Pivot to Online Learning

With universities making fast decisions to move courses online, thousands of faculty are asking, what do we do now? ACSA is continuing to hold a series of open, web-based meetings to discuss next steps and share resources. See below for videos and transcripts from past discussions.

All discussion will take place on the Zoom online conferencing platform. If you do not already have Zoom on your computer, download it here.


Wednesday, July 22, 2020
5:00-6:30 pm Eastern

Returning to Classes: Fall 2020 Planning


Lynne Dearborn, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
José L.S. Gamez, University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Robert Gonzalez, University of New Mexico
Marilys Nepomechie, Florida International University

What is your university planning for the upcoming academic term and where does this put the architecture school? Administrators and faculty are invited to this open discussion of what plans you are making for a return to school in August and September. Recent ACSA surveys indicate the majority of schools are planning a hybrid model of in-person and online classes, but the decisions facing schools vary widely. Join us to learn from others and share your challenges in the face of an uncertain future.

Lynne Dearborn is the 2020-21 ACSA president and professor of architecture and chair of health and wellbeing for the School of Architecture and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

José L.S. Gamez is an Associate Professor of Architecture and Urban Design and the Interim Director of the School of Architecture at UNC Charlotte.

Robert Gonzalez is dean and professor at the University of New Mexico School of Architecture and Planning. 

Marilys Nepomechie is professor and associate dean at the College of Communication, Architecture + the Arts.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020
5:00-6:30 pm Eastern

Addressing Race and Equity in Architectural Education: Beginning the Conversation


Rashida Ng, Temple University
Lynne Dearborn, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Robert Gonzalez, Texas Tech University/University of New Mexico
Michael Monti, ACSA
Eric Ellis, ACSA
Danielle Dent, ACSA
Kendall Nicholson, ACSA

ACSA’S June 3 statement acknowledged the need to review policies, programs, and procedural norms in ACSA and our member institutions to eradicate long-standing inequities, particularly those due to overt and covert forms of racism and white privilege. This online discussion is intended to begin this work by inviting ACSA faculty to join breakout discussions about systems and structures in architectural education that reproduce or operate on entrenched inequities. We would like to hear about conversations happening (and not happening) at your school and your thoughts about changing foundational structures and systems in academia and practice that reproduce racially unjust processes and outcomes. 

Rashida Ng is an associate professor of architecture at Temple University and the 2019-20 ACSA president. 

Lynne Dearborn is the 2020-21 ACSA president and professor of architecture and chair of health and wellbeing for the School of Architecture and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Robert Gonzalez is 2021-22 ACSA president and, beginning July 1, professor of architecture and dean of the School of Architecture and Planning, University of New Mexico. 

Michael Monti is the ACSA executive director. 

Eric Ellis is the ACSA senior director of operations and programs.

Danielle Dent is the ACSA director of membership, marketing, and publications. 

Kendall Nicholson is the ACSA director of research and information.

Thursday, May 28
5:00–6:30 pm ET

Equity and Empathy in the Architecture Studio: What can we learn from virtual design studios during a pandemic?

Nadia M. Anderson, University of North Carolina at Charlotte (co-moderator)
Adam Fogel, American Institute of Architecture Students (co-moderator)
Beth Lundell Garver, Boston Architectural College
Alexis Gregory, Mississippi State University
Mark Pearson, College of DuPage
Ikhlas Sabouni, Prairie View A&M University

Led by members of the ACSA Education Committee, this online discussion will focus on what faculty and students have learned from their recent experiences with virtual studios in terms of the presence or lack of presence of equity and empathy in the architecture classroom. Have virtual studios revealed otherwise invisible inequities that have always been present in students’ lives? Has it been easier or more difficult to connect with your instructors or students while online? Do you think this is more or less important as a result of teaching or learning online? Most importantly, how can we use these experiences to create future studios that value difference and frame architecture as a method for embodying equity and empathy in the built environment?

