The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

90° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    “New dean eager to improve, lead architecture college”

    When Jan Cervelli takes over as dean of the College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture this summer, she plans to enhance the school’s reputation as a leader in sustainable design.

    She will also reunite with an old sweetheart.

    “”I’ve known the reputation of the school for a long time, but I’ve also wanted to live in the Southwest – it’s a place that’s captured my imagination for a long time,”” Cervelli said. “”All landscape architects, at some point in their life, want to live in the Southwest.””

    Cervelli, once approved by the Arizona Board of Regents, will succeed Charles Albanese, whose UA career spans parts of five decades.

    Albanese came out of retirement three years ago to serve as dean during vast construction projects, including a $9.2 million expansion to the Architecture building that concluded in the fall.

    “”We felt we’d be in a much stronger position if we completed those projects before we search for a new dean,”” said R. Brooks Jeffery, the college’s associate dean. “”… I think we were successful.””

    Cervelli, slated to begin July 1, comes from the Clemson University in South Carolina. She was selected out of a pool of 35 candidates, three of whom took campus visits in November, Jeffery said.

    Jed Laver, recently elected as the Graduate and Professional Student Council’s next representative for the college, was among the students to confer with Cervelli before her appointment.

    “”From my one visit with her, she seemed like a really good candidate,”” Laver said. “”The feedback from students who have had more interaction with her has all been very positive.””

    Cervelli said she’s “”been in love with the Southwest for a good portion of her adult life.”” Through multiple trips to Tucson – which she called a “”Mecca kind of place”” – she’s become enamored with the interplay of Hispanic and American Indian cultures and art, as well as their blend with people who flock to the city to retire.

    “”That’s what really I find attractive, and really it makes it a good place to study design,”” she said.

    The UA is poised to be one of the leaders in the country and worldwide in sustainable design, particularly with Tucson as an arid region, she said.

    As global warming advances, increasing numbers of regions will develop arid features, creating an impetus for design that maximizes natural resources such as water and native plants, she said.

    Cervelli sees two additional arenas in which the UA will focus its design research: channeling sunlight to create pools of energy, and the exploration of environment-safe, recyclable materials to supplant natural ones like wood.

    “”There’s an incredible level of support for the profession and from the alumni in the college, and that attracted me very much,”” she said. “”It’s a key ingredient for a strong college.””

    In light of Albanese’s footprint on the college, Cervelli chuckled as she said she has “”big shoes to fill.””

    “”I’m eager to get going,”” she said.

    More to Discover
    Activate Search