Kent Kleinman Named Provost at Rhode Island School of Design

man in a black turtleneck standing in front of a glass wall and concrete staircase

Kent Kleinman in the just-completed Milstein Hall in 2011. William Staffeld / AAP

News
December 20, 2018

Kent Kleinman, professor of architecture and the Gale and Ira Drukier Dean of Architecture, Art, and Planning from 2008 to 2018, has been appointed provost of the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) following an international search. His appointment is effective March 1, 2019.

Kleinman served two terms as dean of AAP and most recently has served as chair of the Arts at Cornell Steering Committee. During his tenure as dean, he oversaw the renovation and expansion of AAP facilities and programs in Ithaca, New York City, and Rome. He also was lead dean of the Cornell Council for the Arts and codean of the Baker Program in Real Estate. He is on academic leave for 2018–19 after stepping down June 30 of this year, and has been overseeing the renovation of Rand Hall to house the AAP Fabrication Shops and the new Mui Ho Fine Arts Library (FAL), scheduled to open in summer 2019.

"On behalf of the Cornell community, I offer Kent sincere congratulations and appreciation for his work as a visionary and steadfast leader for AAP," Provost Michael Kotlikoff said. "He has been a tremendous asset to the university throughout his tenure, in his unwavering dedication to arts and design education, commitment to design excellence, and contributions to key architectural and university-wide committees. He will make a wonderful provost at RISD, and we wish him all the best."

Kieran Donaghy (M.S. RS '84, Ph.D. RS '87), professor of city and regional planning, has been serving as interim dean of AAP; the appointment of J. Meejin Yoon (B.Arch. '95) as the next Gale and Ira Drukier Dean was announced in July. She begins her term January 1.

Kleinman said he would continue to consult on the FAL project until Yoon is installed as dean, and will "be available as needed until I leave Cornell at the end of February."

"I owe Cornell an enormous debt of gratitude," he said. "For a decade, I was privileged to work with many of the university's most dedicated, talented, and passionate faculty, students, staff, and fellow administrators on an amazing array of projects and programs. I have received infinitely more than I have given, and I know that the college will continue to be a benchmark for excellence in art and design under Dean Meejin Yoon's leadership."

Kleinman's scholarly focus is 20th-century European modernism. He coedited and contributed a chapter to After Taste: Expanded Practice in Interior Design (Princeton Architectural Press, 2011); his books also include Mies van der Rohe: The Krefeld Villas (Princeton Architectural Press, 2005); Rudolf Arnheim: Revealing Vision (University of Michigan Press, 1997); Villa Müller: A Work of Adolf Loos (Princeton Architectural Press, 1994); and a translation of Jan Turnovsky's The Poetics of a Wall Projection (AA Publications, 2009).

He was recognized among the "Top 25 Most Admired Educators" by Design Intelligence in 2016 and 2018. His honors also include the 2011 Educator Award from the American Institute of Architects New York Chapter, the Mellon Foundation's Senior Public Goods Fellowship in 2002, and numerous awards and grants, including the national Bruner Prize and two Architect's Journal 10 Best Books awards.

Before coming to Cornell, Kleinman was a professor and dean at the School of Constructed Environments at Parsons School of Design at the New School in New York City.

"Kent brings broad teaching and administrative experience coupled with a vision for how RISD can propel art and design education into new realms of leadership, impact, and inclusivity," RISD President Rosanne Somerson said. "Throughout the search process . . . Kent's distinguished experience was evident in his questions and observations, through which he demonstrated instincts that were both faculty- and student-focused."

By Dan Aloi, Cornell Chronicle