Dean’s Dialogue Discussion Series Summary: Collaboration

On Wednesday, May 15th, over a dozen people gathered in Architecture Hall, or joined the discussion via Zoom, to discuss the topic of collaboration as part of the Dean’s Dialogue Discussion Series launched by the College of Built Environments’ dean, Renée Cheng. Participants in the meeting comprised of faculty, students, alumni, and professional advisory group representatives from CBE’s five departments (Architecture, Construction Management, Landscape Architecture, Real Estate, and Urban Design & Planning).

Dean Cheng welcomed participants to Wednesday’s meeting and began the conversation with a question: What would it mean if every CBE graduate, staff, faculty knew how to collaborate, really collaborate?

The term collaboration is used to describe many different types of work across many different groups. In the built environments, collaborators can include people with widely different agendas, values, training, and degrees of engagement. If we believe that progress in improving the built environment requires deep collaborative skills and ability to facilitate collaboration, what can CBE do to develop and support those skills? How well do we do that now? How are we measuring success? Does anything need to change?

Participants in the meeting discussed what successful collaboration would look like for our college and how it could integrate with our curriculum and research as well as across the UW. The biggest obstacle to successful collaboration identified in the meeting was how fundamentally different language and vocabulary can be across the different disciplines and how a shared language in practice could help close the gap.

You can review the discussion here (closed captioning available):


Last of the Dean’s Dialogue Discussion Topics:

Wed, May 22nd: When we talk about CBE’s research having more impact, what do we mean and how do we measure it? (7:30 am in Arch Hall Room 042, light breakfast provided)

Please RSVP to Susanne Adamson at adamsons@uw.edu if you plan to attend any of the above sessions so that she can plan for refreshments.

OR Join the Livestream (Zoom)

Same link for all five meetings: https://washington.zoom.us/j/4073312015

Dial-up is also available:

+1 669 900 6833 US – West

+1 646 876 9923 US – East

Meeting ID: 407 331 2015

Dean’s Dialogue Discussion Series Summary: Equity, Diversity, Inclusion

On Wednesday, May 1st, over 25 people gathered in Gould Hall, or joined the discussion via Zoom, to discuss the topic of equity, diversity, and inclusion as part of the Dean’s Dialogue Discussion Series launched by the College of Built Environments’ new dean, Renée Cheng. Participants in the meeting comprised of faculty, students, alumni, and professional advisory group representatives from CBE’s five departments (Architecture, Construction Management, Landscape Architecture, Real Estate, and Urban Design & Planning) as well as from the University of Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs and Urban@UW.

Dean Cheng welcomed participants to Wednesday’s meeting and began the conversation with a question: What does it mean to have a strategic approach to equity diversity and inclusion (EDI)?

If a strategy for EDI means setting specific goals, committing to a plan to achieve them and measuring progress, have we been doing this? if so, can we do better? if not, what would it look like? What are the inherent connections between EDI and the built environment? What are the teaching/learning changes we could make to better support EDI skills for our students? What research opportunities are there for measuring, tracking or projecting increased EDI in our disciplines? If we are able to start a program of training for faculty, staff and students next year, what are CBE-specific goals?

Participants in the meeting discussed the lack of diversity and representation within the built environments industries, such as architecture, development, construction, landscape architecture, and planning. These industries provide value to society and have a direct impact on human health and wellness. The conversation centered around our college’s need for a strategic approach to EDI in conjunction with the University of Washington.

You can review the discussion here (closed captioning available):


Upcoming Dean’s Dialogue Discussion Topics:

(All at 7:30 am in Architecture Hall Room 042, light breakfast will be provided)

Wed, May 15th: What would it mean if every CBE graduate, staff, faculty knew how to collaborate, really collaborate?

Wed, May 22nd: When we talk about CBE’s research having more impact, what do we mean and how do we measure it?

Please RSVP to Susanne Adamson at adamsons@uw.edu if you plan to attend any of the above sessions so that she can plan for refreshments.

