CBE Forward: September 2021


Dear Colleagues,

I hope this email finds you well and enjoying this time of year leading up to school. I know that top of mind are the plans for back to school and back to work and I hope you have been finding the information you need through the sources linked in President Cauce’s recent email and our college FAQ which continue to be updated. While we attend to the health and safety of our community in the immediate term, we have also been making progress on ensuring the college prospers and thrives in the medium and long term.

Our recently adopted strategic plan expands our ambitions as a college. As we all know, our people are our greatest asset and when we work together, we are at our best. This memo lays out two major investments in the college’s faculty, staff, and students and finishes with other personnel news of colleagues new to our community and those taking on different roles.

Seeking New Colleagues Who Add to CBE Culture

Central to accelerating progress on almost all our strategic plan goals is recruiting and hiring excellent faculty who will be cutting edge leaders in 2030 on such topics as climate solutions and environmental justice. The faculty recruitment committees are working on recruitment plans and did excellent work developing the job descriptions, please feel free to share it with your networks. We encourage you to stay in touch with your department representatives if you have colleagues you’d like to recommend or who might be good contacts for referrals. We also have an important leadership search for the new chair of the Runstad Department of Real Estate, more information to follow soon.

Once the CBE committee finalizes their selection of candidates for the cohort hires, they will refer them to the departments. At the end of fall quarter we will be looking to the departments to follow the standard process to review, interview and share the pros and cons with the chairs. Since all current faculty will be engaging in the selection process, we will be supporting them consistent with the most current research and best practice, specifically we are asking all faculty to attend anti-bias training.

First we ask that you review the Handbook of Best Practices for Faculty Searches, and then save the date for training.

All CBE faculty Anti bias training

Oct 27 12:00-1:20

Topics: review best practices and resources intended to minimize the impact of bias in the assessment and interview process

All Department faculty recruiting committee members anti bias training – deep dive

Nov 17 8:00-9:00

Topics: building on October training – best practices for reviewing files, creating a short list, practicing effective committee deliberations, developing interview questions

Aligning Faculty and Staff Resources with Strategic Goals

In addition to the national faculty searches, there are exciting changes that have been unfolding over the past few weeks. In looking at the goals for more positive student curricular and extracurricular experiences, I worked with college leadership on some changes outlined below for the two year implementation phase of the strategic plan.

To address expanded goals for the BE curriculum, we have created a new staff position, Director of Academic Planning, who will work with Associate Dean Vikram Prakash and the BE curriculum group. During the two year implementation phase, we have appointed Daniel Coslett as Acting Director. Dr. Coslett is a scholar of colonial and postcolonial architecture and urbanism whose work addresses the intersections of architecture and urban planning, preservation, archaeology, and tourism in North Africa. He received a PhD in the history and theory of built environments from the University of Washington and an MA in the subject from Cornell University. Coslett has taught art and architectural history at Western Washington University and the University of Washington.  He is an associate editor at the International Journal of Islamic Architecture. While a student at UW, Coslett initiated some of the first BE courses taught in our College. We will be relying on strong faculty engagement to ensure that the college’s academic planning benefits from the full range of disciplinary diversity and pedagogical cultures present in our college. Associate Dean Prakash continues his core responsibilities in TPMR and college academic planning in addition to  strategic planning initiatives leading the History Humanities Futures Group and the BE Curriculum Group.

Given the many strategic plan goals for expanding student support, we are creating a new Associate or Assistant Dean for Students role to work with Dean Cheng and college leaders. In the implementation phase, this person will establish broad, college-serving student services programs, policies, and processes. This position will work closely with departmental staff and processes to ensure broad collaboration, coordination, and consistency of college student service while reflecting the unique cultures and traditions of each department or program. For the initial 2 year term, I have appointed Christopher Campbell as Associate Dean for Students. Christopher will divide his time as he continues in his role Chair of Urban Design and Planning with some adjustments. Christopher brings a breadth of experience to this new role, as well as a passion for working with students, student affairs and policies. He has been with the Department of Urban Design and Planning since 2000, the Director of the innovative UDP undergraduate program, CEP, since 2010 and was appointed Chair of the Department in 2015. Christopher most recently served as the interim Chair for the Runstad Department of Real Estate during the 2019-2020 academic year, and guided the department through the ongoing pandemic.

