Newswise — MILWAUKEE _ Faculty in the School of Architecture & Urban Planning at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee have elected Mo Zell to serve as chair of the school’s internationally recognized department of architecture. 

Zell, the school’s associate dean, becomes the first woman to chair the department, effective Aug. 1, 2018. 

“In this new role, I hope to serve as an advocate for faculty and students and strengthen existing collaborative relationships with institutional and community partners,” Zell said. “Growth also is key – forging new partnerships locally and internationally will enhance the professional experience we offer to our students and continue to establish the school’s brand. Expanding influence and enrollment are dual goals I’m excited to pursue with my design colleagues.”

As associate dean of the school, which is a UW System Center of Excellence and the only accredited architecture program in Wisconsin, Zell has:

  • Expanded connections between the architecture school and the profession, including organizing the school’s externship program, which has grown from 21 students placed in 13 local firms to 88 students at 61 local, national and international firms
  • Founded the school’s Mobile Design Box pop-up gallery to revitalize neighborhoods in Milwaukee by showcasing their unique stories and design culture
  • Strengthened the pipeline for women to enter and remain in the profession as a leader of the professional organization Women in Design Milwaukee
  • Established interdisciplinary partnerships across UWM schools and colleges, including the UWM Community Creations program that has just received a $30,000 National Endowment for the Arts grant to fund a year of joint programming in the arts and architecture with campus and community partners. 

“Mo is an outstanding colleague with drive, initiative and determination,” said Bob Greenstreet, the school’s dean. “She will make an excellent chair of the Department of Architecture."


Zell received a Bachelor of Science in architecture from the University of Virginia and Master of Architecture from Yale University. She currently teaches foundation-level design studios as well as a design/build studio in partnership with the Chipstone Foundation that focuses on the contemporary exhibition of cultural artifacts.

Research & scholarship

Zell’s current research is positioned at the confluence of architecture and installation with an emphasis on tactical urbanism as a way to impact social change, and she has been awarded nearly $250,000 in funding to support her research projects.Her book, “The Architectural Drawing Course,” was revised and republished in February 2018 after the first edition sold more than 65,000 copies internationally. Articles written by her and about her work and activities have appeared in the Journal of Architectural Education, Architectural Record, Architect’s Newspaper, Dezeen and the Washington Post. 


Zell and bauenstudio partner Marc Roehrle designed the Veterans Memorial at Northeastern University and were semifinalists in several nationally competitive design competitions. Bauenstudio has garnered additional awards from the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture, Boston Society of Landscape Architects, Boston Society of Architects and the Chicago Architecture Foundation’s Burnham Prize. 


About the School of Architecture & Urban Planning

UW-Milwaukee’s School of Architecture & Urban Planning (SARUP) is a vibrant community busy exploring opportunities for making, planning and building. Approximately 600 students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels engage in real-world problem solving while also inventing approaches for projects yet to be imagined. Whether you are creating the future or working to change the world today, SARUP provides the space and faculty to support your agenda.

About UWM

Recognized as one of the nation’s 115 top research universities, UW-Milwaukee provides a world-class education to 25,000 students from 91 countries on a budget of $653 million. Its 14 schools and colleges include Wisconsin’s only schools of architecture, freshwater sciences and public health, and it is a leading educator of nurses and teachers. UW-Milwaukee partners with leading companies to conduct joint research, offer student internships and serve as an economic engine for southeastern Wisconsin. The Princeton Review named UW-Milwaukee a 2018 “Best Midwestern” university based on overall academic excellence and student reviews, and the Sierra Club has recognized it as Wisconsin’s leading sustainable university.


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