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Dean's Message

For over 100 years, Taubman College has worked to promote the public good by engaging a diverse constituency in purpose-driven learning and research addressing the built environment. With a faculty of award-winning architects, planners and designers, respected scholars, and leading researchers, we seek to understand, interrogate and advance these related fields within the context of exciting new global geographies, technologies, and ethnographies.

Investments in digital and material making, new post-professional master’s degrees in architecture, and enhanced facilities have made the college a leading site of advanced work, particularly in robotics, fabrication, and material systems. Our digital fabrication lab has been a leader among academic institutions around the world and leverages state-of-the-art industrial technology to perform architectural fabrication research. Faculty fellowships and research grants have cultivated a robust experimental design culture.

Capacity-building in community engagement, pipeline programs, and justice initiatives has leveraged the distinctive affordances of the Detroit metropolitan area to make Taubman College a leader in promoting equity. In planning, we focus on place-based policy and design for social equity and sustainability, regional solutions to metropolitan problems, just and effective remedies for urban decline, and the creation of human settlements that offer alternatives to environmentally consumptive land-development patterns. The Michigan-Mellon project on Egalitarianism and the Metropolis, made possible by a $1.3 million grant from the A. W.  Mellon Foundation, allows design theory and practice to inform and be informed by questions of social justice, social movements and transformative creative arts movements – both past and present.

In our next era we will turn our capacities outward, partnering with centers of excellence across and beyond U-M to tackle the grand challenges that matter most to broad constituencies. How can we expand economic opportunity? Increase access to services and other resources? Promote better health? Build sustainably? Serve justice? By leveraging the university’s collateral strengths, we can help build the next economy and polity for Michigan – as well as for other places wrestling with the challenges and opportunities of modernization. Purpose-driven learning and research will attract entrepreneurial students and field-leading faculty to the shared project of Building Tomorrow.

This agenda rests on the baseline work of continuing to build our leading-edge professional programs: the Master of Architecture and the Master of Urban Planning degrees. We must double down on our signature expertise in experimental design and in social equity, as well as on our culture of prototyping, of testing ideas through iterative implementation in the lab and studio as well as out in the world with partners from community, government, and industry.

We want you to join us in this endeavor.

Best regards,
Jonathan Massey
Dean, University of Michigan Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning