Tuesday, September 9, 2014

As one of the top 20 public research universities in the nation, the University of Arizona is known for its innovation and discoveries, which occur on a regular basis across campus. The University’s College of Architecture, Planning, and Landscape Architecture (CAPLA) is no exception, conducting important research in water management, heritage conservation, building and site energy performance and solutions, affordable housing, and the role of the built and green environment on health and wellbeing – among other areas.

To further advance its research mission, Janice Cervelli, Dean of CAPLA, has appointed Dr. Arthur C. (Christian “Chris”) Nelson as the College’s new Associate Dean for Research, effective immediately. In this newly-created role, Dr. Nelson is charged with the responsibility of guiding the College’s research strategy and facilitating faculty, staff, and student research and scholarly activities. Duties include identification of external funding opportunities, faculty capacity building and mentoring, facilitation of research collaboration across the University, regulatory oversight and compliance, research resource and infrastructure development, and representation of the College within research-related committees and organizations.

Dr. Nelson brings considerable experience to the position, having conducted extensive research in planning, economic development, urban and metropolitan form, transportation, land use, and real estate. With 30 years of academic service at such leading institutions as Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, and the University of Utah, he has generated more than $10 million in grants and contracts from federal agencies, state and local government, foundations, think-tanks, nonprofit organizations, and private firms. He is considered one of the most successful researchers among planning faculty nationally.

Because research informs his scholarship, Dr. Nelson is also one of the profession's most prolific writers with more than 20 books, 30 book chapters, 130 refereed articles, and 200 other works. An independent analysis of planning faculty citations in 2013 ranked Dr. Nelson 25th of the nearly 1,000 planning faculty members nationally. He also has noteworthy academic administrative experience, having created and managed Georgia Tech’s land development certificate program, founded Virginia Tech’s program in Urban Affairs and Planning, as well as co-directed the Metropolitan Institute at Virginia Tech, and founded the Master of Real Estate Development program and the doctoral degree in Metropolitan Planning, Policy and Design, and the Metropolitan Research Center at the University of Utah.

Says Dean Cervelli of Dr. Nelson: “CAPLA is, indeed, fortunate to have someone of Dr. Nelson’s extensive experience in the development of highly successful research programs and collaborative relationships across departments, colleges, and universities. He has hit the ground running and is already planning a number of activities designed to engage faculty throughout the year.”

In addition to his position of Associate Dean for Research, Dr. Nelson joins CAPLA as Professor of Planning and Real Estate Development in the School of Planning and Landscape Architecture. He will also facilitate efforts to create dual degrees within CAPLA and between University colleges, as well as initiate professional education opportunities. Dr. Nelson believes that to be relevant, research and scholarship must extend beyond single degree silos while also reaching practicing professionals and their constituents.

Dr. Chris Nelson