Disney Imagineer to lead UF’s new graduate program in themed environments integration


Steven Grant, a 28-year veteran of Walt Disney Imagineering, is joining the University of Florida College of Design, Construction and Planning as director of the college’s new graduate program in themed environments integration.

“I am delighted that Steven has agreed to join our faculty as director of this innovative program. He has a tremendous wealth of knowledge on themed environments and is committed to developing the next generation. We are excited about his vision and plans for the program,” said Dean Chimay Anumba.

A registered architect and past president of the American Institute of Architects Orlando Chapter, Grant holds bachelor’s degrees in architecture and environmental design from Ball State University, and a master’s degree in liberal studies from Rollins College. With his experience as a project architect and design manager, Grant plans to bridge industry and academics to facilitate access to people, perspectives and activities in the themed environments industry.

“My objective is to integrate my extensive professional practice and industry connections with the University of Florida’s academic and research resources to provide students with an engaging collaborative interdisciplinary learning environment,” said Grant.

The Master of Science in Architectural Studies with a Concentration in Themed Environments Integration will launch this fall at the college’s CityLab-Orlando location. A graduate certificate option is also available. This new concentration is a unique industry-driven program. Developed with the active participation of industry experts from leading players in the themed environments industry, the program leverages the college’s core strengths in architecture, landscape architecture, construction management and interior design. As the program grows, other UF colleges will be able to contribute.

Themed environments enhance a wide range of human experiences from real estate development projects, museums/exhibitions, retail, dining and entertainment venues, to theme parks and cruise ships. Thus, the degree focuses on the enmeshed needs of an industry embodied in arts, technical disciplines and construction/fabrication that makes an immersive themed environment possible. Students will be provided with a holistic view of themed environments – from the ‘story’ through design, facility construction and operation, to the end-user experience. Through internships and instructors from the industry, students will have unprecedented access to global leaders in the themed environments industry.

According to Dean Anumba, “Our vision is to create, in concert with industry, the next generation of themed environment professionals, who have an excellent understanding of how the critical aspects of the environment are integrated to provide enduring user experiences.”

Applications for the program are being accepted from students with undergraduate degrees in architecture, landscape architecture, interior design, engineering, construction and technical theater arts. For questions about the application process, please visit the program website or contact [email protected].

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