Marketing & Communications: SAIC Names Craig Barton As Provost And Senior Vice President Of Academic Affairs

CHICAGO—The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), a global leader in art and design education, announced the appointment of Craig Barton as the School’s provost and senior vice president of academic affairs. Concurrent with this appointment, Barton joins the faculty of the Department of Architecture, Interior Architecture, and Designed Objects as a professor. Barton comes to SAIC from Arizona State University where he is a professor of architecture and urban design and the director of The Design School at the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts.

Barton will take over as the School’s chief academic officer, replacing Elissa Tenny, who has been named the School’s first woman president beginning July 1. In this role, Barton will advance the School’s educational mission of interdisciplinary exploration and studies. Barton is a trained architect and designer who through his practice, investigates issues of race, memory and identity and their interpretation through architectural and urban design. Much of his work focuses on assisting African-American communities preserve and interpret their significant cultural resources and to utilize them to stimulate community development.

Barton is the editor of the anthology Sites of Memory: Perspectives on Architecture and Race and has contributed to a range of publications, including the City of Memory, Row: Trajectories through the Shotgun House, Reflections on Teaching and Writing Urbanism: A Design Reader. His work has been featured in numerous exhibitions, including an installation at Project Row Houses in Houston and the traveling group show The Dresser Trunk Project.

“The School of the Art Institute of Chicago has a 150-year legacy of exploration, experimentation and innovation, and Craig Barton has a deep commitment to interdisciplinarity and community engagement that embodies SAIC’s core values,” said Elissa Tenny, president-designate and current provost and senior vice president of academic affairs. “As an educator and designer, Craig will help to ensure our academic initiatives advance our history and values.”

Before joining Arizona State University, Barton held a number of faculty and administrative positions over a 17-year tenure at the University of Virginia. Barton also has held leadership positions in national academic organizations including the National Architecture Accrediting Board (NAAB) and the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA). Barton and his partner Marthe Rowen are founding principals of of the design firm RB Studio. The practice has developed a number of cultural preservation, adaptive re-use and urban design projects in the south and northeast.

“I am truly excited to join the community at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and it is an honor to become a part of a pre-eminent school of art and design, distinguished by the breadth of its creative inquiry, its commitment to innovation and its long history of educating artists, designers and scholars whose work illuminates and transforms our cultural landscape,” said Craig Barton, SAIC’s incoming provost and senior vice president of academic affairs. “I believe that the SAIC is uniquely positioned to demonstrate how arts institutions can engage the pressing social, economic, political and cultural challenges or our time, and I look forward to working with president-designate Elissa Tenny and the school’s talented faculty staff and students to continue to expand the school’s role and engagement with the city of Chicago and the world beyond.”

Barton holds undergraduate degrees from Brown University and the School of Visual Arts in New York, a Master of Architecture degree from the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia University, and in 1994 was Loeb Fellow at Harvard University's Graduate School of Design. Barton’s appointment is effective August 1, 2016.

About the School of the Art Institute of Chicago

For 150 years, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) has been a leader in educating the world’s most influential artists, designers and scholars. Located in downtown Chicago with a fine arts graduate program consistently ranking among the top three graduate fine arts programs in the nation by U.S. News and World Report, SAIC provides an interdisciplinary approach to art and design as well as world-class resources, including the Art Institute of Chicago museum, on-campus galleries and state-of-the-art facilities. SAIC’s undergraduate, graduate and post-baccalaureate students have the freedom to take risks and create the bold ideas that transform Chicago and the world—as seen through notable alumni and faculty such as Michelle Grabner, David Sedaris, Elizabeth Murray, Richard Hunt, Georgia O’Keeffe, Cynthia Rowley, Nick Cave, and LeRoy Neiman. For more information, please visit

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