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. Prior to UMN, she taught at the University of Michigan and the University of Arizona. She is a graduate of Harvard’s Graduate School of Design and Harvard College.
A licensed architect, her professional experience includes work for Pei, Cobb, Freed and Partners and Richard Meier and Partners before founding Cheng-Olson Design. Dean Cheng has been honored twice as one of the top 25 most admired design educators in the United States by DesignIntelligence. She has received numerous honors and awards including the 2017 Lean Construction Institute Faculty Award and was named to the American Institute of Architecture’s College of Fellows in 2017.
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, Cheng led the research effort for the AIA guides for equitable practice in the workplace. Cheng 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.