Becky Yust Named Interim Dean

We’re pleased to introduce the interim dean for the College of Design, Professor Becky L. Yust. Below is the note Professor Yust sent to alumni and friends this morning. Also included is Provost Karen Hanson’s message to the College yesterday. Professor Yust will officially begin her interim dean appointment July 1.

BeckyYust02.jpgDear Alumni and Friends of the College of Design,

I am honored to assume the role of Interim Dean for the College of Design and I want to thank Provost Hanson for her trust and confidence. I especially want to thank Tom for his nearly 20 years of leadership for both the College of Design, and previously, the College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture. I look forward to continuing to work with him through this semester’s transition and beyond.

With college-wide strategic planning underway, we have the opportunity to set our college on the path toward long-term success, and by working together I am confident we will be successful. I am not going to be a candidate for the permanent dean position, but I am committed to ensuring that our college continues on the right path.

As we move forward, I will be counting on each of you for your advice. I will be reaching out to department and school heads, program and center directors, staff and students this spring to hear their ideas. I am also interested in your ideas as members of our broader academic community.

Again, I am looking forward to working together on this next stage of our college. I welcome in-person meetings with you; please get in touch at any point if you have ideas, thoughts or questions. 


Becky L. Yust, Ph.D., Professor, Housing Studies

College of Design, University of Minnesota


Professor Yust with Beth Bowman (Housing Studies Certificate ’08)

Dear College of Design Faculty, Staff, and Students,

I write to update you on the leadership transition in the College of Design. As you know, Dean Tom Fisher announced in January that he will step down at the end of June.

I am grateful for the many thoughtful comments and suggestions I received from the college’s faculty, staff, and students. After carefully considering your remarks–and thinking about the strategic planning work being done in the college, as well as the current stage the campus strategic plan–I have concluded that the College of Design is well-positioned to move forward immediately with a search for a new dean. I will launch a national search now, this semester, with the goal of bringing candidates to campus for public interviews in the fall.

The support and engagement of the college community will be vital to the success of this search. Most immediately, I invite your nominations of faculty, staff, and students to serve as members of the search committee. The committee will help shape the position profile for the new dean and should help ensure a strong and inclusive search process. Please send nominations for membership on the committee to me at A brief word or two in support of the nomination would be helpful, and I hope you can respond with your suggestions by February 20.

Your comments and nominations were also most helpful as I considered interim leadership of the college. I am now very pleased to announce that Becky Love Yust will serve as interim dean while the search proceeds. Becky brings to this position a deep understanding of the college, a strong record of scholarship in areas central to the college, and a record of successful academic administrative leadership–the essential qualifications I outlined in inviting nominations for the position from the college community. A professor of housing studies and program director of the Housing Studies Program, Becky served from 1996 to 2011 as chair of the Department of Design, Housing, and Apparel, a department encompassing multiple disciplines as well as partnerships with Extension and the Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station. In 2005 Becky co-chaired, with Kate Solomonson, the planning task force for the newly constituted College of Design, both overseeing the transition of her department from the College of Human Ecology and helping to shape the structure and vision for CDes as a nationally distinctive multidisciplinary college of design. She also provided interim leadership for the Goldstein Museum of Design and has held varied campuswide leadership roles.

Becky joined the University faculty in 1977 and earned her Ph.D. from The Ohio State University. Her research focuses on housing adequacy and affordability; healthy housing initiatives, particularly for low-income elderly residents who choose to age in place; “green” living practices in multifamily housing; strategies to improve the design of multifamily affordable housing; and the relationship between housing activity and economic vitality in rural communities. She is editor of Housing and Society, the journal of the Housing Education and Research Association; and has been a board member or consultant for many professional and community organizations, including, most recently, the Sustainable Resources Center, Minneapolis Department of Health, Minneapolis Safe and Healthy Homes Investment Partnership, Aeon Sustainable Living Project, and St. Paul District 9, among many others.

Although Becky does not have an interest in leading the college on an ongoing basis, she has agreed to serve as interim dean from July 1 until a new permanent dean is in place. I am grateful for her willingness to step into this role and confident that she will provide experienced and collaborative leadership that will serve the college well during this period. I will stay in touch with all of you as we firm up plans for the search, and I want to assure you that the search will provide a number of opportunities for input from faculty, staff, and students.

Please join me in thanking Becky for her willingness to serve and join me in expressing thanks and appreciation once again to Tom Fisher for his outstanding leadership as dean over the past 18 years. 


Karen Hanson

Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost