Since 2011, Dr. Vini Nathan serves Auburn University as Dean and McWhorter Chair in the College of Architecture, Design and Construction (CADC). Dr. Nathan is a Senior Fellow of the Design Futures Council (DFC). Jonas Salk, founder of the Salk Institute, and James P. Cramer, former CEO of the American Institute of Architects established the DFC to bring together leaders in design, architecture, construction and engineering for the purpose of identifying, exploring and advancing global trends, changes and opportunities in these and other design-related disciplines.
Dr. Nathan is a member of the Board of Trustees at Saint Leo University in Florida. She is the current President of the US based Architecture+ Construction Alliance. For her nationally recognized service, dedication, and leadership in design education, Dr. Nathan was honored in 2014 with the silver medal of the Tau Sigma Delta. She is one of two individuals with no formal affiliation to Purdue (as an alum or employee) to serve on the Deans’ Executive Advisory Board for the College of Technology (now Purdue Polytechnic Institute) at Purdue University. In October 2018, Dr. Nathan was appointed by Alabama Governor Kay Ivey to serve on the Advisory Bord of the Alabama Trails Commission, for a four year term concluding in 2022.
At Auburn, Dr. Nathan leads a team of some 80+ full time faculty, 40+ staff, and ~1700 students (undergraduate and graduate). She oversees an RCM influenced budget system with college annual revenues of ~$35M and college endowment of ~$25M. She continues to assert a significant role in elevating the academic reputation and visibility of the programs in the CADC, with one outcome being improved/higher and increased/more national and international rankings. She led the development of a custom graduate program for the US Army Corp of Engineers, a MS in Public Interest Design, a Bachelor’s degree program in Landscape Architecture, and a Ph.D. program in Building Construction. As an actively engaged Auburn University leader, Dr. Nathan chaired the Search for the Provost, is the senior ranking dean on the Auburn Budget Advisory Committee, and a board member of the Auburn Research and Technology Foundation.
Dr. Nathan served as an Off-Site Reviewer for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission of Colleges (SACS-COC) specifically for the University of Texas-Austin, University of Houston, Florida A&M University, Emory University, University of Florida, and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro; and as an On-Site Reviewer for the University of Texas-El Paso.
At the programmatic level, Dr. Nathan has chaired or co-chaired accreditation reviews for the Council of Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA) of programs at the University of Georgia, the University of Oregon, the University of Cincinnati, Weber State University, University of
Louisville, Ohio University, the University of Missouri, Indiana State University, Washington State University, Miami University, and the Institute for Art and Design Technology-Detroit. She also chaired or served on the Landscape Architecture Accreditation Board (LAAB) reviews of programs at the University of Texas-Austin, the University of California-Berkeley, Mississippi State University, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, North Carolina State A&T University, West Virginia University, and Chatham University. As a member of the American Council of Construction Education (ACCE) she participated in the accreditation reviews of Construction Management programs at Colorado State University, Arizona State University, and Purdue University. Dr. Nathan was one of two external reviewers of the Doctor of Design program at Louisiana State University.
Prior to her current appointment at Auburn University, Dr. Nathan served as the Dean of and Professor in the School of Architecture at Jefferson University (formerly, Philadelphia University). There, Dr. Nathan led the development and implementation of two new graduate programs, in Construction Management and in Interior Architecture. As a curriculum consultant for Effat University in Saudi Arabia, she developed a three-track design program focusing on Environmental Design, Interior Design and Product Design. Similarly, Dr. Nathan developed and reviewed two programs, BFA: Interior Design and a BS: Design Management, for Berkeley College in New Jersey.
Dr. Nathan served on the three person US accreditation team invited by the Ministry of Higher Education (MoHE) in Saudi Arabia to review the first architecture program for female students in the country (at Effat University), using NCAAA standards. More recently, in 2020, she served on the NCAAA accreditation review of the Interior Design Engineering program at Prince Sultan University; and she chaired the NCAAA accreditation reviews of the Interior Design programs at Imam Abdulrahman bin Faisal University, Jubail University, Jazan University, and King Adbdulaziz University.
Dr. Nathan has held teaching positions at Virginia Tech, the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, New York Institute of Technology, and Jefferson/Philadelphia University. She has taught graduate and undergraduate courses in design studio, materials and methods, and design entrepreneurship and leadership. Her research interests include the relationships between chaos theory, design thinking and complex decision making.
Dr. Nathan earned a Ph.D. in Architecture from the University of Michigan (1994), a master’s degree in Interior Design from Virginia Tech (1990), and a bachelor’s degree in Architecture from Anna University (1988). She has completed focused professional development certificates through the Harvard Kennedy School and the Harvard School of Education.
As an architect working for Walker Group/CNI in New York, Dr. Nathan collaborated with Cesar Pelli Associates on the design of the Kuala Lumpur City Center (Petronas Towers) in Malaysia (when it opened in 1996, it was tallest building in the world).