OR Join the Livestream (Zoom)

Same link for all five meetings: https://washington.zoom.us/j/4073312015

Dial-up is also available:

+1 669 900 6833 US – West

+1 646 876 9923 US – East

Meeting ID: 407 331 2015

Dean’s Dialogue Discussion Series Summary: Applied Research

On Wednesday, April 24th, over 25 people gathered in Architecture Hall, or joined the discussion via Zoom, to discuss the topic of applied research as part of the Dean’s Dialogue Discussion Series launched by the College of Built Environments’ new dean, Renée Cheng. Participants in the meeting comprised of faculty, students, and professional advisory group representatives from CBE’s five departments (Architecture, Construction Management, Landscape Architecture, Real Estate, and Urban Design & Planning) as well as from the University of Washington’s Office of Research and Urban@UW.

Dean Cheng welcomed participants to Wednesday’s meeting and began the conversation with a question: How would an applied research consortium work at CBE?

While there are many forms of research that are well supported by the university, applied research done in collaboration with industry or community partners can be challenging. At the same time, research is needed to close the knowledge loop in the built environment since many issues can only be addressed by aligning goals among industry, community and academic partners.

What does a collaborative applied research model look like? How do we ensure that valid research questions can originate from either academic home or practices? By what mechanisms do we work effectively together, bringing the best from each other’s’ expertise and cultures? How can we engage students in this work to position them as leaders of future practice?

Participants in the meeting discussed how an applied research consortium in the UW’s College of Built Environments could close the broken knowledge loop. Communities are coming across problems they can’t solve on their own and the UW has academic ideas and research on how these communities can work with partners to solve these problems. We can work to fill this gap by delivering ideas and solutions for communities to test and put to practice. Key areas of the discussion centered around how the consortium would be constructed, ways to include industry partners, non-profits, local governments, and how to maintain students at the core of the research.

You can review the discussion here (closed captioning available):


Upcoming Dean’s Dialogue Discussion Topics:

(All at 7:30am, all in Architecture Hall Room 042 except the May 1st event, light breakfast will be provided)

*Wed, May 1st: What does it mean to have a strategic approach to equity diversity and inclusion? *The Dean’s Dialogue Discussion on May 1st will take place in Gould 102.

Wed, May 15th: What would it mean if every CBE graduate, staff, faculty knew how to collaborate, really collaborate?

Wed, May 22nd: When we talk about CBE’s research having more impact, what do we mean and how do we measure it?

Please RSVP to Susanne Adamson at adamsons@uw.edu if you plan to attend any of the above sessions so that she can plan for refreshments.

OR Join the Livestream (Zoom)

Same link for all five meetings: https://washington.zoom.us/j/4073312015

Dial-up is also available:

+1 669 900 6833 US – West

+1 646 876 9923 US – East

Meeting ID: 407 331 2015

Dean’s Dialogue Discussion Series Summary: Housing

On Wednesday, April 17th, over 25 people gathered in Architecture Hall, or joined the discussion via Zoom, to discuss the topic of the UW’s housing problem as part of the Dean’s Dialogue Discussion Series launched by the College of Built Environments’ new dean, Renée Cheng. Participants in the meeting comprised of faculty, students, and professional advisory group representatives from CBE’s five departments (Architecture, Construction Management, Landscape Architecture, Real Estate, and Urban Design & Planning) as well as from the University of Washington’s Facilities in the office of Special Programs.

Dean Cheng welcomed participants to Wednesday’s meeting and began the conversation with a question: Can UW Solve its own housing problem?

In 1991, the UW made a major effort and had great success addressing our own transportation problems; we created a holistic change in behavior by establishing the right incentives through tactically pricing parking and transit passes and working with infrastructure partners to increase bus service to campus. This success demonstrated a model of how choice commuting could work in the entire city and state.

The University may grow by up to six million net new gross square feet over the next 10 years and is expanding west of 15th according to the UW Campus Master Plan. Could the University do the same for our region’s housing problem as we did for transportation in 1991, creating affordable housing for faculty, staff and students? What would the College of Built Environments do to change the pro forma for land we develop? How would larger systems need to be brought into play? Who would we collaborate with?

