Dean of Architecture Kenneth Schwartz appointed head of Taylor Center

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Kenneth Schwartz is pictured above. He will be the founding director of the Taylor Center. 

Luisa Venegoni, Senior Staff Reporter

Architecture Dean Kenneth Schwartz will serve as the founding director of the newly established Phyllis M. Taylor Center for Social Innovation and Design Thinking.

Michael Bernstein, senior vice president for Academic Affairs and provost, announced the appointment Monday in an email to the Tulane community.

Schwartz will also serve as the first Sacks Endowed Chair in Civic Engagement and Social Entrepreneurship.

The center, established with a $15 million award from Tulane Board member Phyllis Taylor, will expand the university’s social innovation program and offer a space for faculty and students to collaborate on innovative and interdisciplinary solutions to issues in areas such as the environment, education and health care.

“I can think of no better choice than Ken Schwartz to fill these two vital roles,” President Michael Fitts said. “These positions will exponentially increase Tulane’s leadership in using interdisciplinary research, learning and discovery to find the most innovative solutions to today’s pressing needs in environmental remediation, education reform, healthcare affordability and more.”

Bernstein said Schwartz has led the School of Architecture toward involvement with social issues and innovation and supported social entrepreneurship initiatives in his position as the school’s dean.

Schwartz said the center’s formation and the opportunities it will offer to students and faculty demonstrate Tulane’s commitment to collaborative approaches to issues of social change.

“I am honored to be serving as the founding director of the Phyllis M. Taylor Center for Social Innovation and Design Thinking,” said Schwartz in an email statement. “As Dean of the School of Architecture, I have been practicing social entrepreneurship at Tulane for nearly seven years in addition to the work I had done at my prior institution. It is a thrill to work with the dedicated students, faculty, staff and alumni of our institution.”

Sophomore Jack Goldberg said the center will expand opportunities for students interested in social change, particularly those in the university’s social innovation and social entrepreneurship program. 

“The creation of the Taylor Center and the appointment of its new director will completely legitimize an already revolutionary program,” said Goldberg. “As a SISE minor, I feel like I have the backing of the university to pursue my passions.”

Bernstein also announced that Tulane will host the 2016 Ashoka U Exchange, an international conference of institutions of higher education that work in social innovation and social entrepreneurship.

“[This event] will be a fitting moment to celebrate the great work that has taken place for many years at Tulane and the advances we will see, thanks to the formation of the Taylor Center,” Bernstein said.