Ellen Basset stands in front of white letters that spell 'DESIGN'.

Ellen Bassett

John Portman Chair and Dean

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Ellen M. Bassett is the John Portman Chair and Dean of the Georgia Tech College of Design.

An urban planner by training, she previously worked as Professor and Chair of the Department of Urban and Environmental Planning in the School of Architecture at the University of Virginia. She also served as the School's Associate Dean of Research and Director of the Real Estate + Design and Development program. She is the past Chair of the UVA Faculty Senate and served as the faculty representative on its Board of Visitors (AKA Regents.)

Her areas of research interest and expertise are land use planning and law, climate change/sustainability planning, health and the built environment, and international development, with a special focus on cities of the Global South. In addition to her teaching and research expertise and leadership roles in US institutions of higher education, she also has expertise and experience in international development planning and acts as a consultant to international development agencies working in Sub-Saharan Africa.


Educational Background

  • Ph.D., 2001. Urban and Regional Planning. Major Field: Land Use Policy and Planning; Minor Field: Environmental Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison.
  • M.A., 1992. History. Major Field: European History, University of Wisconsin-Madison.
  • M.S., 1989. Urban and Regional Planning. Concentration: Fiscal/Economic Development Planning, University of Wisconsin-Madison.
  • B.A. with Distinction, 1984. History and Political Science (Double Major), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.



  • Land use planning and environmental law
  • Climate change adaptation and mitigation planning
  • Land rights and urban deprivation in rapidly growing cities in the Global South