Participants in the meeting were excited about this conversation and agreed the best way to move forward is through a unified vision, ascertaining who else from within the UW should be involved in the dialogue, and a public collection of information to include keyword searching capabilities from courses, studios, and research that have already occurred, are underway, or have yet to occur that touch on the housing issues in our region. There was also agreement for the need to look more broadly at the efforts already underway outside the university in both the city and at the state level.

Several students from the College of Built Environments were in attendance and reminded the group to keep in mind that when we converse about the need for housing solutions for our staff, faculty, and students, there are real people who are experiencing housing insecurity and are currently affected by this housing problem, particularly international and out-of-state students.

Additional takeaways from this meeting:

  • The community’s trust in the University provides a unique opportunity for us to offer informed input or lend support to legislative solutions and policy issues, where appropriate. (Examples: encouraging backyard cottages (ADU, DADU) on single-family lots. Incentivize the missing middle and assist in identifying how to use our existing building stock in new ways. Addressing the need for more 2-3 bedroom housing in Seattle. Assisting homeowners to earn extra income by subletting open bedrooms to students/staff/faculty)
  • Students offer valuable insight into this issue as well as the ability to engage people in the conversation where others cannot. Having students lead the effort and compensating them for their work is key.
  • The UW Student Housing and Food Insecurity Survey results come out next month which will help provide data about students’ housing needs.
  • Other universities that are tackling housing issues were addressed but none seem to try to address the problem comprehensively for students, faculty, and staff.
  • External partners to the UW are keen to hear about our work around housing solutions; keeping them involved is paramount.


Upcoming Dean’s Dialogue Discussion Topics:

(All at 7:30am, all in Architecture Hall Room 042 except the May 1st event, light breakfast will be provided)

Wed, April 24th: How would an applied research consortium work at CBE?

*Wed, May 1st: What does it mean to have a strategic approach to equity diversity and inclusion? *The Dean’s Dialogue Discussion on May 1st will take place in Gould 102.

Wed, May 15th: What would it mean if every CBE graduate, staff, faculty knew how to collaborate, really collaborate?

Wed, May 22nd: When we talk about CBE’s research having more impact, what do we mean and how do we measure it?

Please RSVP to Susanne Adamson at adamsons@uw.edu if you plan to attend any of the above sessions so that she can plan for refreshments.

OR Join the Livestream (Zoom)

Same link for all five meetings: https://washington.zoom.us/j/4073312015

Dial-up is also available:

+1 669 900 6833 US – West

+1 646 876 9923 US – East

Meeting ID: 407 331 2015

Furthering the Dialogue: Open Discussions Around Five Topics

I invite you to join me for a series of five meetings during the remainder of this academic year to share ideas around topics that have been arising over the course of my listening, learning, and planning activities since I’ve joined the College of Built Environments in January. Essentially, it is a continuation of the Dean’s Dialogue, with a chance for me to think out loud with input and feedback from the CBE community.

Please note:

  • Conversations to be live streamed with remote connection and archived
  • Framing of the topics will be shared ahead with written text
  • We will summarize and post themes covered in the discussion

All at 7:30am-8:45am all in Architecture Hall Room 042, light breakfast will be provided

Wed, April 17th: Can the UW solve its own housing crisis, providing affordable housing for faculty, staff and students?

Wed, April 24th: How would an applied research consortium work at CBE?

Wed, May 1st: What does it mean to have a strategic approach to equity diversity and inclusion?

Wed, May 15th: What would it mean if every CBE graduate, staff, faculty knew how to collaborate, really collaborate?

Wed, May 22nd: When we talk about CBE’s research having more impact, what do we mean and how do we measure it?

Please RSVP to Susanne Adamson if you plan to attend any of the above sessions so that she can plan for refreshments.

– Renée Cheng, Dean


Join the Livestream (Zoom)

Same link for all five meetings: https://washington.zoom.us/j/4073312015

Dial-up is also available:

+1 669 900 6833 US – West

+1 646 876 9923 US – East

Meeting ID: 407 331 2015

Dean’s Dialogue Update

CBE Colleagues,

Firstly let me apologize for neglecting to bring the Minnesota snow infrastructure with me when I brought the Minnesota weather! I hope you are all managing with the disruptions and that we will get back into the swing of things soon.

