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Innovation Rewarded with McDowell Award

Dr. Barbara Brown Wilson and Matthew Fajkus, two Architecture professors, received the Cale McDowell Award for Innovation for their collaboration in creating the Signature Course “Skyscrapers and Polar Bears: Perspectives on Sustainable Design.” In the UGS 303 class, students are immersed in the past, present, and future of sustainable design with weekly guest lecturers, field trips, and research on local historical examples of sustainable design. The course focuses on the connection between design and behavior, on the scale of cities and regions down to the scale of a single room. (See the syllabus for more.) In the words of a student:

This course was radically different than any other course I’ve take at UT, and was one of those life-changing courses. Exposure to these subjects actually inspired me to change my major to geography with a focus in sustainability and now I am exploring a new found passion.

In the words of Dean Woodruff, “These two professors have invented exactly the sort of course we hoped to see when we designed the Signature Course program years ago.”

Professor Barbara Brown Wilson

Barbara Brown Wilson is currently an Assistant Professor of Community and Regional Planning and Sustainable Development in the School of Architecture at UT Austin. She is also the Director of the School’s Center for Sustainable Development. Brown Wilson holds a PhD in Community and Regional Planning and a masters in architectural history, and this urban historical perspective informs both her teaching and her research. Her current research includes an action-oriented research project extending the work of the Alley Flat Initiative to develop