The City College of New York (CCNY) announced on June 30, that Marta Gutman has been appointed Dean of the Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture. Although Gutman’s appointment comes after a nationwide search, the college did, as it turns out, did not need to look far for the best fit after all, as Gutman has been serving as interim dean since August 2021. Alex Couzis, who had been serving as interim dean of the Grove School of Engineering since July 2020 was also promoted from acting to full-time dean.
As both a licensed architect and a prolific author of books on architecture and urban history, Gutman has served in multiple academic and teaching positions since 1983 and has published numerous award-winning articles.
Gutman first joined CCNY in 2004 as an associate professor and has taught architecture and urban history at both the Spitzer School of Architecture and the City University of New York Graduate Center. Prior to her time at the Spitzer School of Architecture, Gutman also served as Assistant Professor of Architecture at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation (GSAPP) and Associate Chair of Environmental Design at Parsons School of Design.
In 2021, Gutman was awarded the Catherine W. Bishir Prize, which recognizes a scholarly article that has made the “most significant contribution to the study of vernacular architecture and cultural landscapes,” for her essay “Intermediate School 201: Race, Space, and Modern Architecture in Harlem.” Gutman is also one of the founding editors of PLATFORM, which publishes short and timely essays on the built environment in an effort to promote the exchange of ideas and research in architecture.
Gutman is the first full-time dean since Ghanian-Scottish architect Lesley Lokko resigned in 2020 and departed from the school at the end of January 2021. Upon her departure Lokko stated: “I was not able to build enough support to be able to deliver on either my promise of change, or my vision of it. The reasons why are more complex.” In addition to the circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic and the inflexibility of U.S. academic structures (Lokko was educated at the Bartlett School of Architecture in London), Lokko also cited: “The lack of respect and empathy for Black people, especially Black women, caught me off guard, although it’s by no means unique to Spitzer. I suppose I’d say in the end that my resignation was a profound act of self-preservation.”
In its announcement appointing Gutman as the new dean, the Spitzer School of Architecture noted that “Gutman is dedicated to CCNY’s mission, serving on numerous committees and in the Spitzer School, where most recently she chaired the School’s committee on Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.” The Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) Committee was launched in February 2021 and examines “what the diversity we’ve always celebrated actually means at our institution,” according to the school’s website.