Secondly, I have a few short updates to share with you on the Dean’s Dialogue process:

-The report from the survey and interviews has been delayed due to a family emergency which is resolving but has put Julius behind his schedule for our work. We believe the report will be ready by beginning of next week, thank you for your patience and understanding.

– We have tentatively planned to have Trevor return March 7/8 to help me conduct the external stakeholder focused part of the Dean’s Dialogue. This will primarily be through the Professional Advisory Committees and key partners in the community. Edgar and Keisha are helping to coordinate, so please let them know if you have suggestions on the invitation list.
– Trevor will also help consult with the communications efforts that have been ongoing, updated in my previous email.

-we are tentatively planning to have Julius return on March 13/14 or 14/15 to help build from the listening + learning towards planning. This will likely be focused around what would be effective ways to discuss mission/vision/values (just as a reminder, his expertise is on process, you all are the experts on content).
– I’m also asking him to offer insights on strategic approaches to equity, diversity and inclusion efforts and provide advice and feedback on how we might use our efforts to have greatest impact.
– He will also present material on the intercultural developmental inventory so we can plan future training and assessments, looking at how it might fit (or not) with training already done and with others that UW has found to be effective.

-My office hours will continue (look for announcements from Susanne Adamson ) but I will be reducing from 4 hours per week to 2 for the next few weeks so I can have time to see more of the classes and studios in action. Feel free to stop me and chat if you see me wandering around your spaces, or if there are particularly productive (and/or less disruptive) times for me to swing by, please advise Susanne.

-Not directly related to the Dean’s Dialogue, but something where the outcomes will be discussed: we are preparing for the CBE stop on the “Provost’s Walking Tour” where he has been visiting each of the colleges for 2-3 hours to better understand our opportunities and challenges. This is not a showcase, he particularly pointed out that he is quite familiar with all the great things we do and would like to hear more about what we hope to do and any obstacles or challenges we face. While we will be unable to tour him through very aspect of the college, we may be asking for a sample of studios, classrooms or other spaces to have examples of work posted or faculty or students available to talk about work. More information will be coming soon. His visit is Wednesday 2/27 in the afternoon, timing and agenda TBD.

Thanks everyone for your grace and resilience under difficult conditions!

-renee

p.s. if you are wishing for a bit of help achieving more grace and resilience, HERE is a resource on teaching strategies and tips for working with unexpectedly shortened class times.

-rc

Building equity: A talk with Renée Cheng, new dean of the UW College of Built Environments

Renée Cheng comes to the University of Washington from the University of Minnesota, where she was professor and associate dean of its school of architecture and design. A licensed architect, Cheng is a leader in the American Institute of Architects and advocates for equity in the architecture field and practices related to the built environment. She joined the UW on Jan. 1.

Cheng answered questions about the college and her new role for UW News.

What is it about the College of Built Environments, the UW and the Seattle area — with its many challenges — that attracted you?

It was actually those challenges — particularly around housing and homelessness — that attracted me, especially because the College of Built Environments has a real chance to have an impact on an urgent societal issue. It goes without saying that housing and homelessness is incredibly important, but we also know that it’s not the only “wicked problem” or grand challenge facing us. It’s clear to me that the college can establish a method or approach to contribute positively to the dialogue and lead where we are best suited to do so.

You’ve had an interesting career path, starting your education with pre-med in mind, earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology and social relations, and then a master’s in architecture — and founding your own firm. How do these diverse experiences help inform your work?

It’s easier to see now in hindsight, but all my choices have been based in trying to make a difference in the world through action and to take those actions with respect for humanity. I try to have my actions — whether they are large or small scale, on my own or with others — to be the best: with care, integrity and beauty.

What are some of your priorities coming in as dean, both in the short and longer term?

I’m fortunate to come at a time when our college, students and faculty are very strong. I’m not starting with a blank page, instead I’m helping add a chapter to a wonderful book. My first step is to speed-read that book to catch up with everyone else who understands it so well. That content includes internal college matters but also its partners, alumni and community as well as its past history and context.

