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CAAD faculty receive international recognition for outstanding teaching
Four architecture faculty members from the College of Architecture, Art and Design (CAAD) at American University of Sharjah (AUS) have been internationally recognized for their commitment to excellence in teaching by the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA).
Professor Michael Hughes, Professor of Practice William Sarnecky, Associate Professor Jason Carlow and Associate Professor Faysal Tabbarah, all from the Department of Architecture, were among more than 5,000 faculty from over 200 accredited institutions to be considered for the 2020 Architectural Education Awards.
Hughes and Sarnecky were awarded for their outstanding leadership and pedagogical excellence on the already regionally acclaimed Tarkeeb Gatehouse and Garden project, which was designed and fabricated by architecture students in the CAAD labs and built on-site at AUS. Carlow was recognized for his work in housing design education as the students in his architecture studio considered and developed solutions for affordable housing within the UAE’s industrial ecology. In addition, Tabbarah was also recognized for his development of the course Architecture and Environmental Orientalism in the Arab World.
Dr. Varkki Pallathucheril, Dean of CAAD, said the awards are confirmation of CAAD’s exceptionally talented faculty and the impact they have on student outcomes.
“For more than 20 years, CAAD has attracted outstanding international faculty who have been instrumental in developing some of the best design talent in the region. As a result, CAAD graduates are consistently sought after by employers for the high-quality work and skills they bring into the regional and international market,” said Dr. Pallatucheril.
“The emphasis we place on mentorship elevates the CAAD student experience and ensures our students receive the knowledge, skills and the ongoing support they need for successful careers in architecture and design. These awards, our students’ successes, and the fact that our graduates still seek out our faculty for mentorship on a regular basis, are confirmation that our faculty are simply excellent at what they do and the benefits that CAAD students receive in learning from them are immeasurable,” he said.
AUS is well-known for its diversity, with its students and faculty representing approximately 90 nationalities. Successful graduates such as Farid Esmaeil and Ahmed Al Ali, co-founders of the award-winning home-grown X-Architects, have affirmed that this diversity among faculty is a key element to CAAD’s success as an institution and the accomplishments of its graduates. Their wide variety of backgrounds, experiences and pedagogies means students receive a truly global design education.
The Department of Architecture faculty have received their qualifications some of the world’s leading institutions and have had successful international careers in design practice.
Hughes joined AUS after starting his teaching career at Cornell University, having worked professionally in the Los Angeles offices of Richard Meier and Frank Gehry. Sarnecky splits his time between Sharjah and Tucson, Arizona where he maintains a design practice with areas of research including digital fabrication, furniture design and the “architecture of immediacy.” Carlow, a graduate of both Harvard University and Yale University, has had his design work and research published widely and exhibited internationally in venues such as biennales of architecture and urbanism in Venice, Beijing, Hong Kong/Shenzhen and Sao Paulo. AUS alumnus Tabbarah completed his Master of Architecture and Urbanism at the Architectural Association’s Design Research Lab in London before returning to his alma mater as a faculty member.
Professor George Katodrytis, Head of the Department of Architecture, said CAAD’s proven reputation for developing some of the top architectural talent in the region is in no small part due to the quality of faculty and their commitment to excellence in teaching.
“It’s safe to say that our faculty are world-class,” said Katodrytis, who himself studied at the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London, which is considered the oldest independent school of architecture in the UK and one of the most prestigious and competitive in the world.
“I think what also sets CAAD apart is what we like to refer to as our ‘culture of making’. This means our students are equipped with not only the theory of design, but the ability to apply it through hands-on design practice and full-scale learning opportunities,” he said.
“Furthermore, we are committed to developing curriculum that provides our students with a strong sense of the Arab context in which they are learning, as well as issues of sustainability and environmental sensibility,” said Katodrytis.
“The four faculty members receiving this award are strong proponents of this and are committed to shaping the way our students learn to create innovative solutions to complex problems,” he said.
CAAD is highly competitive, offering undergraduate programs in architecture, interior design, design management, multimedia design and visual communication, and a graduate program in urban planning. Prospective students for Fall 2020 are encouraged to apply ahead of the July 16 application deadline as places are strictly limited.
For more information about the College of Architecture, Art and Design and to learn more about its outstanding faculty, visit www.aus.edu/caad