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Gatzke Named Dean Of Architecture

September 1, 1997

Mary Ann Travis

Ronald F. Gatzke has had "his sleeves rolled up," says provost Martha W. Gilliland. "He is an extremely effective teacher and a respected scholar." Gilliland announced Gatzke's appointment as dean of the School of Architecture this July.

Gatzke emerged as the best candidate for the top position at the architecture school after a national search. He had served as acting dean since the departure of Donna Robertson in July 1996 and has been on the Tulane faculty since 1987. Gilliland noted Gatzke's "keen interest in the application of computer technology to the architectural design process and design education."

In 1996, Gatzke, along with architecture associate professor Scott Bernhard, received the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture Design Studio Award. This award recognized the outstanding educational merits of a design-studio project Gatzke and Bernhard developed for first-year architecture students.

Praising Gatzke's inclusive leadership style, Gilliland said, "Don is a trusted leader who has the support of the faculty." She also commended Gatzke's community service efforts, including his involvement in the Legacy Project, a joint venture of the New Orleans chapter of the American Institute of Architects and Unity for the Homeless. "I have complete confidence that he is going to lead the School of Architecture to the next level of recognition for its undergraduate programs and to establish a national reputation at the graduate level," Gilliland said.

According to Gatzke, his first priority as dean will be the formulation of a three-year plan for the school to address issues confronting architecture education. Technology's impact on the architecture profession is one issue that Gatzke said the school must respond to.

"Technology is changing building techniques and materials," said Gatzke. Also, information technology, Gatzke's own area of expertise, is fundamentally affecting the architectural design process. "Architecture is moving from a profession based on procedure to a profession that is knowledge-based," said Gatzke. "This is affecting the traditional design perspective of architecture education."

Another major issue facing architecture education is the demand for architects who can practice effectively in the diverse, multicultural international arena.

Gatzke said, "Many architectural firms are no longer bounded geographically. Architects practice around the world. "Our graduates must be prepared for different kinds of business and economic contexts. We have to address questions such as, how does an architect practice in Japan or Korea?"

Closer to home, Gatzke is pleased that the master of architecture in preservation studies program, launched this fall with seven full-time and two part-time students, is fully enrolled. It "is an opportunity for us to offer a nationally distinctive graduate program," Gatzke said. "It is also a way for the school to be more involved in the urban affairs of the city of New Orleans."

Gatzke earned a bachelor of arts from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1972 and a master of architecture from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 1979.

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