Skip to content

Nan Ellin appointed dean to lead union of Architecture, Urban and Public Affairs

November 13, 2014

UT Arlington has appointed Nan Ellin, professor and chair of the University of Utah Department of City and Metropolitan Planning, as founding dean of a new college that will be formed through the integration of the existing School of Architecture and School of Urban and Public Affairs.

Prior to joining the University of Utah, Dr. Ellin served in a series of leadership roles at Arizona State University where she directed programs in planning, Urban and Metropolitan Studies and a doctoral program in architecture and environmental design. She held ASU faculty positions in Planning and Urban Design and in the School of Sustainability, the School of Public Affairs and the School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture. She is the author of numerous books and articles including Good Urbanism: Six Steps to Creating Prosperous Places, Integral Urbanism, and Postmodern Urbanism.

In Utah, Dr. Ellin and her students have worked with residents, community organizations and city officials on The 9 Line project, an effort to convert a neglected railroad corridor into an urban amenity and trail system. In Arizona, Dr. Ellin shaped the vision for Canalscape, an ongoing initiative to create vital urban hubs throughout the Phoenix metropolitan region where canals meet major streets.

At UT Arlington, Dr. Ellin’s first priority will be to shepherd the integration of the School of Architecture and the School of Urban and Public Affairs into a new college that will extend the reputation, impact and influence of the University in areas related to design, architecture, urban planning and public affairs. The unified college will build on the strong reputation and national ranking of the two schools.

“Dr. Ellin’s depth and breadth of experience that bridges the disciplines of architecture, planning and urban and public affairs will help position UT Arlington as the center for excellence in all aspects of sustainable urban development,” President Vistasp Karbhari said. “Her impressive background of civic and community involvement will be a valuable asset not just to the new College but to our entire region as we address the challenges and opportunities of the Metroplex becoming a megacity.”

She officially joins UT Arlington on Jan. 5.

Dr. Ellin said she was drawn to UT Arlington by the University’s unique role as the major public research institution at the center of the dynamic North Texas region and an appreciation for the region’s architectural heritage.

“President Karbhari’s vision for joining the schools into one college, and the opportunity that allows, is amazing,” she said. “When you bring architecture, urban planning and public affairs together, the synergies are tremendous.”

Ralph Hawkins, chairman of the global architecture firm HKS and a UT Arlington architecture alumnus, served on the dean’s selection committee and said Dr. Ellin is well prepared to move the programs forward. In Utah, Ellin has been credited with overseeing a highly successful accreditation review, raising the stature of the planning department, building strong community partnerships and helping increase student diversity.

“As a member of the selection committee, I am delighted to welcome Nan Ellin, as the dean to lead the newly created college over both our School of Architecture and School of Urban and Public Affairs,” Hawkins said. “ Dr. Ellin brings a unique experience in both planning and architecture to lead these disciplines to national prominence for UT Arlington and ultimately for our communities.”

The integration of the School of Architecture and the School of Urban and Public Affairs emerged as a significant strategy toward accelerating UT Arlington’s support for sustainable urban communities through the Strategic Plan 2020: Bold Solutions, Global Impact. The new college will leverage the combined reputation and faculty of the two schools that date to the late 1960s to strengthen the impact that UT Arlington programs have on the world.

The UT Arlington School of Architecture is the only such school in North Texas and offers internationally recognized degrees in architecture, interior design and landscape architecture.

The Texas Legislature established the School of Urban and Public Affairs as a research and technical resource for local governments and nonprofit entities. The School includes the Institute of Urban Studies, contributes to the Arlington Urban Design Center at Arlington City Hall and offers master’s degrees in Urban Affairs and Policy, City and Regional Planning and Public Administration and doctoral degrees in Urban and Public Administration and Urban Planning and Public Policy.

Trey Yelverton, city manager for Arlington, Texas, and a UT Arlington alumnus, also praised Dr. Ellin’s selection.

“North Texas is rich with thriving municipalities, and all of us in the local government, planning and urban affairs community will benefit from the expertise Dr. Ellin will bring to our major public research University and our region,” Yelverton said.

Dr. Ellin earned her undergraduate degree from Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania and earned her graduate degrees from Columbia University in New York, including master’s degrees in both anthropology and urban planning and a doctorate in urban planning with a concentration in urban design. She also is a Fulbright Scholar who studied in France and is fluent in French and Spanish.

Dr. Ellin also has served on the faculty at New York University, the University of Southern California, the Southern California Institute of Architecture and the University of Cincinnati.

-- Kristin Sullivan, kristinsul@uta.edu

nan ellin

Dr. Nan Ellin, founding dean of the new college integrating the Schools of Architecture and Urban and Public Affairs