School of Architecture dean to step down in July

Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, dean of the School of Architecture, announced that she will step down from her post effective July 1.

She has served as dean for almost two decades and has been a faculty member since 1983. She is known for her commitment to use design to resolve community problems and improve sustainability.


Associate Dean Denis Hector will serve as acting dean until a successor is named. A search committee for the dean’s successor is still to be appointed, according to the “e-Veritas” newsletter sent Wednesday. The newsletter is produced by the University of Miami communications department.

“Amidst a daunting 24/7/365 schedule, she maintained a collegial and open personal style, constantly engaging students and faculty in community advocacy both within and beyond the University,” Hector said in the newsletter. “Her role in shaping the school can’t be overstated, and I am sure that she will continue to contribute in ways that challenge current thinking and open new avenues of inquiry. I am honored to have been a part of her legacy.”

According to the newsletter, Plater-Zyberk changed architectural education at the University of Miami by focusing on a curriculum involving “New Urbanism,”  an urban design movement which promotes the creation of walkable, mixed-use communities that offer a variety of jobs and housing options. She co-founded the Congress of New Urbanism, with a charter that sets forth the key tenets of the movement. It was launched in 1992.

Plater-Zyberk developed programs at the School of Architecture that related to New Urbanism, such as the master’s degree in Real Estate Development and Urbanism. That degree blends the disciplines of architecture, business and law.

The former dean will continue working with the School of Architecture as a faculty member.

“I am grateful for the positive and stimulating group of colleagues with whom I have shared the dean’s work,” she said to “e-Veritas.” “It has been a genuinely enjoyable experience to collaborate daily with staff and faculty members dedicated to the betterment of the lives of the students, each other, and the larger community. I plan to intensify my focus on built-environment adaptation to climate change in South Florida, returning to teach with an agenda for exploration and research to share with students.”