Nadia M. Anderson is an Associate Professor of Architecture and Urban Design at the University of North Carolina at  and Director of the City Building Lab community research center.

Adam Gregory Fogel is the 2019-2020 AIAS Vice President and ACSA Student Director.

 Bethany Lundell Garver is Faculty and Director of Applied Learning at the Boston Architectural College where she leads college-wide efforts to bridge architectural education and professional practice.

Alexis Gregory is a registered architect and Associate Professor in the School of Architecture at Mississippi State University.

Mark A. Pearson is a Professor of Architecture at College of DuPage, a community college in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, where he teaches the second year architectural design, presentation, portfolio and visualization courses.

Thursday, May 21
6:30–8:00 pm ET

Grounding: Approaches to Site and Landscape in a Time of Online Learning

Shannon Bassett, Laurentian University
Catherine Bonier, Carleton University
Aziza Chaouni, University of Toronto
Alpa Nawre, University of Florida
Alissa North, University of Toronto

How are we teaching and preparing for the possibility of an online Fall 2020 Semester with respect to ‘Site’? How can we continue to establish grounded connections to particular landscapes and communities, as well as to the issues and methods that strengthen the engagement, quality, and integrity of our work? This panel will discuss challenges and opportunities around defining, documenting, and designing ‘sites’ with stakeholders, in a time of remote teaching and learning.

Trained as an Architect and Urban Designer, Shannon Bassett is an Assistant Professor at the McEwen School of Architecture at Laurentian University and Director of Atelier Urban ‘Scapes.

Catherine Bonier is an Assistant Professor and Co-Director of the Carleton Urban Research Lab at the Azrieli School of Architecture & Urbanism at Carleton University.

Trained as a civil engineer and architect, Aziza Chaouni is an Associate Professor at the John H. Daniels faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design and principal of Aziza Chaouni Projects, which has offices in Toronto, Canada and Fez, Morocco.

Alpa Nawre is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Landscape Architecture at University of Florida, and Executive Director of Critical Places and Partner at Alpa Nawre Design.

Alissa North is an Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture at the University of Toronto, and co-founder of landscape architecture practice, North Design Office Inc.

Thursday, May 7
5:00–6:30 pm ET

New Possibilities for 1st Year Design Studio

Bradford Grant, Howard University
Kristina Crenshaw, Howard University
Shannon Chance, Technological University Dublin
Margarida Yin, CalPoly San Luis Obispo
Theophile Ngargmeni, Howard University

First-year design studio is an especially challenging class to shift from the traditional teaching environment to remote and online teaching. Introducing the design process, skill-building, and studio culture to beginning students remotely requires us to transform our traditional teaching practices in novel and varied ways. In this session, we will explore ways to make the leap from the physical studio setting to the online setting for the first-year design curriculum.

Bradford Grant is Professor, Department of Architecture, Howard University.

Kristina Crenshaw is an Adjunct Assistant Professor, Department of Architecture, Howard University.

Dr. Shannon Chance is Lecturer and Programme Chair at Technological University Dublin.

Margarida Yin, Lecturer, College of Architecture and Environmental Design California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

Theophile Ngargmeni is a first-year student at Howard University.

Thursday, April 23, 2020
6:00–7:30 pm Eastern

Ending the Academic Year

Convener: Michael Monti, ACSA Executive Director

With most schools ending the academic year, and others eyeing the end of their spring quarter, we will use this week’s Online Discussion to invite updates and still more questions to the audience about

  • Bringing final projects to a close
  • Supporting the last phases of thesis
  • Final reviews
  • Year-end exhibitions
  • Graduation events and student recognition honors (e.g., Tau Sigma Delta)
  • Incoming student engagement

Have some outcomes or successful practices to share? New topics that should be covered? Email Michael Monti in advance to help structure this discussion: exdir@acsa-arch.org.

