University of Southern California (Daniel)

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    Dean Candidate Lecture 4

    By Daniel
    May 1, '06 11:17 PM EST

    There was a very good lecture by Margaret Crawford tonight, the last of the candidates for the deanship for the School of Architecture. Her lecture was very well organized and presented, I thought. She discussed her own background in theory, scholarship, history, and urbanism, as well as her focus on the twentieth century American built environment. She seemed especially interested in the way design interacts with other realms such as culture, politics, and economics, something she eventually connected to her interest in interdisciplinary connections for the school (an example she used that I loved was having a literature professor sit in on reviews). She mentioned her own teaching and administrative experience, which is extensive.

    For the school, she had many ideas. Like most of the other candidates, she wants to do a lot with the graduate school. For the whole school she talked about increasing visibility (primarily so that this esteemed blog doesn't get any more comments like "USC has an architecture school?" Who knew?!). The method she favored for this was through publications, both of faculty research and student work, which I think is super cool. She also advocated excellence not by duplicating the programs of other good schools but by creating our own path. Slightly contradictory was her plan to borrow the idea of sponsored studios, which sound very interesting and full of potential.

    Overall, it was a very good lecture. It may be a sort of academic afterglow, but I think she's my personal favorite so far. Maybe it's just because the idea of being published before I graduate is, like, really cool. Yeah.

    This week is a reading week, which means I probably ought to be poring over my history notes prepping for the most hideous exam of my young life, but instead I'm sleeping in past noon and lackadaisically brainstorming ideas for my spring semester design portfolio. Future blogs I have planned include a run-through of my final project, a list of important things I've learned in first year, a retrospective of my work since August, and possibly a glance at what my portfolio pages look like. Hopefully that's a tantalizing enough preview to keep you tuned in. I'll visit third-year reviews later this week; if they're worth mentioning I will.


    • adso

      Glad to hear she did well, she's one of the best history instructors I've ever had. She will definately bring some good faculty in with her numerous contacts.

      May 2, 06 11:10 am

      My vote goes to Cuff, with Crawford a close second. Either would do a great job.

      May 3, 06 9:24 pm

      BTW, I don't think Crawford is a practicing architect, either. But she would probably kill in bringing greater visibility to the school through building strong connections outward. That's what good deans do.

      May 3, 06 9:26 pm

      I think that one of the top priorities (in addition to visibility, possibly even before visibility), is making/keeping the students who are already there happy by hiring more quality professors, better communicating with the students, and cutting out a bunch of the beaurocratic nonsense. When you graduate, you're ready for anything. It's already a program that can produce stars, but it alienates them at the same time. I hope the new dean can help to turn around the culture there.

      As much as I respect his work, I think that since the other three are so strong, Ma's continuing practice should be a dealbreaker. If he was clearly ahead in every other way, then maybe it could be workable, but in a field of such strong candidates, they don't need to take somebody who can't devote themselves to the school.

      I'm really eager to see who gets it and am glad that USC was able to draw this caliber of candidates.

      May 4, 06 1:02 am

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