In CoAD (College of Architecture and Design), a voice has worked within its ranks for over 25 years and has made improvements to the image and perspective of that department that will last for many years to come.
Urs Gauchat is a name that many Architecture and Design students will recognize as an open force who was welcoming new flexible techniques that were made available in order to advance the students and the faculty. Gauchat sees every student as having an attitude or viewpoint that either has direction or is in need of finding one. He views the life of everyone, including his students, as an adventure with an end “out of reach” or “just beyond your fingertips” which makes that journey worth experiencing.
Gauchat has a legacy that started out by accident as a professor, but after many years of seeing generations come and go through a similar, yet advancing field, he will resign with the closing of this semester.
In discussion about the Dean of CoAD’s accomplishments that he achieved with his position every question always started out with an apology as he saw each answer as complicated. Gauchat, as he would put it, was made a professor by accident. He was put into his position as a recommendation where he would be teaching students around his age.
Over the years, from his early years in Boston to his later years in Newark, Gauchat believes in a pedagogy that takes generational leaps into account by being receptive to and conscious of new technological advances and research initiatives. The move to NJIT gave Gauchat the opportunity to open doors and change a four building department into one, bring advanced equipment into the curriculum, and influencing the attitude of an expanding faculty and student culture.
That was where Gauchat believed his success within CoAD as well as NJIT was found; he brought new variables into an equation that, over time, would yield similar yet advanced results for a changing world.
Discussing the major changes that NJIT went through during his multiple decades of services, a long list emerged exposing the variables within his equation of the student curriculum. With new minds entering into the student body, each with new mindsets crafted by the technological realm, Gauchat made the call for introducing new changes. These changes were that of larger facilities, a variety of new faculty in emerging fields, and new equipment (3-D printers requested by students) to help students figure out “where they can contribute to the world at large.”
Although not initially believing in the idea of giving advice, Gauchat had this piece of guidance to give to the current and future students: “Realize your strengths. Build on them, and make sure that you’re ‘expert’ enough so that you trust your own design judgements.”
With Gauchat retiring from his position, Prof. Tony Schuman will take his place as interim dean of CoAD for the spring semester. The CoAD community and the rest of NJIT will be wishing Dean Gauchat the best of luck with whatever endeavors he wishes to embark on next. Keep opening doors and reaching out towards the impossible.