About the College – University of Kentucky College of Design
D Icon

About the College

At the intersection of who we were, who we are and where we’re going is a common denominator: a deliberate emphasis on design and place, urban to rural and local to global. This vision is realized in the many program offerings at the College: Architecture; Interiors; Product Design, Historic Preservation, Urban and Environmental Design; undergraduate, graduate, certificates and online programs; satellite studios; and a continued focus on Education Abroad opportunities.

learn more:

UK campus

Mark Cornelison | UKphoto

The Power of Place

38°84° is more than a logotype or mark. While it symbolizes this moment forward for the College of Design at the University of Kentucky, it is also a specific place. The beautiful feature of coordinates is that they make every point in space real. These representations point to tangible topography – elevation, texture, color and history. 38°N, 84°W is Lexington, which sits inside a diverse Kentucky landscape of limestone with water that cuts through it producing the industries of the Commonwealth – from ruralscape to urban space.

We forge a mark on the landscape, making meaning of the material found there. As the Norwegian author and architect Christian Norbert-Schulz explains, places change with time, but the spirit lives on. Design makes that happen; we leave an idea in our mark. In the College of Design, we propose a new vision about what it means to be in Kentucky and to study design within this landscape.

The College of Design Experience

In our college, we often talk about the power of place. It’s more than our tagline; it’s a way to think about the ways design can impact the world. But it’s also about building community and finding your role in it. Discover your passion and let the UK College of Design help you develop a perspective all your own.

As a design student, not only will you have the chance to hone your design skills, but you’ll have the opportunity to learn those skills from some of today’s most highly experienced and professionally acclaimed instructors. As a research-based institution, you get the benefit of our faculty’s insight into modern design issues and, therefore, the most progressive ideas to meet today’s challenges.

From day one, you are in the game – the studio is where it all happens. Whether you’re studying to be an architect, interior designer, urban planner, preservationist, or product designer, you will learn the fundamentals of design along with your peers in an environment that’s more like an experience than a classroom. You are doing, not just talking about it.

More than likely you are used to the standard “students at desks, teacher in the front” way of learning. And while that’s still a part of your education at the College of Design, it’s the studio where you will really find your voice as a designer.

students in studio

CoD Strategic Plan

This strategic plan for the UK College of Design sets the expectation that we will deliver on the expanding definition of design, collaborate with and educate our UK companion colleges and set a foundation that positions the College for growth in students, research, funding and reputation. 2016 was a year of prelude to this strategic plan, with a focus on a new college identity, complete budget overhaul, and strategic hires. Through this process we are now committed to expanding the foothold of the College of Design within the University of Kentucky campus and beyond.

See the plan

38°84 Issue 003: Special Edition

Published Spring 2021 | Request Printed Edition

Read with ISSUU

38°84 Issue 002

Published Spring 2019 | Request Printed Edition

Read with ISSUU

38°84 Issue 001

Published Fall 2016 | Request Printed Edition

Read with ISSUU

Want to contribute to 38°84?

Do you have a way with words as well as design? Are you forever ensconced in the endeavors taking place at the College of Design? Whether you would like to be a contributing writer or have news to share, we want to hear from you. Please contact ukcodinfo@uky.edu and share your ideas with us. Help us strengthen our ties with our alumni as well as our community by keeping us informed of the amazing work and achievements happening in your world.

38°84 is published for alumni, faculty, staff and friends of the College of Design at the University of Kentucky. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written consent of the College of Design at the University of Kentucky. Want to make sure your name is on the alumni list to receive future issues of 38°84? Send inquiries to ukcodinfo@uky.eduThe University of Kentucky is committed to a policy of providing opportunities to people regardless of economic or social status and will not discriminate on the basis of race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, creed, religion, political belief, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, age, veteran status, or physical or mental disability.


Contribute to 38°84

College History

The School of Architecture is the oldest program in the college, with its origins in the 1920s as an architectural option in the College of Engineering. Professor Charles P. Graves joined the Civil Engineering faculty in 1958, charged with converting the architectural option to a professional degree program. The curriculum changed from a mathematical and applied science concentration to courses in the arts, science, humanities, architectural design and history.

The School of Architecture was established in 1965 with Professor Graves as Dean. That year, the program also received its first accreditation from the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). The School became a college in 1967.

In 1971, Professor Graves resigned, and Professor Anthony Eardley became the second Dean in 1972. Prior to coming to UK, Dean Eardley served as a professor at the Architectural Association, London, England; Princeton; and The Cooper Union. In 1986, Professor Jose’ R. Oubrerie became the third Dean. Dean Oubrerie previously worked as an associate of Le Corbusier and as a professor at Columbia University. David B. Mohney became the fourth Dean in 1994. He had served as Associate Director of Education, IAUS, as a visiting critic at Harvard University.

In the early 1970s, Richard Rankin – the most noted interior design educator in the United States – was hired by the Dean of Home Economics to establish a professional degree in interior design. UK’s professional program was put in place in 1975, with the first graduating class in 1979. The program was then able to go for accreditation, which was awarded in the spring of 1981 by the Foundation of Interior Design Education and Research (now the Council of Interior Design Accreditation or CIDA).


In 1994, under Dean David Mohney’s leadership, the program for historic preservation was established in the School of Architecture, and the Master of Historic Preservation degree was first offered in 1996.

In 2002, the School of Architecture merged with the School of Interiors and the Historic Preservation Program to become the College of Design.

In Fall 2015, Mitzi R. Vernon became the Dean of the College of Design.

The Spring 2020 semester saw the first cohort of students in the new Master of Science in Urban & Environmental Design (MUED) program. This one-year degree introduces students to the complexity of urban and rural environments — from the varying spectrum of stakeholders to the bounds of existing infrastructures — and promotes an interdisciplinary approach to designing sustainable communities.

In Fall 2020, the College of Design launched the Product Design program, developed under the leadership of Dean Mitzi Vernon. The only undergraduate degree of its kind in the Commonwealth, Product Design is a four-year program where students will obtain a Bachelor of Science degree and can specialize in courses from contemporary technology, healthcare, professional development to furniture design and more.

In Spring 2022, the College announced plans for the renovation and revitalization of the Reynolds Building — a former tobacco warehouse — into a vibrant new space for the College of Design, thanks in large part to a transformative gift of $5.25 million from Gray, Inc. Construction on the Gray Design Building began in August 2022.

In Fall 2022, Ned Crankshaw became the Acting Dean of the College of Design.

College Rules

View College Rules

Faculty + Staff Resources

Log In to Access


View Committees