Architecture Within Academic Institutional Structures

June 2015

What is the place of ACSA architecture schools and programs within the structure of their institutions? Which disciplines are most often taught alongside architecture? Which schools have more women in leadership positions? The charts on this page provide a snapshot of the current administrative situation at ACSA member schools, and allow you to explore the data on institutions like yours.

This first chart provides an overview: each ACSA member institution is represented by a rectangle, sized according to the school’s architecture class size and colored according to the job title of the administrator(s) who lead architecture at that institution. In the top row are the few special-focus institutions that have “architecture” in the institution’s name, such as the Southern California Institute of Architecture.

Most ACSA members are in the second row, where “architecture” appears in the name of an academic unit that sits at the highest administrative level within the institution–for example, University of Arizona’s College of Architecture, Planning, and Landscape Architecture. These academic units–most often colleges, schools, and faculties–are almost always led by a dean (indicated in blue).

A good number of ACSA members are in the third row, which includes academic units such as departments, schools, and programs within a larger unit that does not have architecture in its name. For example, UC Berkeley’s Department of Architecture, in the College of Environmental Design. These academic units usually have a chair or director, but may also have a head, dean, associate dean, or even a coordinator.

Finally, you can mouse over the fourth row to see that at Arizona State University, “architecture” doesn’t appear until the third administrative layer within the institution. You can also use the filters to explore the patterns at similar schools. Note that each ACSA member institution appears in this chart once, and we’ve included data on the administrative structures and leaders down to the level where architecture is the only discipline taught at each institution. As such, many department chairs and program coordinators are not listed here.

What disciplines are considered to be nearest to, or allied with, architecture? For this next chart, we looked at the disciplines taught alongside architecture at the lowest administrative level where architecture is co-housed with other disciplines. Each school is represented by one or more rectangles, colored according to the administrative level where architecture is taught alongside other disciplines. For comparability, we grouped disciplines into the categories that you see in each row, and you can mouse over each rectangle to see the name of each discipline, as it is described at that institution.

For example, Temple University appears in yellow (the [2] administrative level) because its architecture department is housed within a school that also includes other disciplines. These other disciplines are architectural preservation and facilities management, so Temple has two yellow rectangles, one under ‘Architectural Preservation,’ and one under ‘Other Built Environment.’

Taken as a group, Art/Design disciplines unrelated to the built environment, such as music, dance, and graphic design, are most commonly taught alongside architecture. Landscape architecture, interior architecture/design, and city/regional/urban planning are the next most common.

This next chart focuses on gender. Each leader, down to the level where architecture is the only discipline taught, is depicted by one rectangle–blue for men, and red for women. Mouse over each rectangle to see the chain of command at that school, or use the filters to compare schools by funding, region, or Carnegie Classification.

Honing in on the name of each academic unit and the job title of the person in charge of it, this next chart again includes all leaders down to the administrative level where architecture is the only discipline taught. (In other words, keep in mind that program directors or coordinators in an architecture-only department won’t appear here.) Deans, directors, and chairs are the most common titles, but other schools have executive, assistant, or associate deans; executive directors; or coordinators.

Finally, this last chart looks at the name of academic units. Each ACSA member institution is listed once, together with the name of the highest-level academic unit in which ‘architecture’ is named.

You can see which academic unit titles are most common, and what its variations are. For example, you can see that at the [1] level, ‘School of Architecture’ is the most common academic unit name, followed by ‘College of Architecture.’ But there are even more colleges that name one or more other disciplines as well as architecture. At the [2] level, ‘School of Architecture’ is again the most common academic unit name, followed by ‘Department of Architecture.’

Use the filters to focus on a subset of schools. If you filter by gender, note that the filter is based only on the gender of the administrator leading the academic unit listed in that row (and not, for example, the gender of administrators higher or lower in the chain of command at each institution).

Please send any updates, corrections, or questions to Kendall A. Nicholson, Director of Research and Information.


Kendall Nicholson
Director of Research + Information