Honoring excellence in education and education administration

Each year, DesignIntelligence honors excellence in education and education administration by naming 25 exemplary professionals in these fields. The 2016 class of education role models was selected by DesignIntelligence staff with extensive input from thousands of design professionals, academic department heads, and students. Educators and administrators from the disciplines of architecture, industrial design, interior design, and landscape architecture are considered for inclusion.

AMALE ANDRAOS | Columbia University

A talented designer with an active firm and the first female dean of the school, Amale Andraos integrates real world problems into the curriculum with a bold vision and strong leadership.

ALAN DEFREES | University of Notre Dame

Constantly pursuing knowledge in the field of building technology, Alan DeFrees is known as a passionate professor who is truly dedicated to teaching the technical aspects of architecture.

DAWN FINLEY | Rice University

Balancing heading her own Houston-based design office with teaching, Dawn Finley is admired for her focus on both the conceptual and built sides of architecture and for being extremely engaged with her students.

STEVE FRENCH | Georgia Tech

Known for his collaborative spirit on research, Steve French has built a strong communication between professional practices and the Georgia Tech faculty.

GERALDINE FORBES ISAIS | University of New Mexico

Regarded for her outstanding leadership at the university and setting a high bar for quality education and design, Geraldine Forbes Isais has also focused on expanding financial resources for student and faculty programs by engaging alumni and industry professionals in the school’s goals and activities.

CHARLES GRAHAM | University of Oklahoma

Joining the University of Oklahoma from Texas A&M, Charles Graham is an active participant in the profession of architecture at the state level and continually strives to bring together and strengthen all of the design colleges.

AKI ISHIDA | Virginia Tech

Aki Ishida is invested in and encourages independent exploration by pushing the students of her studio to consider all factors in design by developing unique prompts to build focus on different aspects of design.

KENT KLEINMAN | Cornell University

Maintaining a high level of discourse and quality of delivery, Kent Kleinman is pro-active and energetic in looking for innovative ways of leading and teaching architecture, including collaborations with other universities.

SHARON KUSKA | University of Nebraska

A leading voice in the field of sustainability and action models on the campus of the University of Nebraska, she brings an engineer’s talent and analysis to design forms and mentors students focused on achievement.

ALISON KWOK | University of Oregon

With an inspiring energy to educate students about sustainable design principles, Alison Kwok encourages them to expand on what they have learned through research. She constantly seeks to better her students’ experiences and create well-informed architects.

MOHSEN MOSTAFAVI | Harvard University

Deeply committed to advancing architectural education, Moshen Mostafavi brings a holistic, deep ecological and aesthetic to the design conversation.

DAN NADENICEK | University of Georgia

Bringing visionary strategies in the installation of diverse programs within the college, Dan Nadenicek is very engaged with the alumni and is known for graduating wellrounded
landscape architects.

GUY NORDENSON | Princeton University

Students describe Guy Nordenson as “provocative, fearless, generous, kind and brilliant.” He has inspired a generation of design and engineering leaders.

JUHANI PALLASMA | Lecturer from Helsinki

Seamlessly blending art with architecture, philosophy with practice, and design with nature, Juhani Pallasma has written and designed his way into the zeitgeist of architectural discourse.

JAMES ROSE | University of Tennessee

With a focus on emerging technologies and design-build, Rose is advancing the creation of net-zero buildings, including collaboration with the Governor’s Chair for Energy and Urbanism where he has helped advance the AMIE program, a 3D printed home and vehicle.

HASHIM SARKIS | Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Described as an excellent teacher, dedicated mentor, and energetic practitioner, Hashim Sarkis brings a broad intellectual and inter-disciplinary platform as the basis for the advancement of architectural theory.

JEFF SHANNON | University of Arkansas

A respected and forward-thinking educator with a strong connection to the profession, Shannon is dedicated to his student’s current and future success in all aspects of life and has enhanced the visibility of the school.


Committed to improving the City of Buffalo through redevelopment, sustainability, and public service, Robert Shibley balances teaching, mentoring, master planning for the campus, and connecting with the Alumni community to foster relationships and opportunities for students.


A visionary dean challenging the status quo, Christine Theodoropoulos epitomizes and champions Cal Poly’s “Learning by Doing” philosophy, preparing graduates to be effective and productive contributors early in their professional lives.

JAMES TIMBERLAKE | University of Pennsylvania

James Timberlake fully embraces and explores the art, science and environment of architectural design in both practice and teaching.

ADA TREMONT | Drexel University

Inspiring her students to think outside of the box, Ada Tremont is an innovative and engaging educator who brings out the best in her students.

ROD UNDERWOOD | Ball State University

Known for his strong knowledge of design theory and ability to inspire, Rod Underwood is a passionate advocate of creative expression and the underlying principles of structural design.

ADAM WELLS | University of Houston

Able to break down complex technical manufacturing processes into easily understood concepts, Adam Wells pushes our next generation of industrial designers towards exploration and refinement.

JIM WEST | Mississippi State University

With an emphasis on hands-on learning, Jim West is known for his compassionate and innovative approach to design education.

KEITH WILEY | Cal Poly San Luis Obispo

An inspirational educator with a realistic approach to architecture and design, Keith Wiley stresses that architecture is the continuous study of history and language that goes into design.