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School of Design Teaching Awards
May 25, 2010, Volume 56, No. 34

The School of Design has announced the 2010 Teaching Awards.


The 2010 G. Holmes Perkins Award for Distinguished Teaching has been awarded to Dr. Domenic Vitiello, assistant professor of city and regional planning. Dr. Vitiello is a teaching mainstay in the department’s community and econom ic development concentration, and has developed and expanded a forward-looking research and publishing agenda in the areas of urban history, immigration, and food policy. In his role as associate chair, Dr. Vitiello has led the department’s efforts to better integrate sub-matriculating students into the graduate program, connecting the planning program to Penn’s urban studies program. Graduate and undergraduate students alike are unanimous in praising his choice of topics, thoughtfulness, presentation quality, assignment selection, approachability, and ability to relate coursework to student interests and real world issues. To quote one of his students, “Professor Vitiello, perhaps more than any other planning faculty member, is dedicated to enriching the experience of students while at the School of Design. He not only dedicates himself fully to his teaching, but also shares his passion for making cities better places to live with planning students. He brings a sense of commitment, to people, communities, and places, to everything he is involved in. I hope he continues to inspire planners for years to come.”  Dr. Vitiello received his PhD from Penn and the master of city planning degree (MCP) from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.




The G. Holmes Perkins Award for Distinguished Teaching by a member of the associated faculty is awarded to Ms. Jenny Sabin, lecturer in architecture. Ms. Sabin’s research, teaching and design practice focuses on the contextual, material and formal intersections between architecture, textile tectonics and biology. Her design expertise resides in generative design and design computation, two contemporary trajectories in architectural design research. Ms. Sabin is the co-recipient, along with Dr. Peter Lloyd Jones, of the Upjohn research grant administered by the American Institute of Architects. She is the first non-scientist member of the Institute for Medicine and Engineering (IME) at Penn, where she collaborates with the Jones Lab. She has exhibited nationally and internationally, most recently at the Siggraph 2008 and 2009 Design and Computation Galleries and at Ars Electronica in  Linz, Austria. Students praise Ms. Sabin’s ability to inspire and motivate through encouragement and praise. Her passion for experimental techniques in digital design is contagious. While students spoke of the nurturing environment she creates, they also praised her willingness to push them to make decisive design decisions and to move their projects forward. Ms. Sabin received her M.Arch degree from Penn and holds bachelors degrees in ceramics and interdisciplinary visual art from the University of Washington.





The Award for Distinguished Teaching in the Undergraduate Programs in the School of Design is awarded to Dr. David Leatherbarrow, professor of architecture and chair of the graduate group in architecture. Dr. Leatherbarrow teaches all levels of architecture students—from undergraduate to the PhD level. A prolific author on the history and theory of architecture and the city, his 25-year record of scholarship, teaching, and service to his department and the school has been exceptional. Dr. Leatherbarrow was the first recipient of the G. Holmes Perkins Award for teaching in 1993, and the School is now pleased to recognize him for his contributions to the undergraduate experience at Penn. In addition to architecture studio and history/theory courses, Dr. Leatherbarrow teaches elective courses, including the Poetics of Architecture and Cultural Ecology: Uncovering the Roots of Green Building in the Early Modern Movement.  His students have commented on the passion he has for the subjects he teaches. One student noted that Dr. Leatherbarrow has helped him to “reevaluate and reconsider the mangled language of trends in contemporary architecture. Dr. Leatherbarrow succeeded to the point that I can now articulate what I had been thinking for the last two years.”  Dr. Leatherbarrow holds a PhD in art from the University of Essex and a B.Arch from the University of Kentucky.

These awards are named in honor of G. Holmes Perkins, dean of the Graduate School of Fine Arts (now the School of Design) from 1951-71, and are given in recognition of distinguished teaching and innovation in the methods of instruction in the classroom, seminar, or studio. Dean Perkins passed away in 2004 at the age of 99. The Perkins Award was established in 1993 by former Dean and Paley Professor Patricia Conway. The undergraduate award was established by the School. The awards were presented on May 16.



Almanac - May 25, 2010, Volume 56, No. 34