Yang Zhang, associate professor in the School of Public and International Affairs, has been appointed associate dean for research in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies

CAUS faculty engage in multiple types of scholarly pursuits, including research, scholarship, and creative practice. Scholarly excellence among CAUS faculty includes traditional peer-reviewed publications as well as design-based digital publications and entrepreneurial activities.

The college strongly supports faculty collaboration and interdisciplinary research projects. “This is an energizing time for celebrating and promoting CAUS research and creative practice. Research expenditure on interdisciplinary projects from U.S. funding agencies has been on a steady rise in recent years, greatly increasing the potential for CAUS’s intellectual and scholarly diversity,” said Zhang.

Interdisciplinary collaboration has been central to Zhang’s work. He is a founding member of the Interdisciplinary Graduate Education Program in Disaster Resilience and a member of the team working on a National Science Foundation-funded interdisciplinary grant in Disaster Resilience and Risk Management

“This kind of interdisciplinary, collaborative work has shaped my understanding of administrative leadership,” said Zhang. Noting the long tradition of intellectual and scholarly diversity at CAUS, Zhang said that “it is important for research administrators like myself to lead with humility and lean on collective deliberation for ideas. The Beyond Boundaries vision provides inspiration as the college continues to cultivate its research, scholarship, and practice.”

“We are very pleased that Yang has accepted this role at CAUS,” said Rosemary Blieszner, Interim Dean for the college. “His proactive approach and ability to recognize interdisciplinary funding opportunities will support the goals of faculty researchers and interdisciplinary teams across the college.”

Zhang noted that CAUS is well-positioned to become a leader in providing more research opportunities for both undergraduate and graduate students. 

“A high-quality higher education experience connects students to the broad continuum of faculty scholarship, where they are not passive recipients but active participants in scholarly discovery, application of knowledge, and community service. We can help achieve that ideal by leveraging the experiential learning tradition across the college and engaging students in projects available through community partnerships.”

Zhang’s research interests are in the areas of natural hazards, floods, hazards mitigation, and disaster recovery. He has served on National Science Foundation and Department of Homeland Security proposal review panels, and he has managed grants and contracts from federal and state funding agencies and private foundations. 

Zhang succeeds Robert Shubert, a member of the Virginia Tech community since 1976, who retired in 2020.

-Written by Barbara Micale