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Michael Asada
Al Bradley
Guy Thigpgen

John Pourdehnad, PhD
Tom Guggino
Dominick Volini, PhD

Kimberlee Douglas
Barbara Klinkhammer

Larry M. Starr, PhD, Program Director

In Fall 2015, Dr. Larry Starr and Dr. John Pourdehnad from the Doctor of Management in Strategic Leadership (DSL) Program in the School of Continuing and Professional Studies (SCPS) engaged with Executive Dean Barbara Klinkhammer and Professor Kimberlee Douglas from the College of Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) to discuss opportunities for CABE to partner with DSL in order to explore how a CABE leadership education curriculum could be introduced and developed, and what the components might look like. An agreement was made to move forward with a general process which began with a workshop on October 23, 2015 and subsequently led to the creation of the DSL CABE consulting team.

The mission of DSL is to develop strategic leaders who effectively navigate global contexts and environments by creatively integrating and bridging interdisciplinary knowledge and practice from academia and the workplace. The mission of CABE is to educate the next generation of design and construction professionals to create an equitable and sustainable future.

CABE is committed to professional education that produces civic minded, ethical, well rounded leaders in the architecture profession. The ability to work in and lead teams toward defined and shared purposes is essential in today’s job market. Using the University's Nexus Learning approach as its foundation, leadership education is suggested for CABE students to familiarize themselves with fundamental leadership concepts and to learn how this translates into real world applications.


It has been conveyed that inspiration and creativity are the greatest strengths of architects. Those who possess them often demonstrate innovation and ability to transform diverse, often contradictory, information into a cohesive design. Yet, having architectural and design talent may suggest to some that they also have a broader skill set. Among the competencies that do not necessarily co-exist with inspiration and creativity are those associated with managing or leading a complex project or organization.

Leadership and many of the administrative and project management competencies needed to operate in the modern complex environment of the Architecture profession are largely absent from educational programs which specialize in producing architects and designers. Therefore, if architects must possess both talent and leadership competencies, what is to be done to support the growth, development and sustainability of the profession?

This challenge was presented to the College of Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) by their Advancement Council, a community of working professionals who offered advice and support to the College. Specifically, CABE was asked to find a way to add to their academic curriculum new and appropriate education that would prepare their graduates for the leadership and management responsibilities which existed and were increasing within the professional environment of architecture and design. The premise of this challenge was that the current curriculum failed to adequately prepare students with the confidence and competence needed to be successful.

In response to this, the approach taken by the Doctor of Management in Strategic Leadership (DSL) Team in this phase of our project was to focus on identifying the characteristics within the architecture industry/ professional that people should possess in terms of competencies, i.e., knowledge and skills that could be learned/developed, and in terms of traits that could be identified and supported in order to emerge as a “true leader.” Using participant interview methods from established professionals in the industry, we identified leadership themes that impact emergent behavior for CABE graduates.

At the time of this project, Philadelphia University was beginning the process of integrating with Thomas Jefferson University.