UT has recently garnered significant national accolades, including the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities’ Trailblazer award for retention and graduation rate gains and the Carnegie Community Engagement Classification for outreach. These successes are due to the hard work of our innovative employees. Here’s a look at two College of Architecture and Design faculty members who are trailblazers in and out of the classroom.
David Matthews relishes watching students struggle together in the classroom.
“As individuals grow through the design process, they reinforce and challenge each other,” he said. “There’s a sense of collaboration that takes place when students combat a single problem from two different perspectives and come up with ideas they couldn’t on their own. It’s a multidisciplinary approach.”
That collaboration is a thread that runs through all of Matthews’s courses and in his professional life as an interior designer—whether addressing problems at home or abroad through UT-led projects.
Matthews is chair of the Interior Design program and associate dean of facilities and technology in the College of Architecture and Design. He specializes in the use of technology in design education. He was instrumental in developing the college’s first course in design thinking—solving difficult issues from a multidimensional approach. He’s teaching the first course this semester.
“Design is about making the future better,” he said. “I try to challenge my students to approach each day saying, ‘How can I be better today? How can I measure my growth rather than my grade?’ It’s trial and error and feedback from other people that help grow ideas. I tell them that measuring success is partly by how well you get along with others.”
Matthews is part of two UT initiatives: the UT Haiti Project, which has designed a secondary school and medical facilities in the country, and the Appalachia Community Health and Disaster Readiness Project, an interdisciplinary team of students and faculty from several UT programs working together to improve wellness and disaster readiness in Clay County, Kentucky.
“What’s amazed me is how when you focus on the quality of the community, how design can help bring ideas to life,” he said.
Scott Poole, dean of the college, said Matthews, through his courses and collaborations with programs in China and Japan, introduces student to a range of topics that extend beyond traditional themes in the design disciplines.
As associate dean of facilities and technology, Poole said, Matthews “has transformed the learning spaces of the college, envisioning and realizing new design labs across the halls of the Art and Architecture Building and at our new digital fabrication facility, the Fab Lab.”
UT is contributing to research for the next generation of energy-efficient buildings, thanks largely to its work on several projects, including Living Light, its award-winning solar-powered house.
The primary faculty leader behind that house is James Rose, a senior lecturer in the College of Architecture and Design.
Living Light, built through the efforts of more than 200 students and eight departments, was an entry in the 2011 US Department of Energy Solar Decathlon in Washington, DC, an international competition among collegiate teams. The house received high marks in several categories, including first in energy production, and placed eighth in the world overall.
The award-winning house—following tours around Tennessee and an appearance at the 2012 Smithsonian Folklife Festival—now resides at the Children’s Museum of Oak Ridge, where UT students and faculty and Oak Ridge National Laboratory scientists can continue ongoing data collection and experimentation on its energy productivity.
Working closely with ORNL on Living Light and other projects has allowed students to access the newest building technologies and incorporate them into the studio work, said Rose, a Tennessee native and UT alumnus.
One of Rose’s passions is helping students develop their ideas.
“There’s a great sense of fulfillment in taking things from an early sketch to reality,” he said. “I really enjoy the idea that as architects and designers, we have the ability to see our will manifest in the world—and there’s a huge responsibility that comes with it. It’s not for you; it’s for the world you put it in.”
Rose worked with students and faculty on a UT Zero House prototype as a precursor to the Living Light house. The practicing architect and furniture designer incorporates his interests and expertise in emerging technologies as he works with the Governor’s Chair for High Performance Energy Practices in Urban Environments. The Governor’s Chair position, held by Philip Enquist of architecture firm Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill, is designed to address energy and urbanism issues.
“James Rose is an exemplary faculty member,” said Scott Poole, dean of the College of Architecture and Design. “He is a well-regarded educator who consistently earns top teaching awards from his students. He is a team player, and we are really privileged to have him as a member of our college.”
Lola Alapo (865-974-3993, firstname.lastname@example.org)