Tulane School of Architecture has appointed two faculty to new leadership positions to support the school's expanded academic offerings and therefore a necessary restructuring in the administration.
Tiffany Lin has been named Director of Design, overseeing the new Bachelor of Arts in Design and Design Minor, both of which have seen substantial growth since launching roughly one year ago.
Emilie Taylor Welty is the new Associate Director of Architecture, which was created to manage the undergraduate architecture program alongside the newly restructured position of Director of Architecture that is currently being held in an interim capacity by Kentaro Tsubaki. The school is in the search process for a new faculty member to fill the Director of Architecture position, which will oversee both graduate and undergraduate programs.
Previously, Marianne Desmarais was the Director of Undergraduate Architecture and Design.
"Tiffany and Emilie have exceptional teaching experience and know how to bring out the best in their students. Outside the classroom, they both engage in rigorous research that informs their work in the classroom and inspires students. I believe their thoughtful approaches to pedagogy, research and practice will help the Architecture and Design programs excel now and in the future," said Iñaki Alday, Dean of Tulane School of Architecture.
Lin and Welty are currently working on a project that examines racial injustice and its impact on the design of urban spaces, monuments and memorials. The project, “Public Space and Scrutiny: Examining Urban Monuments Through Social Psychology,” recently won a SOM Foundation Research Prize.
Lin, an architect, designer, and painter, has been teaching at Tulane School of Architecture since 2009, coordinating core studios and developing beginning design pedagogy. Lin said she took her new position because the Design program's quick growth, along with her involvement as Design faculty in its success, led her to recognize the need for more students to learn the design process. As of this summer, the program's enrolled students included 110 majors and 63 minors.
The Design program aims to broaden students’ frame of reference and to understand design as a mechanism for positive change rather than simply composing the appearances of things.
"The strength and uniqueness of our Design Program, compared to other trade-oriented or vocational programs, is that it strives to center design as a state of mind for building empathy, humility, and self-awareness – the first steps toward collaborating with other disciplines when solving complex problems," Lin said.
As the Director of Design, Lin said her vision is to cultivate future-oriented skills – such as creativity and empathy – to underscore the importance of human discernment in the age of automation and artificial intelligence.
"My hope for the Design program at large is to offer courses that encourage Tulane undergraduates to think more critically about the constructed world around them, whether or not they become professional designers in the future," Lin said.
Welty, AIA, who also leads local design firm Colectivo, began at Tulane School of Architecture in 2006 as a graduate student. Since then she has worked with hundreds of students on dozens of design-build projects through the school's City Center, now named the Albert and Tina Small Center for Collaborative Design, where she continues to serve as Design-Build Manager.
Welty said she accepted the position as Associate Director of Architect for many reasons, but she was especially interested in working more closely with colleagues in the program.
"And for the design challenge of continuing the work that was started long before us and will continue on after us - o making the best educational opportunities for our students," Welty said.
The school is at an exciting and pivotal moment, Welty said. And she looks forward to collaborating with all stakeholders (students, faculty, staff, alumni) on a future vision for the program and the school.
"We have our building renovation underway, and in a different way our school, like many other schools right now, has a curriculum renovation underway in light of all the urgent and necessary conversations happening around climate change and racial equity and justice," Welty said.
Researchers from the Tulane University School of Architecture and the School of Science and Engineering are embarking on a project that they hope answers questions about racial injustice and its impact on the design of urban spaces, monuments and memorials.