AIA California Council Honors NewSchool Faculty Mitra Kanaani with ‘Educator Award’

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American Institute of Architects California Council Honors NewSchool Faculty Mitra Kanaani with Academy of Emerging Professionals ‘Educator Award’

The program recognizes dedicated and talented emerging professionals.

Media Contact:
Lauren McDaniel
NewSchool of Architecture & Design

SAN DIEGO—October 5, 2015—NewSchool of Architecture & Design (NewSchool) graduate architecture faculty member Mitra Kanaani was recently honored with an Academy of Emerging Professionals (AEP) “Educator Award” from the American Institute of Architects California Council (AIACC). The AEP program, now in its fourth year, bestows awards to the best and brightest minds in the field, as well as those who support architects in the early stages of their career.

One juror commented, “We had the option of ‘Yes,’ ‘No,’ or ‘Maybe,’ but I wanted to give [Mitra Kanaani] a vote of ‘wow.’” According to an AEP press release, jurors felt Kanaani “promotes growth and excitement not only through architecture academia, but on a local, state, national and international level as well.”

Kanaani has been in academia for more than two decades, where she has served as a professor of design, research and tectonics, Chair of the Architecture Department, acting Dean, and Chair of the Undergraduate Program, in which she was instrumental in developing new and improving existing programs. In addition to currently serving as a professor in the graduate architecture program at NewSchool, Kanaani also serves as Intern Development Program (IDP) coordinator for students’ IDP mentorships. She has also collaborated and been instrumental as a volunteer Global Associate Faculty in the development of a program of architecture for the Baha’i’ Institute for Higher Education, BIHE, which was founded in 2005 based on humanitarian reasons for the young minority citizens in Iran that are deprived of higher education due to their religious beliefs. She has conducted online teaching design and technology courses, and has been a mentor and teaching advisor for the graduating theses. During this time, she has mentored over half a dozen graduating students during their thesis projects.

“Mitra has been dedicated to NewSchool architecture students for 23 years and is committed to architecture education as evidenced by her role as team member and chair of the National Architectural Accrediting Board accreditation teams,” said Dr. Karen Gersten, interim provost at NewSchool. “She was also instrumental in drafting a proposal to launch an integrated path to architectural licensure (IPAL) program at NewSchool, which the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) recently accepted. She is extremely deserving of the AEP Educator Award.”

In addition to her academic roles, Kanaani has been Principal of Universal Design & Code Consulting since 1997 and has 28 years of experience in architectural practice in California and New Mexico. She is a licensed architect registered in California and a certified Accessibility consultant with International Code Council, ICC. She has published works on such topics as: The Direction of the Architecture Profession and Education, Integrating Licensure with Education, Design and Research, Studios as Research Laboratories, and Performative Architecture. Kanaani is co-authoring a comprehensive handbook of Architectural design and practice, entitled “Routledge Companion to Architectural Design & Practice: Established and Emerging Trends,” available January 2016. She has been the recipient of various Excellence in Education Awards at the local and state, as well as service awards at the national levels.

Kanaani, along with the other two individual recipients and representatives from the Chapter Award and Firm Mentorship Award, will be recognized Nov. 6 in Sacramento at the AIACC Board of Directors Annual Meeting.

Following the AIA California Council recognition, Dr. Kanaani was featured in Connection, The Architecture and Design Journal of the Young Architects Forum. Read the full leadership profile article here.

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