Strategic Planning Framework - University of Houston
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The Framework

Over the course of the 2022-2023 academic year, the Hines College community came together to develop its next strategic plan, incorporating input and involvement from students, faculty, staff, and alumni. The resulting strategic plan framework is our starting point for moving forward and advancing the college over the next several years.


The Hines College of Architecture and Design challenges students to cultivate knowledge, creativity, critical thinking, and empathy to be reflective practitioners and design collaborators. We catalyze student potential and utilize design to strengthen our communities and address contemporary issues with action-oriented, innovative solutions to make the Earth a better place to live.


The Hines College is a leader in holistic, interdisciplinary design education that empowers students to proactively create more sustainable built environments, systems, and objects and to shape the evolving role of the architect/designer. The College develops critical pedagogies, research, and practice to tangibly improve equity, resilience, and other shared challenges through the power of design.

Strategic Planning Open House


As designers and change agents of the future, our students will continue to address climate crisis and its disproportionate impact on marginalized peoples. We cultivate our students’ awareness, sensitivity, and curiosity about the communities and cultures they design with and their sense of responsibility for how their work contributes to equity and sustainability.

Cross-pollination between programs emulates the interdisciplinary collaboration that characterizes real-world practice and enables students to succeed as well-rounded critical thinkers and designers, who can implement innovative solutions, evolve the role of the designer, and influence emergent practices.

We engage with design, design media, history/theory/criticism, and technology as they evolve. We leverage emerging tools and concepts for practice and research and equip our students with the skills and critical lens that will allow them to thrive in a rapidly changing environment.


  • Life-Long Learning

    Life-Long Learning

  • Collaboration


  • Responsibility


  • Stewardship


  • Empowerment


  • Universal Respect

    Universal Respect


  • Jury Week Spring 2023

    We believe design is a key part of shaping a changed, better world.

    We believe…
    design has exponential value and our work creates ripples far beyond our sphere.  We must consider the needs of future generations in addition to our own.

    We believe…
    design is a public good and all communities should have access to it. It must be inclusive and participatory.

    We believe…
    designers have a responsibility to respond to our climate crisis; we must consider our impact on people and our planet in every aspect of our work.

    We believe…
    technology is a powerful tool and a force for good in design when we engage with it in a thoughtful, nuanced manner.

  • Graduation Spring 2023

    We believe the Hines College should be a key to student success – students are our College’s greatest investment and asset.

    We believe…
    education should empower students with the tools to pursue self-directed learning and continual self-improvement over the course of their whole lives.

    We believe…
    a Hines College education prepares our students to make a difference in the wider world, impact their chosen professions, and determine their own life paths.

    We believe…
    understanding history and context, a well-rounded course of study, and disciplinary proficiency set the foundation for strong professional outcomes and good design.

    We believe…
    integrating expansive, critical thinking, creative making skills, and a collaborative, interdisciplinary approach is essential to problem-solving in design and beyond.

  • Jury Week Spring 2023

    We believe education is a shared endeavor that impacts everyone and fundamentally requires collaboration.

    We believe…
    in shared educational responsibility and ownership – students and instructors are partners in learning.

    We believe…
    students should have choice and the ability to pursue their design interests in their educational paths.

    We believe…
    mentorship plays a crucial guiding role for the learning and development of students, faculty, and staff.

    We believe…
    we grow as practitioners and instructors through continued education across and beyond the field as well as through engagement and mastery of new technologies.

  • Staff giving away pizza and snacks to students for Jury Week

    We believe we are people first and a culture of care and wellbeing helps everyone in our College flourish.

    We believe…
    in embracing and celebrating difference in its many forms.

    We believe…
    we must create equitable learning opportunities for all students and nurture each one’s unique abilities to become our society’s future leaders, innovators, and implementors.

    We believe…
    our faculty is our greatest resource and supporting their research and professional aspirations furthers the long-term success of the Hines College.

    We believe…
    everyone in the College benefits when we act with care for one another and for our shared spaces.  Responsibility for the environment of the College starts with our students, faculty, and staff.

Architecture Building Spring 2023


Curriculum + Programs

Develop adaptable, diverse, pedagogically-driven curricula that give students agency in their course of study, motivate faculty with compelling teaching opportunities, and systemically build design media and technology competencies.


  • Promote a student-centric pedagogical approach that celebrates critical thinking and making, while emphasizing collaboration and innovation.
  • Increase curricular flexibility and diversity to promote choice for students, customization for a desired career or professional path, and a less rigidly linear progression of courses.
  • Promote balance between all programs in the College and create space for new, complementary programs to offer a more comprehensive architecture/design education.
  • Identify opportunities at the College and University levels for interdisciplinary work within the curriculum, including offering interdisciplinary studios and/or courses and strengthening shared degree collaborations.
  • Embed ecological consciousness and sustainability in the curricula in a comprehensive manner for students of all levels.
  • Promote fluency in design history, theory, and criticism so students have a deep understanding of the communities and contexts within which they are designing.
  • Build a robust sequence of courses in design media for all undergraduate programs that provides a strong base level of skill and technical competency and supports peer-to-peer learning through a shared language of tools and technologies.
  • Ensure access to up-to-date technology in the College including computers labs, studios, and research labs.

Environmental Responsibility

Make sustainability a core value set underlying the Hines College culture for teaching, research, service, and operations.


  • Define and advance the College’s comprehensive perspective on ecological sustainability in design and our commitment to caring for our planet, which will be integrated in everything we do.
  • Institutionalize environmentally sustainable practices in standing operating procedures, material selection and use, waste management, and printing for the College and evaluate impact, using the College and community as a living laboratory for sustainability.
  • Project University- and Houston-specific sustainability practices to broader audiences.


