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Planning Faculty Member Named to UC’s Academy of Fellows for Teaching and Learning

Michael Romanos, professor of planning, was recently named as the first faculty member from DAAP to UC’s Academy of Fellows for Teaching and Learning.

Date: 9/4/2011
By: M.B. Reilly
Phone: (513) 556-1824
Photos By: Provided by Michael Romanos

The classroom that Michael Romanos uses to teach his students spans the globe, consisting of cities and regions in Europe, Asia and South America as well as neighborhood and cities much closer to home – like Wilmington, Ohio, or the Cincinnati neighborhood of St. Bernard.

Every year, year after year, Romanos, professor of planning at the University of Cincinnati, and his students take on real-world urban challenges while working in locales like Recife, Brazil; Santorini, Greece; Hersonissos, Crete; Bangkok, Thailand; Haskovo, Bulgaria; Jakarta, Indonesia; and LaGrange, Kentucky, and what’s more – the concrete proposals developed have led to real change in these areas.
Michael Romanos in Crete
Michael Romanos during teaching/research field work in Crete.

For instance, Recife, Brazil, is preparing to host soccer’s World Cup thanks to help from UC students and faculty, and Hersonissos, Crete, implemented sustainable tourism suggestions developed over years by the UC group that returned there for several years running.

So successful are these real-world learning opportunities and projects that they have been featured by international media like ABC News, National Geographic Traveler and The Chronicle of Higher Education, just to name a few.

And for this teaching dedication and excellence, Romanos was recently named to UC’s Academy of Fellows for Teaching & Learning, which strives to place students at the center, grow research excellence in the scholarship of teaching and learning, achieve academic excellence, and forge key relationships that advance pedagogy.

Romanos, who has been teaching for nearly 40 years now, is the first faculty member from UC’s College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP) to be accepted as a member of the AFTL. But, he hopes not to be the last.

He said, “I am confident I will not be the last faculty member from DAAP to become a member. My colleagues at DAAP use great models of hands-on teaching, practical applications, and a sound mix of theory and implementation, and these are instructional approaches that can be applied to other fields to engage students succesfully. The service-focused professional education we provide within the college has applications elsewhere, and we all have expertise to share.”
This is not the first time Romanos has been recognized for his teaching at UC. In 2005, he won the university’s prestigious Mrs. A.B. “Dolly” Cohen Award for Excellence in Teaching. At that time, one-time student Curt Freese recalled what it was like to be Romanos’ student when doing summer field work abroad in Greece: “Professor Romanos taught at breakfast.  He taught in the car.  He taught while walking under the incessant pounding heat of the 100-degree sun.  He even taught at 1 a.m.”

And whether its field work or lecture, Romanos still prepares and re-prepares every class, every day, every quarter, every year.

And there’s a reason for that: “If ever I were cavalier about my lectures and seminars, the students would know it. They know a fake, and they’d stay away. As a teacher, you’re chosen.  Students choose us, and that’s a trust.”