Weitzman News

Posted May 1, 2020
  • Sean Burkholder, Sophie Debiasi Hochhäusl, and Willie Udell

Burkholder, Hochhäusl, and Udell Earn Distinguished Teaching Awards

Three faculty members in the Stuart Weitzman School of Design received G. Holmes Perkins Teaching Awards for 2020, in recognition of distinguished teaching and innovation in a classroom, seminar, or studio setting. The awards are given annually in honor of G. Holmes Perkins, an architect and longtime faculty member who was dean of the School of Design from 1951 - 1971, and based on nominations by students. The winners were announced by Dean Steiner in an April 17 webcast for students, faculty, and staff; they will also be recognized in the printed program for the School’s 2020 Commencement Webcast.

Sean Burkholder, the Andrew Gordon Assistant Professor in the Department of Landscape Architecture received the Distinguished Graduate Teaching Award for Standing Faculty. Burkholder is the Andrew Gordon Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture and director of the Landscape Affairs Group, a landscape research and design consultancy focused on the human-entangled freshwater ecosystems of post-industrial regions. He co-directs the $1.5m Healthy Port Futures project from the Great Lakes Protection Fund in collaboration with a range of local and federal agencies.

“He provides extraordinary knowledge, sound criticism, and support every day to the studios and classes that he leads,” a student said. “He makes himself available anytime outside of the classroom, is generous with his time, and his unwavering enthusiasm is contagious to all his students.”

Sophie Debiasi Hochhäusl, an assistant professor of architectural history and theory in the Department of Architecture, received the award for distinguished undergraduate teaching, which rotates each year between Architecture and Fine Arts. Hochhäusl’s scholarly work centers on modern architecture and urban culture in Austria, Germany, and the United States, with a focus on the history of social movements, environmental history, and women’s and gender studies. Her work has been published in Architectural HistoriesLandscapes of Housing, and Reading the Architecture of the Underprivileged Classes and she is coauthor of the forthcoming volume Architecture, Environment, Territory: Essential Writings since 1850.

“Having Sophie as an instructor has been a highlight of my undergraduate experience,” said one student. “She has guided us with wisdom, ingenuity, and compassion. From the very start, she worked hard to build a community amongst us and to expand our preconceptions of what our thesis projects could entail.”

Willie Udell, a lecturer and sculpture technician in the Department of Fine Arts, was awarded the Distinguished Graduate Teaching Award for Non-Standing Faculty. Udell is a Philadelphia-based artist and educator whose sculpture and video work relies on gesture as communicated through the mundane or banal. One student described him as “an extremely available thought-partner and materials expert all of the MFAs rely on, from sculptors exploring new materials to video artists fabricating ideal displays to installation artists thinking about space.”

“Willie asks us difficult questions, while always being incredibly encouraging,” said another. “He creates a community in his workshop that grounds the entire department.”