Culture of Care + Wellbeing

Strengthen our community bonds and embody a culture of care – for ourselves, one another, and the environment of the Hines College.


  • Offer opportunities for student connection and feedback at a variety of levels, including within programs and across the College.
  • Sustain and strengthen faculty and staff networks within the College to nourish a shared sense of purpose, aligned and effective approaches to pedagogy, interdisciplinary partnerships, and awareness of student needs.
  • Create opportunities that promote faculty/staff and student interaction, different modes of studying and working, and a sense of ownership within the College.
  • Be sensitive to the financial burdens of a design education and help all students to excel, regardless of socioeconomic status.
  • Encourage an environment that enables and supports effective mental health management.
  • Normalize mental health care, heighten our community responsiveness to challenges, and promote access to University of Houston resources.


Global Community Engagement

Because the Hines College connects to the world beyond the University, we engage with peers and partners on local, regional, and global levels to discuss the trends, challenges, and changes in design and participate in creating solutions.


  • Capitalize on the city of Houston as a global center for an array of industries and cultures and serve our local community, especially those who traditionally lack access to design, through knowledge sharing and dedicated projects.
  • Raise awareness of our programs across the design education landscape, as a partner for those in our region, and for professional firms looking to hire the best talent.
  • Learn from and build relationships with other design colleges and programs in our region, nationally, and internationally.
  • Strengthen study abroad and international programs in strategic locations, such as Mexico and the Global South.
  • Recruit a rich faculty community from a wide spectrum of backgrounds, prioritizing a variety of expertise, specialization, and experience.
  • Continue to engage diverse and distinguished practicing architects and designers from around the world.


Professional Preparation + Development

Bolster the professional success of all members of the Hines College community through mentorship, skill-building, robust connections to practice, and networking. 


  • Prioritize mentorship for both students and instructors, with particular emphasis on providing knowledgeable guidance and advising to students on curricular choices, course of study, and career options.
  • Invest in technology engagement and training for faculty and staff to support advancements in teaching and research outcomes.
  • Equip students with a foundation of skills and a framework of understanding of the software, applications, and tools used in design firms and enable them to comfortably move between digital and analog workflows.
  • Partner with professional design practitioners to continue to ground the College’s approach in the real-world demands of the design professions, to invite professionals to engage with courses, and to expose students to a wide array of practitioners over the course of their study.
  • Leverage the College as a hub for continued learning, professional connection, and advancement for our alumni, in addition to our faculty, staff, and current students.



Bolster the professional success of all members of the Hines College community through mentorship, skill-building, robust connections to practice, and networking.


  • Invest in infrastructural support dedicated to increasing research opportunities and funding, building/maintaining interdisciplinary partnerships, and pursuing synergistic research relationships outside academia.
  • Develop and support research initiatives for faculty and students that are awarded annually.
  • Partner with external industry and community stakeholders to drive research that serves society, making sure correct steps are taken to include the communities for and with whom we are designing.
  • Leverage Labs and Centers as hubs for partnerships and advanced research studios. Continue to upgrade and establish facilities to support research.

Who was involved?

Everyone was invited to get involved in the strategic planning process – including students, faculty, staff, and alumni. Whether a part of the Working Group or providing feedback at open house events and faculty sessions, the process welcomed voices of each person in our College community. 

The Working Group was critical in synthesizing the feedback and developing the final strategic plan framework.

  • Administration

    • Patricia Belton Oliver – Dean
    • Dietmar Froehlich – Associate Dean
    • Trang Phan – Associate Dean
  • Directors, Coordinators, + Faculty


    • Rafael Beneytez-Duran – Director, Undergraduate Architecture
    • Gail Borden – Director, Graduate Studies
    • Jeff Feng – Co-Director, Industrial Design
    • Mark Kimbrough – Co-Director, Industrial Design
    • Sheryl Tucker de Vazquez – Interim Director, Interior Architecture


    • Tom Diehl – Co-Coordinator, Undergraduate Technology Sequence
    • Matt Johnson – Coordinator, Graduate Module III
    • Michael Kubo – Coordinator, History and Theory of Architecture and Design
    • Andrew Kudless – Coordinator, Design Media
    • Jason Logan – Coordinator, Undergraduate Architecture Foundation Level
    • Rafael Longoria - Coordinator, Graduate Module IV
    • Patrick Peters – Coordinator, Undergraduate Integrated Architectural Solutions, Coordinator Graduate Design/Build 


    • Min Kang – Assistant Professor, Industrial Design
    • Mili Kyropoulou – Assistant Professor, Architecture
    • Ophelia Mantz – Assistant Professor, Interior Architecture
    • Ross Wienert – Adjunct Faculty, Architecture
  • Staff Representatives

    • Avani Dave – Director, Business Operations
    • Stephen Schad – Executive Director, Communications
  • Students + Student Organization Leaders

    • Kadmiel Konan – STUCO, Industrial Design
    • Mary Garcia Aguilera – AIAS Houston
    • Michala Daniels – Interior Architecture
    • Aya Daouk – UHNOMAS
    • Ashton Ezell – FWIA
    • Raymond Fernandez – Undergraduate Architecture
    • Marina Latto – SIDSA
    • Estelle Lee – Makers and Doers Club
    • Tamyria Levy – Undergraduate Architecture
    • Regyna Palacios – IASA
    • Amber Quinn – Alpha Rho Chi (APX)
    • Umaymah Sigbathulla – Graduate Architecture
    • Christopher Torres – UHNOMAS
  • Alumni

    • Margaret Wallace Brown (’83)
    • Andrew Gressett (’16)
    • Eric Hudson (’08)
    • Jennifer Murray (’22)
    • Ledia Osmani Valdez (’06)