Celebration of Scholarship

Keynote Speaker

2014 | 2013 | 2012

Wicked Problems: Why All of You Are Architecture Majors


Herb Childress, Ph.D.

A nationally recognized scholar, researcher, and academic leader, Dr. Herb Childress is the Dean of Research and Assessment at the Boston Architectural College (BAC), a professional school offering undergraduate and master's degree programs in several spatial design disciplines. Coming to the BAC in 2006 as Director of Liberal Education, Dr. Childress was appointed Dean in 2009. Subsequently, he has led an institution-wide curricular reform and developed critical educational assessment tools that make use of existing data to provide significant pedagogical direction.

Before coming to the BAC, Childress was a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the University Writing Program at Duke University, where he taught first-year writing and led two major projects assessing the effectiveness of the writing curriculum. He has also worked in professional design practice and as a researcher in K-12 school reform with the Bay Area Coalition for Equitable Schools. In addition, since 2003, he has served in leadership roles with the Council on Undergraduate Research, where he was an Executive Board member for four years, helped to organize the 2008, 2010, and 2012 national conferences, was part of the negotiating and planning team for the merger of CUR and NCUR (the National Conferences on Undergraduate Research, a student conference of 2500 undergraduate researchers), and has facilitated eight CUR professional development workshops.

As a consultant to colleges on educational assessment, research and proposal writing for early-career faculty, using the local environment as a curricular focus, and facilities master planning and capital-campaign fundraising, Childress is committed to interdisciplinary scholarship. The author of many professional publications including two books, invited lecturer, and recipient of many awards and grants, he is recognized for his expertise in higher education, qualitative research, and interdisciplinary scholarship.

He received his B.A. in architecture from the University of California at Berkeley and his Ph.D. in Architecture focusing on environment-behavior studies at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee in 1996. His doctoral dissertation was titled Landscapes of Betrayal, Landscapes of Joy: Curtisville in the Lives of its Teenagers.