2017 College of Design Award Winners

College of Design Awardees


Outstanding Research and Scholarship Award: 

Nancey Green Leigh

Associate Dean for Research, College of Design
Professor, School of City & Regional Planning


This award recognizes outstanding achievements in the initiation, execution, and completion of research projects and contracts within the College of Design.  This award is given to research faculty within the College who have established an exemplary record of research development over the previous academic year.  Criteria include numbers of contracts, amount of externally funded support, and contributions to the research aims of the College.

As Associate Dean for Research, Nancey is focused on strengthening the research impact of the College of Design. She has just completed an exceptionally productive year built on a long career of research excellence. This year she became PI on two new projects, published three refereed journal articles in top-tier urban studies journals, and each co-authored with current or former students.  The revised edition of her top-in-field textbook on Economic Development Planning was released by Sage Publications, and she signed a contract with Routledge to prepare a major book on planning education co-edited with three colleagues. She also made three presentations to national or international conferences of learned societies or professional associations, as well as three other invited extramural presentations. This work employed seven graduate students.  2016 was also the conclusion of five years’ work as co-editor of the Journal of Planning Education and Research. During the journal’s tenure at Georgia Tech, the journal earned a noticeable increase in stature, including substantial increases in submissions and impact factor.



Outstanding Faculty Award:

Alex Karner

Assistant Professor, School of City & Regional Planning


This award recognizes outstanding achievement in teaching, scholarship, creative activity, and service by a tenured or tenure-track faculty member of the College of Design.  The award is given to a faculty member who has made significant contributions to the College in one or more areas of teaching, research, scholarship, creative activity or service.  Such contributions should have brought recognition to the faculty member and to the School or College and should show promise of a career of excellence.

Alex is a second year tenure-track faculty member, has excelled in teaching and research, is a valued participant in governance, and is engaged in national service beyond his rank.  He has a record of 16 refereed journal articles, five of which have been published since his arrival at Tech 19 months ago.  He serves as PI on two external and one internal grants, as well as co-PI on six contracts and grants.  Since coming to Tech, he has made 18 presentations to national or international conferences. He has become a significant teacher in the MCRP and MS/GIST programs.  He is supervising five master’s thesis/capstone projects.  One of his advisees was chosen as a Presidential Management Fellow – the first such selection in SCaRP in more than ten years.  He has served on two School and one College committees and was a member of a faculty search committee in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering.  

"It’s truly an honor to be selected as the winner of this year’s College of Design Outstanding Faculty Award," says Karner. "In my two years at Georgia Tech, I’ve drawn great inspiration and support from an amazing set of colleagues, students, and staff who challenge me every day to do my best work. The College of Design in particular has created an environment in which creativity and societal impact are highly valued. It is because of these people and this place that I have been able to succeed."



Outstanding Staff Award:

Norma Denuex

​Director of HR & Administration and Executive Assistant to the Dean, College of Design


This award recognizes the importance of the sustained and outstanding support of students, faculty, and administration by staff members within the College of Design.  The award is given to members of the administrative staff of the College who have contributed in an exemplary manner over a period of years to the missions of their programs, centers, or of the College in general and to the needs of administrators, faculty, researchers, students, and the general public.

Norma has worked with administration and finance in the College since 1992.  She is instrumental in managing the workload of the dean and meeting the needs of the students and faculty of the College and the expectations of the Institute administration.  As Director of Human Resources, Norma is an expert on Institute hiring, compensation, leave and immigration policies.  She is often called upon to mediate difficult situations.  She has been outstanding in these roles, and the College of Design is widely recognized as one of the best run units on campus because of her.