Friday, April 17, 2020
6:30–8:00 pm Eastern

Students Respond: Health, Well-Being, and Response in a Pandemic

Adam Gregory Fogel, American Institute of Architecture Students
Andrew Chin, Florida A&M University
Kyra Stark, Auburn University
Noor Ul Ain, City College of New York
José L.S. Gámez, University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Closing campuses and moving education online is not simple for faculty and students. High levels of stress can accompany being displaced, scrambling for resources, and facing an uncertain economic future. At the same time, students and faculty are working together to help communities respond to the impact of COVID-19. This discussion will cover both the personal impacts of COVID-19 on students, including people of color and native people, as well as ways architecture students, faculty, and staff can help address the challenges of the abrupt changes design education is facing.

Adam Gregory Fogel is Vice President of the American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS) and Student Director for the ACSA.

Andrew Chin is an Associate Professor and Associate Dean of the School of Architecture and Engineering Technology at Florida A&M University.

Kyra Stark, is a student at Auburn University and South Quad Director on the AIAS Board of Directors.

Noor Ul Ain, is a student at City College of New York and Northeast Quad Director on the AIAS Board of Directors.

José L.S. Gamez is an Associate Professor of Architecture and Urban Design and the Interim Director of the School of Architecture at UNC Charlotte.

Recordings Listed Below

Friday, April 10, 2020
6:30-8:00 pm Eastern

The Great Transformation: Redesigning the World Post COVID-19


Kim Tanzer, University of Virginia
Thomas Fisher, University of Minnesota
Michael J. Monti, Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture


Elgin Cleckley, University of Virginia
Shannon Criss, University of Kansas
Stephen Luoni, University of Arkansas
Linda Samuels, Washington University in St. Louis
Kenneth Schwartz, Tulane University

The suddenness and urgency of the COVID-19 pandemic has been breathtaking, but at some point, this urgency will abate and we need to ask what a post-COVID 19 world might look like. This discussion will seek answers to questions such as: How can the current crisis suggest seeds for a preferred world? What impact will social distancing have on the built environment, present and future? How will our homes become our workplaces? Where will we learn, or socialize? How will we shore up the communities we have, and create new ones? How will services and goods, and those that provide them, be realigned? What impact will the sudden cessation of much of the world’s movement have on our changing climate? Which of our educational assets, skills, and experiences–gained pre-COVID or during this moment of crisis–can be productively repurposed?

After brief presentations, multiple co-conveners will lead online breakout groups to discuss possible action agendas for architects and designers. 

Density and Mobility:  How might our built environments—our cities, streets and landscapes–transform to accommodate our conflicting desire for connection and mandate to social-distance?  What impact might changes have on our carbon footprint? On the natural environment?

Rebalancing Our Hierarchy of Needs:  How have the sobering experiences of self-isolation and shortages, and the persistent threat to our health and survival, helped us refocus on the basics:  food, clothing, shelter, and beyond? How will these experiences impact the post-COVID design of homes, businesses, communities, food systems, and public health?

Economy and Equity:  Given the inevitable reshuffling of the world’s priorities, can design post-COVID take advantage of this upheaval to reconsider a more just approach to economics and social equity?  What role might new modes of production and new means of economic exchange play?

Higher Education:  How has the pandemic forced us to reconsider the creation and dissemination of knowledge, and how can we capitalize on this unexpected change?

Faculty, staff, and students are invited to join the discussion, as all have a stake in creating positive change. Participants are encouraged to sign up in advance so we can better plan breakout groups.

Kim Tanzer is a professor emerita at the University of Virginia and an architect, artist, and activist.

Thomas Fisher is a professor in the School of Architecture and thedirector of the Minnesota Design Center at the University  Minnesota.

Elgin Cleckley is an Assistant Professor of Architecture and Design Thinking (with appointment in the Curry School of Education and School of Nursing) at the University of Virginia, and principal of _mpathic design.

