Rice School of Architecture tops deans’ list

Dean Whiting among most-admired educators in annual DesignIntelligence ranking 

Rice School of Architecture (RSA) has been named the most-admired undergraduate architecture program in the nation in a survey of 78 architecture deans and department heads released this week by DesignIntelligence and the Design Futures Council.

Students check out the Soundworm! created by Rice School of Architecture students. Photo by Jeff Fitlow

The annual ranking also named RSA Dean Sarah Whiting one of the 30 most-admired educators for 2015, as chosen by DesignIntelligence staff “with extensive input from thousands of design professionals, academic department heads and students.”

In overall rankings released Nov. 3, RSA retained its No. 3 ranking for undergraduate education and is tied for seventh place among the top graduate programs. The school was named No. 1 in the South for both undergraduate and graduate education.

A breakdown of student responses showed 100 percent of RSA students ranked the program as excellent (95 percent) or above average (5 percent). Ninety-eight percent responded they feel they will be well-prepared for graduation.

The rankings are based on a survey of the leaders of hundreds of architecture firms who have had direct experience hiring and judging the performance of recent architecture graduates. Participants were asked which accredited programs have best prepared their students for real-world practice.

Sarah Whiting

Sarah Whiting

Whiting, according to the report, “receives high praise from faculty, students and professionals for her strong leadership and inspiration to students. She has a great vision for the school and is extremely knowledgeable while maintaining personability and genuine concern for every student in the program. She is insightful, brilliant, enthusiastic and open-minded, a ‘recipe for success across the board.'”

“It’s always terrific to have outside confirmation that things are going well,” said Whiting, the William Ward Watkin Professor of Architecture. “We see it every day in the school with the work our faculty and students are producing.

“However, to have our students go well beyond our demanding course work to surprise us with innovations like the Soundworm! and Architectronica is even more gratifying to me than rankings. Architecture is equal parts material and intellectual culture, and our students relish both,” she said.

For the second year in a row, Cornell University and California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, retained the top two undergraduate positions. Harvard University led the graduate ranking, followed by Columbia University, Yale University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cornell University and the University of Michigan. The University of Pennsylvania tied with Rice for seventh.





About Mike Williams

Mike Williams is a senior media relations specialist in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.