Leadership changes are coming to the UNM School of Architecture and Planning (SA&P). Long-term Dean Geraldine Forbes Isais recently announced she will be stepping down and returning to the faculty. Mark Childs, SA&P professor and associate dean of research, was appointed interim dean effective July 1, 2019.

Dean photo 4.27
Mark Childs, interim dean of School of Architecture and Planning.

“After careful consideration of the best person to continue the positive momentum of the School and discussions with him about his vision, I am pleased that Mark has agreed to take the helm of this important professional school – the only school of architecture and planning in the state,” said Interim Provost Rich Wood. 

Geraldine Forbes Isais is wrapping up a nine-year term. Her time has included launching several initiatives within the School, including a research and creative work initiative that quadrupled the School’s research and creative work output. She also spearheaded the ABQ+UNM CityLab, an urban studio collaboratively supported by both the City of Albuquerque and the Indigenous Design + Planning Institute IiDPi), focused on indigenous communities and culturally appropriate design. Prior to her deanship, she was director of the architecture program for five years.

Childs says he is pleased to take on the leadership role and plans on focusing on three main objectives during the next year:

  1. Strengthen SA&P foundations: position the School to attract the best candidates for the new dean.
  1. Tell SA&P stories: spreading the word about the numerous awards, impactful projects and graduate students that are engaging communities and leading the disciplines in various areas.
  1. Take the time to reflect: consider strategic advantages, historic strengths and changing characteristics of our students and professions in order to articulate a range of possible new initiatives for the consideration by the new dean.

Childs, AIA joined UNM in 1994 as a part time instructor in architecture. He has since held various roles in the school including director of the Design and Planning Assistance Center (DPAC), founding director of the Graduate Certificate in Urban Design, interim director of the Architecture, Landscape Architecture, and Community and Regional Planning departments and Associate Dean for Research. 

He has a B.S. in Architecture from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a Masters in Architecture from the University of Oregon and a Masters of Public Administration from the University of Washington. 

Mark’s award-winning books include Imagine a City that Remembers with Anthony Anella (UNM Press 2018), The Zeon Files: Art and Design of Historic Route 66 Signs with Prof. Ellen Babcock (UNM Press 2016), Urban Composition (Princeton Architectural Press 2012), Squares: A Public Space Design Guide (UNM Press 2004 ), and Parking Spaces (McGraw-Hill 1999).  He is on the editorial board of the Journal of Urban Design, was a senior Fulbright scholar (Cyprus 2005) and is a published science fiction poet.