Beyond his extensive leadership in our college, Christopher’s own research and work focuses on innovative student programs that combine academic rigor with professional and community practice. From 2008-2013 Christopher served as the Special Assistant to the Dean and Vice Provost of Undergraduate Academic Affairs. He has served on numerous university-level committees focused on curricular, programmatic, and policy issues, and has been a member of the Faculty Council for Student Affairs since 2015 where he contributed to Title IX, student health and wellness, and academic policy and procedures. He has been a three-time nominee of the University of Washington Teaching Award, a recipient of the Panhellenic Association’s Interfraternal Faculty Award (2012), and the University of Washington Undergraduate Research Mentorship Award in (2015).

We have also identified the need for a new position for equity, diversity, and inclusion. We expect to find a person who will contribute to equity, diversity and inclusion goals generally identified in the strategic plan. During this interim year while the Diversity Council develops a specific EDI strategic plan, I will work closely with Associate Dean Campbell, and the Diversity Council to determine the next steps for filling this need.

Some of you may be aware of the successful summer program called Aspire but you might not have met the program director, Alexis Wheeler. The Aspire pilot has demonstrated an excellent model for introducing students currently underrepresented in our fields to the historic and cultural barriers to housing stability and the building of generational wealth. Over this next year, Alexis will continue her work on developing internships in the college. Born and raised in Greater Seattle, Alexis brings professional experience in both real estate and higher education to the role, having previously practiced as a real estate associate at Davis Wright Tremaine LLP (Seattle) and having served in several administrative roles at UW Bothell and UW Tacoma. She holds bachelor’s degrees in history and political science from the University of Washington, a JD from Harvard Law School, and a MSc in Real Estate Development from the University of Westminster (London).

In other news, I am pleased to announce the successful completion of a national search for the Director of CBE’s Fabrication Lab. Catherine McCulloch (she/her/hers) joins us on September 15 from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), and brings ten years of experience in higher education running interdisciplinary making spaces.  She has demonstrated a commitment and passion for building educational programming, with strong inclusive communities at the forefront of those programs.  She exhibits a deep understanding of teaching students from diverse backgrounds, while also managing large and complex fabrication facilities. We are grateful for Penny Maulden’s wonderful leadership, which forms the basis for continued future success.

After a national search, we have hired Melissa Hamasaki in the Advancement Services Officer role, and she started with CBE just this week on Tuesday, September 7th. Melissa will be supporting the Advancement team on college events, stewardship and office management. She brings over 20 years of event experience working in professional theatre, serving as Stage Manager on many productions.  Locally, she has also worked with Seattle Children’s Theatre, Intiman, 14/48, the Pacific Northwest Ballet, the Seattle Rep, and the UW School of Drama. Melissa also brings experience working as the Continuing Legal Education Coursebook Coordinator for the Washington State Bar Association where she worked with volunteer faculty to develop course materials. She is passionate and practiced in event planning and management about events and we are excited to welcome her to the CBE Advancement team!

Continuing the practices of the past two years, I am strongly committed to open searches, believing they are key for modeling equitable practices as well as advancing dialogue about who we are as a community and understanding the potential for individuals to add value to our collective culture. It’s going to be challenging to give the appropriate attention to each search while also making steady progress on strategic plan implementation. We are prioritizing the faculty cohort search for fall and winter and judiciously making appointments for limited term positions in other areas. We have time later for searches for those positions where the “acting” role is intentionally brief.

Please join me in welcoming those new to our community and congratulating those taking on new roles. I look forward to seeing how the new collaborative teams support our collective work on strategic plan implementation.

Yours,

Renee


P.s. If you haven’t seen it, check out the recent post from the School of Public Health Dean, Hilary Godwin. I found her perspective to be very helpful to me personally as well as insightful on the values underlying UW’s transition back to in person learning. I have confidence that we will weather the transition with grace and good humor as we have throughout the pandemic and encourage you to reach out to the department chairs or me if you have any questions or concerns.

Renee Cheng, FAIA, DPACSA, NOMA

Dean of the College of Built Environments
University of Washington
3950 University Way NE
224 Gould Hall, Box 355726
Seattle, WA 98195-5726
206.616.0634

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