Laura Hollengreen Honored with UArizona Faculty Service Award for 'Servant Leadership'

June 5, 2024
Laura Hollengreen, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Associate Professor in the School of Architecture
University of Arizona Faculty Service Award
Laura Hollengreen

Laura Hollengreen, PhD, associate dean for academic affairs and associate professor in the School of Architecture, was awarded the University of Arizona Faculty Service Award in recognition of her empathetic leadership, transformative teaching and significant contributions to fostering an inclusive academic environment. 

The award recognizes faculty who demonstrate significant leadership and impact in service activities that elevate the University in alignment with its mission and vision. A monetary award of $7500 for research or professional development purposes is split among the number of awardees.  This year, there were two.

“It’s wonderful to have one’s hard work recognized, no matter what—we all thrive on that appreciation,” Hollengreen said. “But I’d also like to say that the kind of service and administrative work I do is not done alone. I work with a huge network of partners in CAPLA and from across the university. Relationships matter. Mutual respect, responsiveness, and reliability support good joint work, even in difficult circumstances.” 

Among the qualities noted by Hollengreen’s colleagues, the consistent theme of servant leadership emerged. Nancy Pollock-Ellwand, dean of the College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture, specifically highlighted how Hollengreen prioritizes the development and well-being of others. 

“Her dedication, empathy, and professionalism have made her an invaluable and trusted colleague,” Pollock-Ellwand said. “She leads by example and positively influences everyone around her. She is a true advocate for students, faculty and staff at every level.” 

Hollengreen began her tenure at the University of Arizona in 1995. As a junior faculty member, service was a priority. She sat on faculty committees in the School of Architecture, which eventually led to her being elected as chair of the General Faculty for CAPLA. She also served on the School of Architecture Curriculum and Standards Committee. 

Her service extended beyond CAPLA to several university-wide committees, including president of the Association of Women Faculty and chair of the UArizona Medieval, Renaissance, and Reformation Committee. She served as interim director for the School of Architecture during a time of financial challenge before leaving for Georgia Tech in 2009. 

At Georgia Tech from 2009 to 2017, Hollengreen deepened her service experience through roles in various committees, including the search committee for the chair of the School of Architecture and the Curriculum Committee. Later, she became vice chair and chair of the Institute Undergraduate Curriculum Committee, managing diverse issues affecting student success. 

Julie Ju-Youn Kim, chair of the School of Architecture at Georgia Tech, has known Hollengreen for almost 10 years. They first met in 2015 when Kim joined as the associate chair for the School of Architecture. 

Kim noted, “It was something that was confirmed time and time again, just the generosity that she showed in terms of her collegiality with her fellow colleagues and as a mentor for students and for junior faculty.”

At Georgia Tech, Hollengreen also took on the role of assistant provost for Academic Advocacy and Conflict Resolution, handling complaints involving students and faculty, and collaborating with various campus entities.

“Just seeing how she models behaviors for all students is really impactful, and the way she responds to challenging and difficult situations, she does it with grace and ease,” Kim said. 

Hollengreen returned to UArizona as the associate director of the School of Architecture in 2017. Among her responsibilities, she oversaw faculty annual performance reviews, managed the academic events committee and its lecture series, study abroad and other international programs, and became the go-to administrator for faculty mentoring and fielding student complaints. 

Notable initiatives she inaugurated that have elevated CAPLA include the CAPLA Emerging Faculty Fellowship, which has drawn in several exceptional faculty members, and the CAPLA Externship, which makes it possible for advanced students to shadow professionals at relevant firms and other organizations. 

“I really enjoy getting to know other people—faculty, staff, and students—and trying to understand what excites and drives them,” Hollengreen said. “I’m invariably curious about how others think and work. I think that curiosity prompts me to spend time with people and learn their circumstances.”

Robert Miller, professor emeritus and former director of the School of Architecture, witnessed first hand Hollengreen’s leadership and service. 

“While she has an unwavering moral core and strong beliefs about the way things could be done, she lets her values fuel, but not lead, her actions,” he said. “Rather, she listens first. She considers anything that might prove relevant; then, after weighing everything, she lets the right course of action emerge.” 

Hollengreen said the motivation behind her daily efforts is “simply the power and the pleasure of new ideas.” 

“I’m interested in identifying the unique value that each individual brings to what they do and creating circumstances in which they can realize their abilities,” she said.

Ryan Smith, director of the School of Architecture, said Hollengreen is a crucial link between students and faculty, as well as the dean and directors in CAPLA. 

“Whenever there is work to be done within the administrative team—regardless of whether it is conceptual or detailed, public or behind the scenes—Laura steps up to the challenge,” he said. “She proactively anticipates potential storms and carefully considers the impact of decisions on various stakeholders within the College.” 

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. 


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