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Taubman College Welcomes New Faculty Members

Monday, September 12, 2022

Taubman College welcomes ten new faculty members for the 2022–2023 academic year. 

“This great group includes architects and planners sharing insight from their practices as well as prominent professionals and scholars. Our fellows program allows new faculty to test their ideas, update our thinking, and gain mentorship from accomplished colleagues. These new colleagues join established faculty in offering students a breadth of opportunities for learning and professional development,” said Dean Jonathan Massey.

Our new faculty are as follows. 

Elizabeth Gunden, Intermittent Lecturer

Gunden is a planner at Beckett & Raeder, Inc., a planning, landscape architecture, and civil engineering firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Liz is a certified planner with the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP). She also has a background in Graphic Design, and much of her work focuses on representing planning data and information in a visual and graphic way. Prior to getting her Masters in Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Michigan, Liz worked as a county planner in Indiana.

Elisa Ngan, Professor of Practice, Urban Technology

Ngan is a transdisciplinary systems designer and Assistant Professor of Practice in Urban Technology. She applies design theory to software practice to investigate how the sociotechnical process of creating digital platforms, mediates, structures, and enables the phygital production of space, access, and labor. Her research pivots around creating data interventions for long-tail problems at the end of the product lifecycle, cross-pollinating with topics of category theory, industrial cybernetics, and epistemic injustice to reveal the broken relationships of industrial maintenance and repair invisibly affecting the lives of marginalized persons and communities. She is a disabled Cambodian-American woman with a B.A. in Architecture from UC Berkeley and a Masters in Design Engineering from the Harvard GSD. She is currently working with the talented team at Certain Measures and Windfall Data.

Jermaine Ruffin, Intermittent Lecturer, Urban & Regional Planning

Ruffin is currently the Vice President of Neighborhoods with Invest Detroit. He holds a BA from Michigan State University-James Madison College and a Master of Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Michigan-Taubman College. Jermaine has held various positions in the fields of community and economic development including roles with the Michigan State Housing Development Authority. Most recently, he was the Associate Director for Equitable Planning & Legislative Affairs (Planning & Development) and prior to that, was the Director of Development-West (Housing & Revitalization) with the City of Detroit. Jermaine is also the host of The Streets are Planning Podcast.

Oksana Chabanyuk, Intermittent Lecturer, Architecture

Chabanyuk is an Associate Professor of Architecture and Head of the MA in Architecture and Urban Planning Program at Kharkiv National University of Civil Engineering and Architecture, Ukraine. Dr. Chabanyuk’s academic interests include standardization and early industrialization in the USSR, the related influence of foreign specialists, prefabrication in industrial construction and housing, post-socialist housing, social housing, and regeneration of residential areas. She is an architect and received her BA in Architecture (1998), MA in Urban Planning (2000), and Ph.D. (2004) at the National University Lviv Polytechnic, Ukraine. 

Emily Kutil, Lecturer I, Architecture

Kutil is a Detroit-based designer, researcher, and educator. She is currently a lecturer in Architecture at Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning and the 2022-2023 Brown-Forman Visiting Chair in Urban Design at the University of Kentucky College of Design.

Her research investigates the intertwined social structures, material structures, and power structures that shape our world. She makes drawings, publications, installations, models, and other story-machines, often using collective, interdisciplinary processes. Emily is a co-founder of We the People of Detroit Community Research Collective, a collaboration between community activists, academics, and designers mapping geographies of austerity in Detroit. 

Charlie O'Geen, Lecturer I, Architecture

O’Geen’s research investigates the utilization of existing site conditions for use as building systems, in opposition to conventional building practices which are materially consuming.  Unconventionally, O’Geen’s work moves off paper and into the full-scale realities of site and material and looks to explore and expose the opportunities of existing material energy. Rather than starting with the formal visual properties of design, O’Geen’s process weighs the potential of conditions already present at the building site, creating experiments that develop fully mature material systems that grow from untapped resources in sites and materials. O’Geen holds a Bachelor of Science and Master of Architecture from SUNY Buffalo as well as a Master of Architecture from Cranbrook Academy of Art.

Gina Reichert, Lecturer III, Architecture

Reichert is an artist, architect, and small-scale community developer. Her practice is rooted in developing strategies and self-initiated projects in her immediate Detroit neighborhood, defining opportunity in overlooked spaces, and using the resources at hand. She has worked for architecture firms and housing organizations in Cincinnati, New Orleans, New York, and Detroit, with M.Arch degrees from Tulane University and Cranbrook Academy of Art. Reichert practiced collaboratively as Design 99 for from 2007-17. In 2009, she cofounded Power House Productions, a nonprofit organization facilitating the work of contemporary artists through a network of project houses and public spaces in the diverse Detroit neighborhood where she lives and works. 

Torri Smith, Intermittent Lecturer, Architecture

Smith is a Detroit-based designer, artist and educator; her investigations span from environmental justice and design biology to storytelling and urban placemaking. In addition, she currently serves as the Principal + Founder of ARC BAE; a Detroit-based art and design-based practice that focuses on the promotion of kinship between the natural and built environment for all its inhabitants. Smith holds a Bachelor of Architecture from Lawrence Technological University and a Master of Architecture from the University of Michigan. Smith currently conducts research related to her interests at the intersection of environmental justice, urban activism, and design while simultaneously exploring the ways in which ecological regeneration can address systemic racial inequity.

Lukasz Stanek, Professor, Architecture

Stanek authored Henri Lefebvre on Space: Architecture, Urban Research, and the Production of Theory (University of Minnesota Press, 2011) and Architecture in Global Socialism: Eastern Europe, West Africa, and the Middle East in the Cold War (Princeton University Press, 2020). His edited volumes include Toward an Architecture of Enjoyment (University of Minnesota Press, 2014), Team 10 East. Revisionist Architecture in Real Existing Modernism (Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw, 2014) and Urban Revolution Now. Henri Lefebvre in Urban Research and Architecture (Ashgate, 2014, with Ákos Moravánszky and Christian Schmid). He received his Master of Architecture from Kraków University of Technology, Master of Philosophy from the Jagiellonian University (Kraków), and his Ph.D. from Delft University of Technology.

John David Wagner, Intermittent Lecturer, Architecture

Wagner is a design consultant, design researcher, and licensed architect with over a decade of experience catalyzing change in the built environment through design, social advocacy, and material assemblies. Spanning from conceptual to visionary, his work has assisted clients to outline, prototype and realize built projects that deliver innovative, inclusive spatial designs, user experiences, and educational programs. A hybrid designer, John brings expertise in Architecture, young adult and higher education, public art, social and refugee advocacy, and design. His expertise leverages these broad perspectives into comprehensive plans that fulfill project objectives.

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