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Lu Liu

Dean, College of Architecture, Arts, and Design
Dean Liu headshot

If we challenge ourselves to be bolder and more imaginative, to push the boundaries and status quo, we might be surprised by what we could accomplish together.

Lu Liu brings his expertise from both the academic and corporate arenas as the new dean of the College of Architecture, Arts, and Design (AAD) at Virginia Tech. Liu (pronounced "Lee-yoo") began his leadership of AAD and its more than 1,700 students and 200 faculty and staff members on July 1, 2023. He will also serve as a professor of industrial design.

As Head of the Department of Graphic Design and Industrial Design at North Carolina State University from 2012-23, Liu fostered a culture of faculty and student research, established corporate-sponsored research and partnerships, and enhanced faculty and student diversity. New student internships, experiential learning, and professional career opportunities flourished at NC State under Liu's leadership.

Liu received the Southern Governors' Association's Innovator Award and has been recognized with several other awards for outstanding teaching and service. An active presenter and lecturer at many national and international conferences, Liu's scholarship and teaching interests include human-centered design, design thinking, inclusive design, new product development, and design education.

A human-centered innovator and entrepreneur, Liu spent the first 13 years of his career in private industry. He led and collaborated with interdisciplinary teams to create solutions in health care and telecommunications as well as the design, production, and marketing of semiconductors, toys, and electronic gaming systems.

Liu earned his Bachelor of Science from National Cheng Kung University in Taiwan and added an MBA from Georgia State University and a Master of Industrial Design from Auburn University. He began his career in academia in Auburn's School of Industrial and Graphic Design in 2004.

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Q&A with Dean Lu Liu

I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work and grow together with the outstanding community in the College of Architecture, Arts, and Design. The new structure of the college reflects the art, creative, and design industries evolving into an interdisciplinary teamwork paradigm. Our AAD community and our expansive spectrum of disciplines are uniquely positioned to excel and lead the future of architecture, arts, and design education, practices, research, and scholarship, and enhance the experience and quality of life for people and communities around the world.

As educators, we are very fortunate to have the chance to make a difference in our students' learning journeys every single day. The emails and messages shared by former students of their amazing accomplishments make my day and motivate me. In industry, it was rewarding to see how the products and services my teams created changed people's lives. As an educator, the student successes are much more profound and meaningful to me.

All our degree programs have established outstanding curricula to prepare our students to make the world a better place with their creative thinking, skills, and passion. Our graduates build sustainable and pleasant environments, create beautiful arts and performances, and introduce meaningful products, services, and systems.

Our areas of expertise, incorporated with other disciplines across campus in health care, engineering, sciences, humanities, and natural resources, create enormous opportunities to impact the future. If we investigate and explore these intersections, we could discover new approaches to addressing mental health challenges. This is just one of many possibilities where all our disciplines in AAD could significantly contribute to and lead ground-breaking initiatives to solve some of our world's most pressing problems. If we challenge ourselves to be bolder and more imaginative, to push the boundaries and status quo, we might be surprised by what we could accomplish together.

Our alumni are an integral part of our AAD community. They are our students' role models. They build bridges between the college and the professional and industrial communities. They provide critical resources to support our students and faculty when extraordinary opportunities or challenges are encountered. Our alumni's enthusiasm, experience, expertise, encouragement, time, and resources are essential in supporting our vision to become a global leader in architecture, arts, and design education and research.

Both of my parents are my inspiration in my journey as an educator. My father was a school principal, and my mother was an elementary school teacher; she taught everything from music to math. Their student-focused and community-centered philosophy deeply influenced and inspired me.

What delights me the most is a spontaneous walk to the studios when I have a moment and a casual chat with students at their desks. I really enjoy it when the students share their excitement, enthusiasm, progress, and even their frustration with me. I am often inspired by their projects and aspirations. These conversations refresh and reinvigorate my sense of purpose in serving students and helping make their dreams come true.

Master of Industrial Design, Auburn University

Master of Business Administration, Robinson College of Business, Georgia State University

Bachelor of Science in Industrial Design, National Cheng Kung University, Taiwan