How COVID-19 Can Drive Innovation in Higher Ed: CAPLA Associate Dean of Research Barbara Bryson Pens DesignIntelligence Editorial

May 5, 2020

Barbara Bryson, associate dean for research, professor of practice and director of The Drachman Institute in the College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture at the University of Arizona published an April 2020 editorial in DesignIntelligence on how crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic can drive innovation in higher education, and particularly design schools.

While reflecting on the inertia of higher education, Bryson observes that since the pandemic those in higher ed and design education “are imagining all sorts of possibilities for teaching innovation, syllabus revision and program reinvention.” It’s a forced innovation, but one from which we’ll learn many lessons—including those related to connectivity, campus size and student support. “This innovation—a movement toward a more adaptive education—could be a tremendous long-term strategy for higher education and design schools.”

Read the full editorial.

Bryson was the University of Arizona vice president of strategic planning and analysis before joining CAPLA in 2016. Her research interests include the future of the architecture profession as well as integrated planning and master planning for university campuses. After practicing architecture within major firms for nearly two decades, she turned to higher education in 1996, with stints as university architect at the University of Miami and associate vice president for facilities, engineering and planning at Rice University. The co-author of The Owner’s Dilemma: Driving Success and Innovation in the Design and Construction Industry, she holds a doctorate in higher education from the University of Pennsylvania, MBA from the University of Miami and BS in Architecture from the University of Texas at Arlington.


Associate Dean for Research, Professor of Practice and The Drachman Institute Director Barbara Bryson challenges design school academic leaders in a call to create opportunity from crises.