AUSTIN, Texas — The University of Texas at Austin has appointed Heather Woofter as dean of the School of Architecture. Woofter currently serves as director of the College of Architecture and the Graduate School of Architecture & Urban Design at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. Her appointment will begin Aug. 15. She succeeds Michelle Addington, who will step down after six successful years as the school’s dean.
As the Sam and Marilyn Fox Professor in the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts at Washington University, Woofter is a nationally recognized leader with a history of success and impact — both in industry and academia. Her practice converges in the media, arts and cultural fields, exploring the relationship between research, writing, exhibition and collaboration. She is a passionate educator who teaches the Practices course for first-year students, as well as advanced design studios at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. She holds a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Virginia Tech and a Master of Architecture degree from Harvard University.
“Architecture, planning and the disciplines of the built environment have significant impact on our society,” said Jay Hartzell, UT Austin president. “Their interdependencies with business, engineering, the arts, policy, and beyond speak to the opportunities for the School of Architecture to work across the University to improve urban life and the human condition. Heather’s impressive contributions in academia and architectural practice strongly align with our pursuit of building partnerships and preparing our students to positively impact the world around us. Her accomplishments speak to our continued commitment to attract the greatest talent nationally and from around the world.”
Prior to her tenure at Washington University, she was an assistant professor at Virginia Tech. She has also held visiting professor appointments at Konkuk University in South Korea and Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece.
As a registered architect, Woofter has been an adviser to several major community projects, including the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra and the Brickline green infrastructure projects in the St. Louis region. She is the owner and co-design principal of the design firm Axi:Ome, known internationally for its award-winning designs in architecture, master planning and industrial design. Architectural projects in St. Louis include a university public radio station; Art Walk, an urban corridor project supported by a National Endowment for the Arts grant; and the Center of Creative Arts addition to an Eric Mendelsohn building.
In addition, she received recognition for her work with architects and firms such as Bohlin Cywinski Jackson in Pennsylvania, Marks Barfield in London and Robert Luchetti Associates in Massachusetts.
“It is an honor to join the UT Austin community and the distinguished faculty, students and staff in the School of Architecture,” Woofter said. “I look forward to future collaborations across campus and advancing our community vision in research and the design practices. UT Austin is unique because of its breadth of exceptional allied disciplines within the School of Architecture, expanding the cultural discourse while tackling pressing issues of the contemporary world.”
Known for her interdisciplinary view and practice, Woofter has worked with historians and artists, and guest-curated at the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum. She also co-authored an interdisciplinary grant from the International Center for Energy, Environment and Sustainability titled “Resilient Cities” that supports faculty research projects in St. Louis.
“Heather is a successful, strategic and collaborative leader who brings a wealth of experience — in both academia and architecture practice — to our campus and community,” said Sharon L. Wood, executive vice president and provost. “Beyond her role as an academic leader, Heather’s contributions to the city of St. Louis have been highly impactful, and I look forward to working with her as she strengthens partnerships in Austin and advances the School of Architecture’s position among the nation’s very best.”
Woofter will succeed Addington, who has served as dean since 2017. Addington, who has been a passionate leader for the school, has increased its impact with the City of Austin through significant collaborations around transportation, housing and gentrification. She also increased the school’s capacity for teaching and global collaboration, creating 29 new permanent endowments and over $17 million in grants and sponsored research during her tenure.