Academic Leadership

Renée Cheng, FAIA
Dean, College of Built Environments

Renée Cheng joined the College of Built Environments as dean on January 1, 2019. Dean Cheng comes from the University of Minnesota where she was a professor, associate dean of research, head of the school of architecture, and directed an innovative graduate program linking research with practice and licensure.

A licensed architect, her professional experience includes work for Pei, Cobb, Freed and Partners and Richard Meier and Partners before founding Cheng-Olson Design. Cheng is a leader in the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and advocates for equity in the field of architecture and in the practices related to the built environment. Recently, she led the research effort for the AIA guides for equitable practice in the workplace and has pioneered research surrounding the intersection of design and emerging technologies, including work on industry adoption of Integrated Project Delivery, Building Information Modeling and Lean.

Professor Jeffrey Karl Ochsner, FAIA
Associate Dean for Academic Affairs

Professor Ochsner joined the College of Built Environments in 1988 and teaches in the areas of architectural design, urban design, historic preservation, and architectural history. He served as chair of the Department of Architecture from 1996 to 2002 and began serving as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in 2007.  Professor Ochsner is a two-time recipient of the CBE Lionel Pries Award for teaching excellence (1990 and 1992), an award voted on by the students.  Professor Ochsner has published six books and numerous articles.  He is widely recognized for his work the history of American and Seattle architecture as well as historic preservation. He is a registered architect, a Fellow in the American Institute of Architects, and a recipient of the Associate of Collegiate Schools of Architecture Distinguished Professor Award.
As the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Professor Ochsner provides support to candidates, departments, and College Council regarding promotion and tenure processes.  He advises the College’s interdisciplinary certificate programs, has managed several administrative reviews and search and hire processes, and has overseen other administrative matters as requested by the Dean.

Professor Marina Alberti, Ph.D.
Associate Dean for Research

Marina Alberti joined the College of Built Environments in 1996. She is the director of the Urban Ecology Research Lab. Marina’s teaching and research interests include urban science, urban ecology, research design, geographic information systems, group dynamic and conflict resolution, and environmental planning. She is known for studying cities and urban spaces as hybrid ecosystems and the interactions between development, ecosystem function, resilience and socio-ecological innovation. In her latest book (UW Press 2016), “Cities That Think Like Planets,” Alberti advances a science of cities that work on a planetary scale and link unpredictable dynamics to the potential for socio-ecological innovation. Through dozens of government and private foundations grants, Marina has studied the impact of urban development on land cover, stream integrity, and bird diversity. She has investigated water supply scarcity in Southern California, and the effect of urbanization and vegetation carbon patterns. Her most recent study shows that urbanization has a clear signal in the evolution of organisms, which has implications for sustainability and human well-being.

As the Associate Dean of Research, Marina works to raise the profile of College faculty in their areas of academic expertise and assist to find new opportunities for collaboration and funding.

Professor Bill Bender, Ph.D., PE, LEED AP
Chair, Construction Management

Bill Bender joined the College of Built Environments as the chair of the Department of Construction Management in 2015. Professor Bender came to UW after 16 years of teaching in the Department of Construction Management at Central Washington University and spent more than 17 years serving as a civil engineer for the U.S. Navy. His teaching and research interests include sustainable construction, project and risk management, and writing about how to improve education and build a diverse workforce in the construction. Professor Bender earned his Ph.D. from the University of Maryland.   

Professor Christopher Campbell, Ph.D.
Chair, Urban Design and Planning

Christopher Campbell was appointed Chair of the Department of Urban Design and Planning in 2014. Chris’ research background focuses on cultural sociology and theory. He teaches a number of courses in the Department of Urban Design and Planning’s undergraduate program – Community, Environment, and Planning

Associate Professor Brian McLaren, Ph.D.
Chair, Architecture

Brian McLaren joined the College of Built Environments in 2001 and was appointed as chair of the Department of Architecture in 2015. His primary areas of research include: modern Italian architecture and colonialism, modern architecture and local culture, architecture and race, and contemporary urban architectural theory. He has published numerous books, book chapters, articles, and reviews. McLaren earned his Ph.D. in the History and Theory of Architecture from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. One of McLaren’s primary goals is to help diversify the department’s faculty and student body.

Professor Simon Stevenson, Ph.D.
Chair, Runstad Department of Real Estate

Simon Stevenson joined the College of Built Environments in 2016 after teaching real estate and finance at the University of Reading in the U.K. Simon served at the president of the International Real Estate Society and in 2006 received the organizations IRSE Achievement Award, given for excellence in research, corporate leadership, and service to the society. He is the co-editor of the Journal of Real Estate Portfolio Management. Simon’s research focuses on public real estate markets, particularly investment trusts and the economics of investment management and housing. He has published numerous papers in leading real estate and financial journals.

Professor Ken Yocom, Ph.D.
Chair, Landscape Architecture

Trained as an ecologist and landscape architect with professional experience in the environmental consulting and construction industries, he is a graduate of our MLA program (2002). Ken also earned his PhD from the Program in the Built Environments (2007), where he researched nature and society relations through the contemporary context of urban ecological restoration practices.