The University of Pennsylvania School of Design (Penn Design) announced yesterday that Frederick “Fritz” Steiner, Assoc. AIA, will be the next dean, effective July 1.
Steiner currently serves as dean of the School of Architecture at the University of Texas at Austin, where he also holds the Henry M. Rockwell Chair in Architecture. Over his 15-year tenure, he led the school of nearly 70 faculty and teaching staff and almost 700 students across a variety of fields, including architecture, community and regional planning, historic preservation, interior design, landscape architecture, sustainable design, and urban design. Under Steiner’s leadership, the UT Austin School of Architecture’s endowments nearly doubled, a new Center for Sustainable Development and new degree programs in landscape architecture and interior design were created, and the School’s buildings were expanded and modernized.
Steiner announced last week that he would be leaving this position, citing the school’s new campus carry law as playing a major role in his departure, according to the Texas Tribune. The law, which goes into effect Aug. 1, allows people with concealed handgun licenses to carry their guns into campus buildings.
Before his role at UT Austin, Steiner filled the director position at the School of Planning and Landscape Architecture at Arizona State University, where, among other accomplishments, he developed a college-wide interdisciplinary doctoral program in environmental design and planning, won accreditation for degree programs in planning and landscape architecture, and created an undergraduate program in landscape architecture. Earlier in his career, Steiner served as faculty member and director of the Center for Built Environment Studies at the University of Colorado Denver, and on the faculty of Washington State University.
Penn Design's new dean, a Fellow of both the American Society of Landscape Architects and the Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture, has written, edited, or co-edited 17 books, including the widely used The Living Landscape: An Ecological Approach to Landscape Planning, and edited volumes with the late Ian McHarg, landscape architect and founder of Penn’s Department of Landscape Architecture. Steiner holds two master’s degrees and a doctoral degree, in city and regional planning, from Penn Design, and has been a research scholar at the Penn Institute for Urban Research since 2013.
“I am excited and honored to return to Penn as dean of Penn Design,” Steiner said in a statement released by Penn Design. “As a Penn Design alumnus and a research scholar at the Penn Institute for Urban Research, I have a particular appreciation for the talented community of faculty, staff, students, and alumni that is Penn Design. I look forward to working with all members of the Penn Design community, and with colleagues across campus and around the nation and the world, and to bring Penn Design to even greater heights of success.”