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ISU architecture professor honored with AIA Iowa Educator Award

October 06, 2014



AMES, Iowa — Rob Whitehead, an assistant professor of architecture at Iowa State University, received the 2014 Educator Award from the Iowa chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA Iowa) Sept. 25 at the AIA Iowa Annual Convention in Des Moines.

The award recognizes significant contributions to architectural education in Iowa.

Whitehead joined the Iowa State architecture faculty as a lecturer in 2007 and moved into a tenure-track position in 2012. He teaches architectural design studios, undergraduate structural technology courses, and graduate building technology seminars and design-build studios.

Together with an exceptionally strong technical background and an innate design ability, "Rob's performance in the classroom and studio is nothing short of extraordinary. With good humor, patience and constant attention to whether students are 'getting it' or not, Rob has been able to present complex material in ways that are engaging, convincing and digestible to students," said nominator Thomas Leslie, the Pickard Chilton Professor in Architecture at Iowa State.

"He finds teaching opportunities in both successful and unsuccessful student projects, which has created a supportive, welcoming atmosphere for all students. Structures in particular is rarely a popular class, but Rob has made it one of the most appreciated and effective course sequences we have."

Among Whitehead's teaching honors are the 2011 Building Technology Teaching Award for Emerging Faculty from the Building Technology Educators' Society and the 2012-2013 Creative Achievement Award from the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture. He was named an ISU New Faculty Scholar in 2012.

With Jason Alread and Leslie, Whitehead is a co-author of "Design-Tech: Building Science for Architects, 2nd Edition" (Routledge, 2014). He has presented and published a number of peer-reviewed papers on topics related to the scholarship of teaching and learning, construction history and innovative structural designs. His students frequently are recognized for their work in design competitions and at academic conferences.

Whitehead received a bachelor of architecture with distinction from Iowa State in 1993 and graduated summa cum laude with a master of architecture from the University of Texas at Austin in 1997. Prior to his position at Iowa State, he was a senior architect for nine years at Herbert Lewis Kruse Blunck Architecture in Des Moines. Since 2007 he also has run his own architectural practice, Whitehead Design Workshop, in Des Moines.

Rob Whitehead, Architecture, (515) 294-8276,
Heather Sauer, Design Communications, (515) 294-9289,