acre woodland connecting the WVU Organic Farm to downtown Morgantown. Two committees, 64 stakeholders, and 112 landscape architecture students in 10 classes contributed to Falling Run’s masterplanning process. From 2016- 2018, volunteers contributed over 5000 hours to build 2.7-miles of trail at Falling Run – an immense effort covered in 20 press articles.
- Faculty Award for Excellence in Community Engagement, WVU Center for Service & Learning, 2019
- Outstanding Service Award, WVU School of Design and Community Development, 2017
- Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture’s Service Learning Award (Junior Level), 2017
- Outstanding Service Award, WVU School of Design and Community Development, 2016
- Haas, V. (2019). Marks on the City: The Impacts of Coastline Emergence, Foreign Rule and Bombing on Contemporary Tallinn. Journal of Baltic Studies, published online, Dec. 29, 2018.
- Haas, V. (2018). Building a New Central Park through Civic Engagement and Service Learning: Falling Run Greenspace, Morgantown, West Virginia. Landscape Research Record, 7, p. 280-293.
- Belanger, B. & Haas, V. (2018). Re-imagining Linnahall in Tallinn, Estonia: Shaping the Future of a Post-Soviet Relic in the Context of Modern Urban Redevelopment. Landscape Research Record, 7, p. 355-370.
- Haas, V. and Shannon, K. (2006). Challenges of Urban Design in Post-Soviet Eastern Europe: The Case of Pärnu, Estonia, Journal of Regional Analysis & Planning, Volume 5: Urban Design Case Based Theory and Practice, p. 30-44.