Frederick “Fritz” Steiner made national headlines in late February with the announcement that he will leave the University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture (UTSOA) to become the dean of the University of Pennsylvania School of Design, effective July 1, succeeding Marilyn Jordan Taylor. Steiner cited a state law allowing students to carry guns in classrooms as one of the factors in his decision to leave UTSOA. (A recent item in Architect’s Newspaper’s “Eavesdrop” column claimed Steiner left over a disagreement with the university president over a new architecture building; but Steiner denies that, saying the small article was “full of inaccuracies.”)
During his tenure at UTSOA, beginning in 2001, Steiner inaugurated new< degree programs in both landscape architecture and interior design, and increased the school’s endowments by over 71 percent. Among other initiatives, Steiner expanded the school’s course offerings in Latin American architecture and urbanism. RECORD spoke to Steiner about his decision to leave, the challenges facing architecture education, and the need for a more diverse profession.