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Jennifer Darby Morris

Current Student—Ph.D in Architecture

Jennifer Darby Morris

Specialization: Design Studies
Advisor: Prof. Linda Groat
Dissertation Committee: Linda Groat (Architecture), Eric Hill (Architecture), Jane Dutton (Ross School of Business), Julia Robinson (University of Minnesota, Architecture)

Research Interests:
Darby's research interests connect the world of professional practice to academia, and architecture to organizational studies.  Specifically, her research question is: What can architects do to build better relationships with clients during predesign?  In order to answer this question she has been exploring the literature and will be conducting ethnographic fieldwork of several different architecture firms in Chicago and Ann Arbor.  The literature has uncovered several different ideas about effective communication.  One method that has been explored by organizational studies theorists for effective communication looks at enablers and barriers of positive relationships.  Another method discussed by communication theorists looks at how individuals can coordinate rather than fully understand the other.  

Darby is currently the Taubman College representative for AIA Huron Valley and Vice President of P+ARG (Taubman College’s Planning + Architecture Research Group).  

Awards, Publications and Conference Papers:

  • Center for Positive Organizations Summer Fellow, Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, 2014.
  • Book Review: Colonial Architecture and Urbanism in Africa. Journal of Architectural Education, Volume 68, Issue 2: Building Modern Africa, 2014.
  • Invited Lecture: Morris, J.  “Effective Communication between architects and clients / community,”  Structures for Inclusion 14, Parsons The New School for Design, New York, NY, March 23, 2014.
  • Morris, J. (2014). Rackham Conference Travel Grant, University of Michigan.
  • Accepted Conference Paper: Morris, J.  “Bridging the Gap: Achieving a Better Understanding of Architectural Business Communications,” Design Communication Conference 2014, Atlanta, GA, October 1-4, 2014.