Moving forward, I would love to amplify and enhance the college’s contributions to advancing solutions to our most intractable problems that involve or include the built environments. I think most people know that College of Built Environments disciplines are good at looking to the future and designing beautiful places, but its even more than that: The college has great visionaries and designers, but they work with historians who know that the future is in the context of the past, and with scholars who understand the policy and financial models that shape the parameters in direct dialogue with designers. In the ideal world, faculty and students from our disciplines respect the distinct differences and find ways to work effectively to impact society.

In Seattle as in Minneapolis — where you headed the University of Minnesota School of Architecture / College of Design — there is a great focus on homelessness, housing affordability and density in communities. How can the college contribute to conversations on these topics and pursue solutions?

Housing, homelessness, affordability and density involve some of the most difficult issues in society and there needs to be a diverse set of skills and great depth of information brought to bear to make progress. Lots of good ideas with many insights and resources are needed to have constructive dialogue.

The college offers a great platform for multidisciplinary collaboration including a coalition of academic experts, students, communities, public and private institutions. In addition to providing the space for productive dialogue, we are able to envision scenarios and we are comfortable with holding open multiple parallel options simultaneously. This lateral thought process, sometimes called “design thinking,” can be incredibly powerful to define and solve complex layered problems.

Coming decades will bring continued environmental challenges such as rising seas, warming temperatures and extreme weather. Innovation is bringing driverless cars, the proliferation of drones and more. How might — how must — the built environment world respond?

The built environment has already adapted, not always in positive ways, to changes in climate and technology. Changing in a positive way is the key.

We also need to realize that we don’t just react to those forces of change, we have a responsibility to attend to the social justice implications of environments. Change will happen, it’s guaranteed. Positive change is not guaranteed, it will take concerted efforts by colleges like ours to define, nudge, cajole and lead.

You are an advocate for equity in the built environment professions and recently led the research effort for the American Institute of Architecture’s guides for equitable practice in the workplace. How will this inform your leadership in the college?

You asked earlier about my background; I think in many ways I’ve come full circle to my focus on human interaction and relationships. Practicing equity and inclusion have shown me that bridging across differences — cultural, gender, disciplinary — is at the heart of so many things I care about. It has also taught me that we learn through taking risks and making mistakes.

I love that the UW has been such a leader in equity, diversity and inclusion. President Cauce has set such a great example in her aspirational yet grounded approach, and she has well defined values that are clear and shared among the deans. It’s impressive and exciting to be adding to this mix that which I have learned about equity in the practice of architecture.


Originally posted on UW News. Questions by Peter Kelley of UW News and Kailey Waring of the College of Built Environments.

Update from Renée on Dean’s Dialogue

Hello CBE community,

I have very much enjoyed my first two weeks, thank you again for your warm welcome and your patience as I get used to my new role and new context.
I don’t know yet what is the best communication style and pace for reaching you all but for today I wanted to send an update to the Dean’s Dialogue that was started last week.
  •  I have weekly open office hours, Susanne will announce early in the week
  • A forum of student leaders will be convened on Wednesday next week, we will use a slightly different version of the instant polling – hoping the attraction of pizza and a chance to be on their phones for an hour will draw a nice group of student leaders. If you would like to nominate a student to participate, please let Meegan know.
  • Professional outreach will be next week and week following, more information to come
  • Since it was a priority of my candidacy and has been rising to the top as an important theme, I’m starting planning for how CBE can take a strategic approach to increase equity, diversity and inclusion. There have been great efforts and enormous good will so far and CBE is ready to move with purpose and clear intent. These efforts can and should be done with help and in partnership while also building on the wonderful assets and efforts already in place. I’m exploring options and more will be coming soon, but plan for some events in mid March and possibly again in June.
Please remember to fill out the survey, link is HERE
If you have started the survey and saved it, or if you have not yet done it, please set a reminder to wrap and submit before Friday January 25. This is a very important part of the report that Julius is preparing, and a high participation rate would make it even more valuable.
Thank you and enjoy the long weekend honoring MLK!
renee

Message to CBE faculty, staff and students from Dean Cheng

Hello!

