About PennDesign

Graduating students talk about the PennDesign experience.


PennDesign prepares students to address complex sociocultural and environmental issues through thoughtful inquiry, creative expression, and innovation. As a diverse community of scholars and practitioners, we are committed to advancing the public good–both locally and globally–through art, design, planning, and preservation. 



Frederick “Fritz” Steiner is Dean and Paley Professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Design. Dean Steiner has a long and distinguished track record as a scholar, teacher and administrator. Most recently, he served for 15 years as dean of the School of Architecture at the University of Texas at Austin. He holds two master’s degrees and a doctoral degree, in city and regional planning, from PennDesign, and he has also been a research scholar at the Penn Institute for Urban Research since 2013. Penn President Amy Gutmann announced his appointment on February 25, 2016.

Board of Overseers

Members of our Board of Overseers provide leadership, direction, and support for the future of PennDesign.

Kevin S. Penn, W'83Chair 
Jay Brian Abramson, W’83, L’86
Nisa Amoils, L’95
Robin M. Beckett, MCP’75
John Carrafiell
Roberta Fine Dranoff, MCP’75
Jeffrey Fine, C’76, MArch’78
Mark Gardner, MArch’00
Laurence A. Goldberg, W’89
Jay Goldman, W’79
Mason D. Haupt, W’77
Ara K. Hovnanian, W’79
Alexander B. Hurst, C’01
Jeffrey Kaplan, W’87
Lori Kanter Tritsch, MArch’85
Scott M. Kleinman, C’94, W’94
A. Eugene Kohn, B.Arch’53, M.Arch’57
Lawrence M. Korman
Nathan Leight 
Matthew H. Nord, W’01
Richard M. Rosan, M.Arch’67
Timothy F. Rub, ex officio
Lisa M. Sardegna, MSHP’05
Ms. Patricia Pickman Udell, BFA’78
Barbara van Beuren, MArch’88
Michelle Kroiz Winn, C’95
William A. Witte, C’73, MCP’75

Senior Staff

Chris Cataldo, Director of Finance and Administration
Leslie Hurtig, Associate Dean for Administration
Cathy DiBonaventura, Director of IT Services
Michael Grant, Director of Communications
Kali Meeks, Associate Director for Professional Development and Leadership 
Andrea Porter, Director of Student Services and Registrar
Jeff Snyder, Assistant Dean of Development and Alumni Relations
Karyn Tufarolo, Associate Director for Faculty Affairs
Karl Wellman, Director of Operations and Planning
Joan Weston, Director of Admissions

Penn Compact 2020

Penn Compact 2020 is President Gutmann’s far-reaching vision that outlines next steps to increase access to Penn's exceptional intellectual resources; integrate knowledge across academic disciplines with emphasis on innovative understanding and discovery; and engage locally, nationally, and globally to bring the benefits of Penn's research, teaching, and service to individuals and communities at home and around the world. PennDesign is committed to building on this vision in the following ways:


  • Working to Increase Access 
  • Financial Aid
  • PennDesign Diversity Committee (Faculty, Staff, and Students)
  • Student Affinity Groups: Queer Design, DiverseDesign, Women in Architecture


  • In-Studio 3D Printing, Digital Imaging and Simulation, and Robotics
  • Pennovation Works: Fabrication and Material Exploration
  • Kleinman Center for Energy Policy
  • Architectural Conservation Lab
  • Architectural Conservation Research Center
  • Materials Lab
  • Silverstein Photography Lab


  • PennPraxis: Applied Research, Outreach and Practice Arm of PennDesign
  • Monument Lab: A Citywide Art and History Project in Philadelphia, co-curated by Ken Lum, professor and chair of fine arts
  • Student-Led Social Impact Projects
  • A Year of Community-Engaged Design, presented by PennPraxis
  • International Conferences and Published Research

Faculty Diversity Work Group

“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change we seek.” –President Barack Obama

Shortly after his appointment in the summer of 2016, Dean Steiner formed a Faculty Diversity Work Group to advise him on strategies to (1) increase the diversity of the School’s faculty, staff, and student body; (2) promote a more inclusive community; (3) and foster a learning environment that encourages and celebrates difference.

Chaired by Sharon Hayes, Associate Professor of Fine Arts, and Dana Tomlin, Professor of Landscape Architecture, the Work Group is comprised of faculty members from across the School as well as student representatives from DiverseDesign and PennDesign Student Council.

Affirmative Action

PennDesign is committed to increasing the diversity of our faculty and student body and to promoting an inclusive culture that welcomes and celebrates difference. Ensuring that our faculty, students and staff are representative of the communities that we serve strengthens our ability to prepare the next generation of designers, planners, preservationists and artists, who will go on to demonstrate how design can improve the quality of everyday life in communities around the globe.


Office of the Dean

102 Meyerson Hall
210 South 34th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Office of Admissions

110 Meyerson Hall
210 South 34th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104


PennDesign programs have consistently been ranked among the best in the nation. The graduate program in the Department of Architecture ranked 7th in DesignIntelligence’s report America's Best Architecture & Design Schools 2017-2018 and the Department of Landscape Architecture ranked 2nd. The survey asked 2,654 hiring professionals from 1,923 professional practice organizations about schools’ effectiveness in “preparing students for a future in the profession and designing a sustainable future.”