CAPPA Unveils Vision for National Prominence

Articles UTA 10-16-15

The dream for academic excellence continues at The University of Texas at Arlington.

After several years of planning, the university is celebrating a bold vision for the new College of Architecture, Planning and Public Affairs, which has united the former schools of Architecture and Urban and Public Affairs to create one of the nation’s premier programs in design, planning, public policy and development.

CAPPA has a new brand identity, a new website that highlights its signature degree and certificate programs and a new charge as a research and thought leader as North Texas evolves into one of the world’s great megacities. The College also has a new advisory council comprised of recognized leaders in the fields of architecture, interior design, landscape architecture, planning, public policy, public administration and urban design.

“We are the only college in the United States that brings together architecture, planning and public affairs,” CAPPA Dean Nan Ellin told alumni, students and business and civic leaders gathered for a recent launch celebration. “In CAPPA, we work with our hands, our heads and our hearts so we can change the world one place at a time.”

UTA President Vistasp M. Karbhari said Ellin possesses a unique ability to bring together people of diverse backgrounds to address the challenges that arise in a region of nearly 7 million people with one of the nation’s fastest-growing economies.

“The goals for this College are very, very high,” Karbhari said. “We are already a highly ranked college. Our goal is to be one of the top 10 programs in the nation.”

He added, “We are embracing a new way of doing things in these critical fields and believe this will have a tremendous connection to and impact on the communities we serve.”

Alumnus Ralph Hawkins, chairman of global architecture firm HKS Inc., was among the earliest supporters of the unified college concept and said the collaborative structure makes new and exciting synergies possible across design, planning, and public affairs disciplines.

“CAPPA is on a tremendous trajectory,” said Hawkins, a longtime UTA supporter who noted that his own firm recently added a planning division to meet demand in the thriving design and development market. “It’s a terrific time to charge forth and meet the needs of an ever-changing societal landscape. The ingenuity employed by Dean Ellin and CAPPA in that process is invigorating to see.”

Ellin emphasized that while CAPPA is new, it is a College composed of long established and esteemed programs in architecture, interior design, landscape architecture, planning, public administration and public policy. This fall, the College added a new Architectural Engineering degree. The College also is offering new specializations and certificates in real estate development, urban farming, urban design, and historic preservation and adaptive reuse.

The College includes the David Dillon Center for Texas Architecture, the Digital Architectural Research Consortium, the Institute of Urban Studies, the Arlington Urban Design Center based at Arlington City Hall, the Center for Metropolitan Density and the Parallel Construction design/build program. The College also works closely with the UTA Institute for Sustainability and Global Impact.

Design Intelligence, a bi-monthly report published by the Design Futures Council, ranked the University’s landscape architecture program No. 13 in the nation in 2013. The Master of Public Administration was listed on U.S. News & World Report’s 2014 list of best public affairs programs, while the online MPA was No. 7 on GraduatePrograms.com’s Spring 2015 ranking of public administration programs by current and recent graduate students.

The College’s many other notable alumni include Fred Perpall, chief executive officer of The Beck Group; Linda Watson, president and chief executive officer of the Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority in Austin; Diane Woodend Jones, chairman of the board and a principal with Lea+Ellliott; and Fort Worth architect Randy Gideon.

Paris Rutherford, principal of Dallas-based Catalyst Urban Development and chairman of the new CAPPA advisory council, said Dean’s Ellin’s vision for the integrated college and connectivity to the region capitalizes on the “unbelievable opportunity that North Texas provides in terms of growth and development.”

Rutherford called CAPPA “the right idea at the right time in the right region of the country.”

“It’s a perfect laboratory to shape ideas and put them into the marketplace. The ways that Dean Ellin is engaging the business and the academic community are ingredients for success,” he said.