Announcing the next chapter for the Runstad Department

CBE and Runstad Department community members,


I hope that this message finds you with some growing optimism as we progress through the ever-evolving health, economic and equity challenges of the past year. I can say that I am grateful for the remarkable collaboration and extraordinary efforts of our faculty, staff and community members.


Over the years, the Department of Real Estate has continued to grow thanks to the strong leadership and support of so many of you. Last April Christopher Campbell assumed the role of  Acting Chair of the Runstad Department of Real Estate, while simultaneously continuing in his role as Chair of the Department of Urban Design and Planning (UDP). As you can imagine, this has been no small feat and we are grateful for his leadership. His perspective as an experienced chair of a department with related and complementary research and teaching has been invaluable in keeping the Runstad department strong over a tumultuous period of the pandemic and social change. 


One of his tasks was to determine the appropriate length of the term for his “acting” role. We now know that the Runstad Department of Real Estate is ready to move forward with a search for a new full time tenured Department Chair; with that we are transitioning the role of Acting Chair to Sofia Dermisi, Victor L. Lyon and Alvin J. Wolff Endowed Professor in Real Estate, who will build on her long experience and leadership within the department. Prof. Dermisi’s research agenda has focused on office buildings in major downtown locations, with three areas of emphasis: market analysis, disasters and sustainability. Before coming to UW in 2014, Prof. Dermisi was the Pasquinelli Family Distinguished Chair in Real Estate at the Heller College of Business at Roosevelt University of Chicago. In her previous position she was instrumental in building the university’s real estate program, which she has continued with significant success at UW.  Prof. Dermisi was the president of the American Real Estate Society (2019-20), the first international woman to be voted for this position and only the second woman in the history of the society to attain such a role. She previously served as Program chair of the most successful society annual conference in 2018.


With a successfully launched undergraduate major degree and a revised MSRE program, the Runstad Department of Real Estate is poised to enter a new period of growth, strength, and maturity. I am excited that Sofia has agreed to step into this role this summer and am confident that she will lead the department with a wisely and with a steady hand

As the department has evolved, we are expanding and deepening our capacity to provide additional student services to students. We are fortunate to welcome Gordon Louie as the new full time RE Advisor. Gordon has over ten years of experience in advising and student services at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and most recently at the University of Iowa, where he is also completing his Ph.D. dissertation in Education. He brings a wealth of experience that will help the department expand outreach and recruitment, improve student services and institution building. In particular he is committed to culture building and developing support for non-traditional, international, and students of color.


Please join me in thanking Christopher Campbell for his excellent guidance and leadership, and welcome Sofia Dermisi and Gordon Louie, as we transition into a new chapter for the department.