Category Archives: From the Dean

Monday Minute, September 24, 2012: Putting U on the Map

Dear Colleagues, Regular readers of the Chronicle of Higher Education might have already seen this story and accompanying interactive map from earlier this month, but I wanted to share it to show how our university is recognized by our peer institutions and by those that aspire to be more like us. I think this is a testament to the dedication and work by you and our colleagues across the University. Speaking of maps, Associate Dean Hokanson sent around this link earlier this month to show a project he has folks working on regarding the projects our College is currently engaged in around the globe. As he mentioned in his email, they recognize some of the data may be incomplete, so,…

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Monday Minute, September 17, 2012: Design and Health

Colleagues,Welcome back!  It’s great to see everyone back on campus, and students in the classroom and halls.  I’m looking forward to another exciting and successful year.While I usually try to welcome everyone back on the first Monday of the semester, last week I had the opportunity to spend a couple days down in Rochester at Mayo’s Transform Symposium.  The annual conference brings together design and health professionals from across the globe, and this year I highlighted the ever-expanding health-related work many of you are addressing here at the College.You can see highlights on D@MN here, and the presentation itself was just made available at Mayo and can be viewed here.  But one of the things that struck me during my…

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Dean Fisher Envisions the Future of Healthcare Design at Transform 2012

Dean Tom Fisher will discuss how research and development at the College of Design is impacting the field of healthcare during the Mayo Clinic Transform Symposium on Tuesday, September 11. The annual event brings together innovators, leaders, designers, entrepreneurs, policy makers and business thinkers to talk about how innovation and design solutions are transforming the experience and delivery of health care.At the College of Design, health – human health, environmental health, community health – are common areas of focus across most of its 8 academic units and 10 research centers. A few examples include:The Metropolitan Design Center and Center for Changing Landscapes work with urban and rural communities to create environments that improve people's health.In the Wearable Product Design…

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Thank You For Supporting Design Global Outreach

Dear Friends, We did it! Because of your support, our apparel design students will embark on semester-long projects to hone their skills and broaden their understanding of our global design community.What a great gift you've given our students–not only is their load lightened during trying economic times, but they're about to learn that their work can have an impact halfway around the world. Thank you for supporting Design Global Outreach. I look forward to updating you on our students' work to help the children of the Blue Girls home in Uganda and the girls home of Pune India. For now, you can still donate to our Design Global Outreach fund and your contributions will be used for our next…

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Designing to Avoid Disaster: the Nature of Fracture-Critical Design

Dean Fisher discussed fracture-critical design at the 2012 TedxUMN conference.A new book by Dean Thomas Fisher, Designing to Avoid Disaster, draws a connection between recent catastrophic events like the collapse of the I-35W bridge and the flooding of New Orleans, and fracture-critical designs: structures that are susceptible to complete and sudden collapse should one part not perform as intended. In New Orleans, the failure of the levees during Hurricane Katrina illustrate why a system lacking redundancy–a duplication of critical components–turned a minor failure into a major catastrophe: "While Hurricane Katrina certainly stressed that system with high winds and waves," writes Fisher, "the flooding of the city came after the hurricane had begun to subside. The levees, weakened by the…

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Support Design Global Outreach

Dear Friends, Design education in the twenty-first century is global, sustainable and socially responsible. Each year, we look for ways to not only teach those principles, but to give our students real opportunities to better the world through design. In a few weeks, students in our apparel design classes will begin projects to create dresses and products for the Blue House girls' orphanage in Uganda and the Girls Home of Pune, India. But we need your help! Support Design Global Outreach – Give $25 Today To cover the cost of student materials and shipping, we need to raise $5,000 before school starts–by midnight on August 31. Your gift today ensures that our students have enough funding to put their…

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From the Dean: A Leadership Transition in Landscape Architecture

Dear Colleagues, As you may know, Lance Neckar will be retiring from the position of Professor of Landscape Architecture and Head of the Department on July 3, 2012. He will assume an endowed chair in Environmental Analysis and Director of the Conservancy for Southern California Sustainability at Pitzer College in Claremont, CA. After consultation of the Landscape Architecture faculty, I appointed Kristine Miller as Interim Head for the 2012-2013 fiscal year. During the next year, Kristine will give leadership to a structured strategic planning process that will inform department goals. I appreciate Kristine's willingness to assume this responsibility, and know she looks forward to working with all faculty, students, and administrative personnel in the Department and College over the next…

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Monday Minute, May 7, 2012: Ending the Academic Year on a High Note

Colleagues, I know that everyone is wrapping up classes this week, but I wanted to take this opportunity to congratulate you on another excellent academic year. Over the last week, I've had the opportunity to review in person and online much of the work our students in Rapson and McNeal have produced. I am continually amazed at the high-level, quality work on display. Thank you for your continued efforts to get the very best out of each of our students. As the year wraps up, I wanted to let you know about the investments the University has decided to make in our college through the compact process. I learned last week that three of our requests were given the green…

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Monday Minute, March 26, 2012: Investments, Excellence, and the 2012 Pulse Survey

Dear Colleagues, Thanks to everyone who submitted a proposal for the college-wide research and outreach RFP. With approximately $180,000 budgeted, we had over $660,000 worth of excellent ideas, and we have decided to move forward with the following in no particular order: John Comazzi – Summer Design Lab for Educators Barry Kudrowitz – Design and Food Marilyn Bruin – Understanding Families in Net-Zero Housing Abimbola Asoojo – Diversity and Design William Weber, Rich Strong – Integrating Sustainable Design Research, Outreach and Education David Pitt – Computer Programming Support for Use of GeoDesign Technology in Advancing Multifunctional Landscape Planning John Carmody – Renewing the Center for Sustainable Building Research Marilyn DeLong – Redefining, Redesigning Fashion Speaking of excellence, Interior Design had…

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Monday Minute, April 16, 2012: Spatial University

Colleagues, Some of the many events of the past week seem to have had a common theme that bodes well for our college. Jack Dangermond, an alumnus and CEO of the largest Geographical Information Systems company in the world (ESRI), visited the University on Tuesday and told President Kaler at breakfast the next day that we have the potential of becoming the world's leading "Spatial University" because of the breadth of our disciplines and research mission, and the number of faculty involved in geospatial and geodesign activities. I am working with colleagues across the university to develop this idea further for discussion with the president and provost, and it promises to have a key roll for our college, in which…

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