Modarres Named First Dean of School of Urban Studies

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Dr. Ali Modarres has been named the first dean of the UW Tacoma School of Urban Studies.

Dr. Ali Modarres, Professor and Dean, UW Tacoma School of Urban StudiesThe UW Board of Regents has confirmed Dr. Ali Modarres as the first dean of the School of Urban Studies at the University of Washington Tacoma. Dr. Modarres began his tenure as Professor and Director of Urban Studies in 2013. The program became a school last fall.

Before coming to UW Tacoma, Dr. Modarres served as Professor and Chair of Geosciences & Environment and Associate Director of the Edmund G. (“Pat”) Brown Institute of Public Affairs at California State University, Los Angeles (CSULA). Since 2017, Dr. Modarres has served on the editorial board and as a manuscript editor of Cities: The International Journal of Urban Policy and Planning. In addition, he is the founding editor of the Journal of Race, Ethnicity, and the City.

The School of Urban Studies provides a critical urban lens for understanding global challenges. Its degree programs help students to engage with urbanism from multiple perspectives with a focus on social justice and sustainability. Under Dr. Modarres’s guidance, the School has grown to include three undergraduate degrees, two graduate degrees, two minors, and a certificate program. His effectiveness in strategic planning and implementation are evident in the creation of the Urban Studies academic plan and the launch of the BS in Urban Design in 2018.

Dr. Modarres’s vision for the School of Urban Studies emphasizes intellectual excellence through a community of scholars, purposeful growth toward the goals of access and excellence, quality student-centered education, and boundless learning through community engagement.

He also serves as Assistant Chancellor for Community Partnerships and was instrumental in UW Tacoma earning Carnegie Community Engagement Classification this year, an elective designation that indicates institutional commitment to community engagement.

Written by: 
Brian Anderson / April 17, 2020
Media contact: 

John Burkhardt, UW Tacoma Communications, 253-692-4536 or