Dr. Dorna Eshrati was our 2021-2022 Excellence in Graduate Recruiting Award recipient. Dr. Eshrati is an Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture and Graduate Advisor for the Master of Urban Design CAP Indy program.

Nominator Martha Hunt wrote this about Dr. Eshrati, “In the past 18 months she has been instrumental in raising the profile of both of our master’s programs: Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA) and Master of Urban Design (MUD).  Dr. Eshrati has engaged a three-pronged approach: update materials, communicate and market, and push virtual information sessions. While she would not claim to have done this alone (she is part of a larger team and works closely with our MLA Graduate Program Director), I can attest to her energy and leadership in recruiting. She took the lead in upgrading the handbook, posting on Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn, and led the charge in recruiting international students. She has also been influential in revamping presentation materials for information sessions and provided significant input and direction in the website upgrade.”

Here is a Q and A with Dr. Eshrati

  1. What is your recruiting philosophy?

As a former international student, I know how hard it could be for someone to start and navigate the path to graduate studies especially when you come from a different educational system or have a gap between your last earned degree, and when you are not sure if getting a graduate degree would be the best fit for you.

  1. What strategies do you employ in your work in recruiting?

I have engaged a three-pronged approach:  update materials, communicate and market, and push virtual information sessions with the help of a larger team of faculty and graduate students in the Department of Landscape Architecture. In particular, I have taken the lead on upgrading the handbook, posting on Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn, and have led the charge on recruiting international students. I have been involved with revamping presentation materials for information sessions and upgrading our website. These efforts have resulted in the following:

  • Over 500 people visiting each promotional post (recent example: https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6890337964745191424/)
  • Increased contact through monthly information sessions (for MLA and MUD), averaging 15 students/session from September 2021 on. Previously, sessions averaged 2 or 3.
  • A remarkable leap in international contacts, namely from Tribhuvan University in Nepal (58 students) and the University of Rwanda (10 students).

The website and material upgrades (completed in Summer 2021), diligence in marketing, and focus on prospective recruits have made substantial differences in the number of applications we received in our Master of Urban Design and Master of Landscape Architecture Program. We expect to see this positive trajectory continue.

  1. What is your proudest achievement in recruiting for your graduate program? 

The warm thank you notes that I receive from our prospective students commenting positively on their application process, how excited they are to start their graduate studies in our programs, and its potential impacts on their future professional goals.

  1. Who has helped you along the way as you have developed your skills in this area?

My passion for letting everyone know about the opportunity to become an urban designer or a landscape architect has driven me to use any chance to share about our graduate programs and encourage people to consider our programs. Also, the other factors that have helped me a lot are my own experience of going to graduate schools in two different countries and the incredible support and attention that the College of Architecture and Planning and the Department of Landscape Architecture give to our Graduate Programs.

  1. Anything else you would like us to know?

I want to express my gratitude for all the support we receive from Ball State’s Graduate School, CAP, and the Department of Landscape Architecture.


Dean Adam Beach, Dr. Dorna Eshrati, and Director of Graduate Admissions, Kates Brommeland


Martha Hunt and Dorna Eshrati