Shannon Criss is a licensed architect, a professor in the Architecture Department at the University of Kansas, and a co-founder of the Dotte Agency, a multi-disciplinary design collaborative engaging neighborhoods to shape the built environment in order to improve public health.

Stephen Luoni is the Steven L Anderson Chair in Architecture and Urban Studies and the director of the University of Arkansas Community Design Center.

Associate Professor Linda C. Samuels teaches urban design and architecture at the Sam Fox School at Washington University in St. Louis and writes about the future of infrastructure and systems-based urban design.

Kenneth Schwartz is a professor of architecture, former dean of the Tulane School of Architecture, and currently director of the Phyllis Taylor Center for Social Innovation and Design Thinking at Tulane.

Opening and Closing
42 min

27 min

Economics and Equity
38 min

Higher Education
38 min

Friday, April 3, 2020
4:00-5:30 pm Eastern

Schools Respond to a Pandemic

José Gámez, University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Alex Cabral, University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Heather Freeman, University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Thomas Schmidt, University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Closing campuses and remote learning is one result of the current COVID-19 pandemic. However, students, staff and faculty are working together to help communities respond to the impact of COVID-19 using the tools of design and fabrication in ways that can bring new meaning to design education. We will discuss one example from UNC Charlotte with the invitation to other faculty to share information about working with other grassroots initiatives across the country.

José L.S. Gamez is an Associate Professor of Architecture and Urban Design and the Interim Director of the School of Architecture at UNC Charlotte.

Alex Cabral, Director of Fabrication Labs, College of Arts and Architecture, UNC Charlotte.

Heather Freeman, Professor of Digital Media, Department of Art and Art History, UNC Charlotte.

Robby Sachs, Fabrication Manager, School of Architecture UNC Charlotte.

Thomas Schmidt, Associate Professor, Interdisciplinary 3D, Department of Art and Art History, UNC Charlotte

Friday, March 27, 2020
6:00–7:30 pm Eastern

Analog Meets Digital: Physical Modeling and Virtual Collaboration

Kwesi Daniels, Tuskegee University
Amma Asamoah, Tuskegee University
Swarnali Ghosh-Dastider, Tuskegee University

Design studio culture is structured around collaborative learning between faculty and student, in addition to peer to peer learning. The hallmark of a quality architecture education is the iterative process throughout the different stages of design development. The current Coronavirus Pandemic is challenging architecture schools to explore new strategies that will promote the development of physical models, images and visual presentations in a virtual environment. This discussion will explore the use of alternative physical model making strategies and the use of online platforms, that will promote virtual engagement around design ideas.

Thursday, March 26, 2020
6:30–8:00 pm Eastern

Design/Build and Community Engagement — Online?

Joyce Hwang, University at Buffalo
Jeffrey L. Day, University of Nebraska

A sudden pivot to distance learning is particularly challenging for design/build studios, community engagement projects, and other courses founded on collaborative, hands-on learning, and 1:1 design-by-making. How do we maintain or transform studio goals and learning outcomes when working on-site and in groups is no longer possible? Can we continue to affirm the learning experiences that drew students to these studios in the first place? How do serve external clients or collaborate with outside partners? This session will provide a platform for open discussion among participants to exchange ideas and discuss tried and untried practices.

Joyce Hwang, AIA, NCARB is Associate Professor and associate chair of the Department of Architecture at the University at Buffalo, School of Architecture and Planning, and director of Ants of the Prairie.

Jeffrey L. Day, FAIA, NCARB is Douglass Professor of Architecture at the University of Nebraska, College of Architecture, ACSA At-Large Board Member, principal of Actual Architecture Company and director of the design/build program FACT.

Final Reviews in the Age of Distance Learning

Friday, March 20, 2020
6:30-8:00 pm Eastern

Antje Steinmuller, California College of the Arts
Janette Kim, California College of the Arts
Adam Marcus, California College of the Arts


As most schools of architecture have shifted to distance learning, final review and thesis presentation formats will need to be rethought. This session will provide a platform for open discussion among participants to exchange ideas and discuss tried and untried practices. We will ponder online versions for the different forms of learning and conversation that typically take place at final reviews between students, critics, and broader audiences.  The session will also consider ways in which we can join virtual reviews formats beyond our own school context.

