Shannon Van Zandt, an accomplished administrator and an award-winning educator and researcher, is the new executive associate dean at the Texas A&M College of Architecture. Van Zandt succeeds Dawn Jourdan, who accepted the deanship position at the University of Maryland’s School of Architecture.
“I am excited to get started,” said Van Zandt. “Having recently celebrated the college’s first 50 years, we have a strong foundation for moving the college forward to address the ever-changing challenges and demands of our disciplines.”
Van Zandt, who joined Texas A&M as an assistant professor of urban planning in 2005, has held various leadership positions including program coordinator, center director, assistant department head, and most recently, head of the Department of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning.
A renowned researcher, Van Zandt has received grants from the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the National Institute for Standards & Technology, and many others.
She is a fellow or affiliate of several Texas A&M research centers and institutes, including the Center for Housing & Urban Development, Hazard Reduction & Recovery Center, Institute for Sustainable Coastal Communities, Center for Heritage Conservation, and Race and Ethnic Studies Institute, and Texas A&M University at Galveston’s Center for Texas Beaches & Shores.
Van Zandt has co-authored two books: Engaged Research for Community Resilience to Climate Change (2020) and Planning for Community Resilience: A Handbook for Reducing Vulnerability to Disasters (2014). She has also authored or co-authored numerous peer-reviewed journal articles.
She will help lead several major college initiatives, which include a fundraising campaign for a new building, a new website launch, and strengthening the college’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. She’ll also help lead degree program accreditation efforts, program growth initiatives and student, faculty and staff recruiting and retention initiatives.
“She is a valued colleague and an effective leader,” said Jorge Vanegas, dean of the College of Architecture. “I know that she will apply her considerable knowledge, skills and passion for transformative educational experiences into making a difference in the lives of students, their families and communities.”
Van Zandt graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Environmental Design degree in 1993 and a Master of Urban Planning degree in 1997 at Texas A&M, and a Ph.D. in 2004 at the Department of City & Regional Planning at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Outside the university, she serves on the boards of Texas Housers, a state-wide non-profit advocating for the housing needs of low-income Texans, the REACH Project, a local non-profit working to address the unmet needs of university contract workers, and the Theatre Company of Bryan-College Station, a community theatre bringing musicals to the Brazos Valley.