Design organization places Auburn University faculty, programs among nation’s best

Published: October 17, 2019
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Six Auburn University faculty members and two programs have been recognized in DesignIntelligence’s annual survey of “America’s Top-Ranked Architecture & Design Schools.”

DesignIntelligence is an independent national organization responsible for ranking design-related academic programs. It has conducted surveys to determine the top ranked schools in architecture and design since 1999.

Three architecture faculty and three interior design faculty were identified on lists of Most Admired Educators, a category used to recognize excellence in architecture and design education and education administration. Auburn was the only university to have six faculty receive this recognition.

Margaret Fletcher, associate professor and associate chair of architecture; Matthew Hall, associate professor of architecture; and Kevin Moore, associate professor and chair of interior architecture in the College of Architecture, Design and Construction, were among 29 architecture educators recognized across the country. Auburn was the only university with three architecture faculty on the list.

Assistant Professors Melanie Duffey and Anna Ruth Gatlin and Associate Professor Lindsay Tan in the College of Human Sciences were among 16 interior design educators recognized. This is the third straight year Duffey and Gatlin were named to the list, and the first for Tan.

“To have six faculty recognized across the university is testament to the excellent teaching and research conducted at this institution in design-related areas,” said Christian Dagg, head of the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture.

“We continually have multiple reasons to be very proud of our interior design program, faculty and students,” added Pam Ulrich, professor and head of the Department of Consumer and Design Sciences, which houses the interior design program. “Having three faculty once again identified among the top in the nation demonstrates the enhanced experiences that they are creating for our students in and out of the classroom.”

In terms of Most Admired Schools, Auburn’s undergraduate programs in interior design and architecture were ranked ninth and 12th, respectively, in the nation. The graduate program in interior design is eighth.

The organization’s rankings are based on surveys of three key groups: the professionals who hire architecture and design graduates; the deans, program chairs and department heads who help form architecture and design education; and the students and recent graduates who have an up-close view of the architecture and design school experience.

To depict its listings of Most Hired from Schools, DesignIntelligence grouped schools into size categories based on the number of graduates each year in undergraduate and graduate programs combined.

Auburn is considered the sixth best—up from 15th last year—for those schools who graduate 50-69 architecture students each year. For interior design, Auburn is also sixth—up from 11th last year—among those schools who graduate between 20 and 39 annually.

The organization also ranked schools based on 12 focus areas.

The undergraduate interior design program at Auburn was included in all 12 top 10 lists: second in sustainable built environments/adaptive design/resilient design and engineering fundamentals; third in transdisciplinary collaboration across architecture, engineering and construction; fourth in healthy built environments, practice management and project planning and management; fifth in design technologies and design theory and practice; sixth in construction materials and methods; seventh in communication and presentation skills and interdisciplinary studies; and eighth in research.

Interior design’s graduate program was included in all 12 top 10 lists as well.

The undergraduate architecture program placed in six of the 12 focus areas: fourth in construction materials and methods; fifth in sustainable built environments/adaptive design/resilient design; sixth in transdisciplinary collaboration across architecture, engineering and construction; ninth in healthy built environments; 10th in project planning and management and management; and 15th in design theory and practice.

“The focus area recognition for the architecture program in design theory, practice and sustainable environments reflects our consistent goal to provide an exceptional learning environment that extends from campus to our teaching centers at Rural Studio and Urban Studio,” said Dagg.

(Written by Amy Weaver)

The College of Architecture, Design and Construction embraces the land grant mission of Auburn University by actively seeking ways to address and anticipate the critical issues of the region, the nation, and the world. The College's highly regarded programs in architecture, industrial design, landscape architecture and construction management as well as unique off-campus programs such as Rural Studio, Urban Studio and the Alabama Prison Arts + Education Program expand the boundaries of the classroom and offer an unmatched educational experience.