The Cooper Union Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture announced yesterday that the administration will retain Hayley Eber as acting dean for the next two years. Eber first assumed the position of acting dean in 2022 after working as associate dean starting in 2019.
A community message also stated that The Cooper Union has hired the award-winning architect, urbanist, and theorist Mokena Makeka “in a new role for Cooper as Special Advisor to the Vice President of Academic Affairs.” Makeka first joined Cooper as an adjunct professor in 2019 after holding a long list of notable academic and institutional positions and working as Principal for Dalberg Advisors, an international firm with offices throughout Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and North and South America.
The announcement comes after a two-year-long Architecture Faculty Dean Search Committee. Makeka was one of the four finalists who met with students, staff, and other faculty during the selection process. “Following the campus visits and presentations, invaluable survey feedback was garnered from community members. This feedback revealed that each candidate resonated with different facets of the community, with no single contender emerging as the community’s predominant choice for the role,” the community message continued.
“I am both humbled and thrilled to continue my stewardship as the acting dean of the School of Architecture into this next chapter, as well as for the opportunity to collaborate with Mokena Makeka in his new role as the Special Advisor to the VPAA,” Eber told AN. “He serves as an exceptional thought partner, contributing expertise in critical areas such as sustainable and climate-smart design, infrastructure, and urban planning. Together, along with our esteemed faculty and incredible students, we have a significant amount of pressing work ahead, aimed at addressing issues across all scales and for all inhabitants of both natural and built environments. I am excited to drive these efforts forward.”
While acknowledging the strong work Eber has contributed over the past year as Acting Dean as well as her past tenure as associate dean and professor, The Cooper Union noted in the community message Makeka will bring “Cooper a wealth of global experience and a commitment to social transformation, particularly within urban environments focused on spatial and ecological justice. His expertise spans diverse domains, encompassing infrastructure, urban development, climate-smart design, land use planning, rural development, communications, and transportation,” the community message said. Makeka’s work centers on geo-political economies and post-colonialism in Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, the Americas, and Europe.
In this announcement, The Cooper Union also confirmed its commitment to restoring full-tuition scholarships by 2029 among other priorities related to advancing social and ecological justice.
Eber’s appointment goes into effect immediately while Makeka’s role starts on October 1, 2023. In two years the school will reevaluate these appointments.