Dean’s Agenda: ENV499, a midnight tour, dessert

There are no lulls in a college dean’s calendar. Dean Michael Woo’s itinerary regularly devotes time to student life. Below are the highlights of his activities this quarter:

Class Ties. Dean Woo teaches ENV499, a special topics course for upper-division students. The interdisciplinary Redesigning Los Angeles covers topics such as housing, transportation and public open space. It’s a subject aligned with his planning background and his previous life as a Los Angeles City Councilman.

“Every now and then I get a passion to teach a certain subject,” he said. “Teaching is not a part of my job, so this really happens when I think of an idea.”

This marks the third time Dean Woo has taken on a class. In 2012, he taught a design course inspired by the late Apple co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs focused on the cultural, technological and pan-industry impact of his design work. A partnership with ENV donor Randall Lewis became the impetus of a Winter 2015 course, Sustainability in the City of Claremont.

All-Night Field Trip. In October Dean Woo hosted Noir LA, a sold-out evening-to-dawn bus tour of downtown Los Angeles. Attended by ENV students and alumni, and member of the Cal Poly Pomona community, the trip sought to expose the essential aspects of city life invisible to most people. Among the stops visited by twilight trekkers included the emergency room at Los Angeles County-USC Center; Spring Street galleries participating in the popular Downtown Art Walk; wholesale produce markets; the Central Division of the Los Angeles Police Department; and special access to the underground construction site for the Regional Connector linking the Metro Blue and Expo lines to Union Station and the Gold Line.

Their Just Desserts. Dessert with the Dean is an informal social hour that travels every quarter to a different ENV location. Since its 2015 launch, the Dean and his staff have staged the event at Building 7, the ENV Courtyard, the Art Department, and most recently the Interim Design Center. Students have used the occasion as opportunities to meet, chat and present ideas and concerns on a one-on-one basis with Dean Woo.