I’m thrilled to be here for the start of a new year in my new role in the CBE community! Thank you so much for the warm welcomes I’ve received and thanks also for your patience during the long transition time. In particular I would like to thank former Dean John Schaufelberger for his stewardship of the college and for being such a great partner during our leadership transition.
As you might have heard, I’m starting “a dean’s dialogue” for listening, learning and planning our future. These events will be unfolding over the next few quarters in a variety of formats and settings. I hope to reach everyone in the CBE community in whatever way works best for all of us. Your insights are invaluable to help me understand CBE’s activities, needs, potential and most importantly, its culture.
When my schedule becomes more clear, I will be setting up regular office hours in addition to other forums. But please also feel free to email me and/or invite me to any events or classes you would like me to see!
Thank you again for all your support and I’m very excited to be working with you as we move onward to CBE’s next opportunities!
-renee

$250,000 gift from NBBJ to the UW College of Built Environments will advance applied research in the built environment

NBBJ – a global architecture, planning and design firm – will donate a quarter of a million dollars to establish a ground breaking partnership with the University of Washington’s (UW) College of Built Environments (CBE). The gift will forge multiple relationships over many years, touching faculty, students and researchers who advance knowledge of our understanding of how the built environment positively affects human health and wellbeing.

The partnership will strive to translate basic research into action, create innovative solutions to design problems, and engage the next generation of leaders through the teaching and research at CBE and across the University of Washington. CBE dean Renée Cheng, FAIA, says partnerships like the one between NBBJ and the CBE are essential to define and identify solutions to the grand challenges of the 21st century.

“Connecting the knowledge loop between practices and academy is key towards ensuring our buildings foster and nurture human health. Partnerships between a leading design firm like NBBJ with a leading multidisciplinary college like ours will accelerate the impact of our research, directly benefiting our industry, our communities and society. While our initial focus will be on human health, we see this as a model for collaborative, complementary and applied research that this college can and will use to address the most urgent issues of our society – from finding smarter ways to deal with carbon to increasing affordable housing and addressing homelessness,” said Cheng.

“The built environment is a powerful tool to provoke change, and is inextricably linked to positive health outcomes,” said NBBJ Managing Partner Steve McConnell, FAIA. “The partnership between NBBJ and UW will advance the next generation of research related to design and health by anchoring it more deeply in project work and sharing it more broadly across competitive boundaries. Our entire industry – and ultimately our clients and the community at large – will benefit from its impact.”

NBBJ will engage with students and faculty from the CBE and across health sciences at the UW. The specifics of the multi-year partnership will evolve organically but it will engage faculty, students and practitioners in activities such as projects, studios, seminars, charrettes and symposia.

About NBBJ

NBBJ creates innovative places and experiences for organizations worldwide and designs environments, communities and buildings that enhance people’s lives. Founded in 1943, NBBJ is an industry leader in designing corporate office, healthcare, commercial, civic, science, education and sports facilities. The firm has won numerous awards and has been recognized as the world’s “Most Innovative Architecture Firm” by Fast Company magazine. The firm has a history of spearheading innovative partnerships that provide benefit beyond its walls — including the creation of VR start-up Visual Vocal, the formation of NBBJ’s Fellowship program focused on neuroscience research, and a collaboration with Time Inc. to “hack” the future of work. Clients include Alibaba, Amazon, Beacon Capital Partners, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Boeing, Cambridge University, Cleveland Clinic, GlaxoSmithKline, Massachusetts General Hospital, Microsoft, Reebok, Salk Institute, Samsung, Stanford University, Starbucks, Tencent and Tishman Speyer. (http://www.nbbj.com)
Contact: Daniel Skiffington, dskiffington@nbbj.com

About the College of Built Environments

The UW’s College of Built Environments (CBE) is one of a few institutions where Architecture, Urban Planning, Landscape Architecture, Construction Management, and Real Estate come together under one roof. The CBE has three foci which are professional practice, public service, and research and each serve the College, University, and community in profound ways. Its mission is to teach students to be skilled practitioners and strong collaborators, who are conscious of the natural environment and cultures they serve. (www.be.uw.edu)
Contact: Kailey Waring, kcwaring@uw.edu