Antje Steinmuller is an Associate Professor of Architecture at California College of the Arts where she chairs the Bachelor of Architecture program and co-directs the Urban Works Agency research lab.

Janette Kim is an Assistant Professor at California College of the Arts and co-director of the Urban Works Agency research lab.

Adam Marcus is an Associate Professor of Architecture at California College of the Arts and co-director of the Architectural Ecologies research lab.

Educating in a Rapidly Changing Time

Thursday, March 19, 2020
5:00-6:30 pm Eastern

Marc J Neveu, Arizona State University


With many universities starting or about to start remote learning, we want to continue conversation about the challenges of educating during a pandemic. This discussion will focus on different scales of preparation and execution: planning for teaching in the next 2-3 weeks when remote learning is new to most people and students, as well as looking ahead to finishing out the academic term, with final reviews, exhibitions, and graduation events looming.

Marc J Neveu is the head of the Architecture Program in The Design School at Arizona State University and executive editor of the Journal of Architectural Education.

Fast Tactics and Slow Strategies

March 13, 2020
6:30–8:00 pm Eastern

Renée Cheng, University of Washington
June Williamson, City College of New York


Rapid response is needed now. Yet, fast decisions reveal flaws in our organizational structures and decision-making processes that could result in inequity and disparity between groups. Share tactics: best practices, language and approaches that may be effective in supporting students, faculty and staff now. Understand the context: tactics should be consistent with strategies for advancing long term access, effectiveness and innovation. Keep your North Star: ethics and core values should guide operations so tactical decisions advance your strategic goals.

Renee Cheng is dean of College of Built Environments at UW, her expertise includes equitable practices,  organizational structures and values-based decision making.

June Williamson is Architecture Department Chairperson and Associate Professor at the Spitzer School of Architecture of The City College of New York (a CUNY senior college), which features a highly diverse student body.

Crossing the Divide Towards Online Learning

March 13, 2020
5:00–6:30 pm Eastern

Rob Fleming, Thomas Jefferson University


The challenge of online teaching is more than just technical. Fear of the unknown plays a huge role in demotivating progress towards the adoption of powerful communication technologies. This session will start with the psychological/emotional barriers to the adoption of online teaching followed by introductory level information that will help to demystify the technologies and skills needed to deliver effective delivery of online content.

Rob Fleming is the director of the MS in Sustainable Design program at Thomas Jefferson University which has been offered online since 2010. Rob has direct experience with all types of online delivery methods including real time, interactive, collaborative design charrettes.

No Labs, No Robots, No CNC Machines: How can Material and Technological Investigations Continue in a Virtual Learning Environment?

March 13, 2020
4:30–6:00 pm Eastern

Marci Uihlein, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Andrzej Zarzycki, New Jersey Institute of Technology
Martina Decker, New Jersey Institute of Technology


Spoiler Alert: This new challenge in an uncertain moment still requires answers. This session will begin with an open discussion among participants as to exemplify practices, the range of curricular approaches, and what plans are being made now. Other lines of consideration include what new possibilities are created by going virtual, and how can the definition of virtual be expanded. The session will wrap up with thinking about what can be expected from our students, how the work can be delivered, and the importance of keeping community.

Marci S. Uihlein, PE, Assoc AIA is an Associate Professor of Architecture at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and currently serving as the Executive Editor of Technology | Architecture + Design.

Andrzej Zarzycki, an Associate Professor at NJIT teaches a broad range of building and digital technology courses in the design studio context.

Martina Decker is the director of the Material Dynamics Lab and an Associate Professor at the New Jersey Institute of Technology where she has been teaching Architecture and Design.