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Director's Message

Happy New Year, 2014!

It’s hard to believe another year has gone by.  2013 was a year of many changes for us at the Toulan School, with the most severe being the loss of our founding dean, Dr. Nohad Toulan, and his dear wife Dirce in October.  It was a huge shock to us, and both will be sorely missed for the constant source of wisdom they provided to us.  We will move forward with many warm memories of Nohad and Dirce, and a continuing commitment to the dreams they held for our School.  (Click here to view a video of the university memorial

The beginning of a new year brings with it renewed hope for positive change and we are very much looking forward to 2014, with energy and enthusiasm.

First, an update on our people and programs:

Newly arrived Assistant Professor Dr. Marisa Zapata spent Fall term familiarizing herself with Portland and her new office space and is gearing up to teach two classes winter term, USP 542 Land Use Implementation and USP 611 America’s Changing Neighborhoods.  

Assistant Professor Dr. Mathew Gebhardt kicked off our 4th year of CityWise:   Breakfast with the Toulan School series with his November presentation comparing economic development and regulatory issues concerning food carts in Portland, San Francisco and Chicago.   Our January session will feature Professor Emeritus Carl Abbott talking about West Coast and East Coast suburbia (as represented by popular culture through Jim Rockford and Tony Soprano.   Assistant Professor Dr. Jenny Liu and Assistant Professor Dr. Thad Miller are signed up to present at the March and May sessions, respectively.  We are also planning a “special” CityWise session in April (Wednesday, the 23rd), with Congressperson Earl Blumenauer.  Our CityWise program provides a venue for sharing our faculty research and interests with the community, and getting the community’s feedback on our work and other pressing urban issues. Our goal is to align our efforts to meaningfully improve the daily lives of people in this region and beyond.

Our academic programs continue to flourish.  We launched a redesign of our undergraduate Community Development major this fall, significantly modifying our core curriculum to deepen exposure to community-based activities and to more comfortably accommodate higher numbers of students.  As of the start of winter term, we have 190 declared majors.  We have 93 graduate students in our Master of Urban and Regional Planning program, including 49 in our 2013 entering class, 11 Master of Urban Studies students and 56 doctoral students (15 of whom entered in fall 2103).  And, we admitted our second cohort in our Master of Real Estate Development program (joint with the School of Business), 15 students in 2012 and 14 students in 2013, bringing the total to 29.


Finally, we are pleased to announce that Dr. Stephen Percy has been appointed as our new dean of the College of Urban and Public Affairs.  Dr. Percy is currently dean of the University of Baltimore’s College of Public Affairs and will begin at PSU on June 1, 2014.   Dr. Percy is a political scientist by training and has considerable administrative experience.  We are very much looking forward to his leadership in the College of Urban and Public Affairs.