CAPLA's Teresa Rosano Wins Prestigious Gerald J. Swanson Teaching Excellence Award

May 20, 2024
Teresa Rosano, Assistant Professor of Practice, School of Architecture
Gerald J. Swanson Prize for Teaching Excellence from the University of Arizona
Teresa Rosano, assistant professor of practice in the School of Architecture

Teresa Rosano, an assistant professor of practice in the School of Architecture within the College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture, was awarded the prestigious Gerald J. Swanson Prize for Teaching Excellence.

Logan Havens

The University of Arizona has awarded Teresa Rosano, an assistant professor of practice in the School of Architecture within the College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture, the prestigious Gerald J. Swanson Prize for Teaching Excellence.

The award recognizes excellence in undergraduate teaching and was created through a gift from the Thomas R. Brown Foundation in honor of Gerald J. Swanson, professor emeritus of economics. The award includes a $5,000 prize. 

The awards are presented by the Office of the Provost, the W.A. Franke Honors College, the Graduate College, the Postdoctoral Affairs Office, and the GIFT Center at the University of Arizona Foundation. A recognition event is planned for next spring. 

Rosano earned her B.Arch from CAPLA in 1994 and co-founded Ibarra Rosano Design Architects in 1999. The firm has gained national recognition as one of Arizona’s top design firms for its modern desert architecture. Rosano returned to CAPLA as an adjunct lecturer in 2011 and became an assistant professor of practice in 2018. 

As a faculty member, she has received several teaching awards. In 2023, she earned the AIA Arizona Educator of the Year Award and the UArizona Margaret M. Briehl and Dennis T. Ray Five Star Faculty Award. 

“My role as an educator is to make subject material real and relevant, by incorporating my more than 25 years of professional practice experience into my teaching so that it is tangible, specific, applicable, and memorable,” Rosano said. 

School of Architecture Director Ryan Smith has observed Rosano’s teaching firsthand and noted her students' engagement in the coursework. 

“She consistently and dedicatedly shares her love of architecture and her commitment to discipline with her students,” he said. “She is inclusive, empathetic, and exemplifies excellence in practice and teaching.”

Jordan West, a fourth-year architecture student, met Rosano in fall 2022. Rosano was her ARC301 studio coordinator, and West appreciated her passion for creating an engaging course and her efforts to provide specific feedback and suggestions that helped her improve. 

West served as a teaching assistant in the same pre-design course with Rosano and gained a deeper understanding of her teaching philosophy.

“She approaches her instruction with enthusiasm and makes it a goal to make complex subjects engaging and relatable, fostering an inclusive environment where discussions are encouraged, and questions are welcomed without judgment,” West said. 

Ally Kwan ‘23, B.Arch, had the privilege of taking several classes taught by Rosano. The most memorable among them was a summer study abroad course. She said that the drawing course, at first glance, didn’t seem rigorous, but the experience left a profound impact on her. 

“The simple act of drawing forces you to be more intentional to what you see and observe, which changed the way I see and observe both built and natural environments,” Kwan said. “Beyond the sketchbook and the drawing techniques I learned over the course, I truly gained a deeper appreciation for life learning from Teresa.” 

She added: “Teresa is the professor who reminds students why they want to be at CAPLA and a part of the architecture community.” 


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