Vini Nathan

Dean and McWhorter Endowed Chair

Vini Nathan

School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture

Bachelor of Architecture

202 Dudley Commons Phone: (334) 844-4529


PhD, Architecture, University of Michigan
Master of Interior Design, Virginia Tech
Bachelor of Architecture, Anna University

In 2011, Dr. Vini Nathan joined Auburn University as Dean and McWhorter Chair in the College of Architecture, Design and Construction (CADC). Prior to her current appointment at Auburn University, she served as the Dean of and Professor in the School of Architecture at Philadelphia University (now Thomas Jefferson University). Dr. Nathan has held teaching positions at Virginia Tech, the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, New York Institute of Technology, and 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. She 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).

At Auburn, Dr. Nathan 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, an MS-Architecture in Public Interest Design, and a Ph.D. in Building Construction. At her former institution, Philadelphia University/Jefferson, she 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. In a similar role, Dr. Nathan developed and reviewed two programs, BFA: Interior Design and a BS: Design Management, for Berkeley College in New Jersey.

At the institutional level, 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. She 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, using NCAAA standards.

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,  University of Oregon, University of Cincinnati, Weber State University, University of Louisville,  Ohio University, University of Missouri, Indiana State University, Washington State University, Miami University, and the Institute for Art and Design Technology-Detroit. 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. She also served on the Landscape Architecture Accreditation Board (LAAB) reviews of programs at the University of Texas-Austin, University of Arizona, University of California-Berkeley, Mississippi State University, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, North Carolina State A&T University, West Virginia University, and Chatham University. Dr. Nathan was one of two external reviewers of the Doctor of Design program at Louisiana State University.

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 at Purdue University. Her additional board activities include Bennett University in New Delhi, India and President of the US-based Architecture+ Construction Alliance.

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).

For her dedication to and leadership in design education, Dr. Nathan was awarded the Tau Sigma Delta silver medal in 2015. She was named 2017 Senior Fellow of the Design Futures Council. Only four people are awarded this distinction annually. The Design Futures Council (DFC) was created in 1994 by Jonas Salk, founder of the Salk Institute, and James P. Cramer, former chief executive of the American Institute of Architects. The DFC brings 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.