April 28, 2023

Keoni Fleming Awarded Dean’s Award for Outstanding Teaching by a Lecturer

Keoni Fleming Awarded Dean’s Award for Outstanding Teaching by a Lecturer

Lecturer in the Architecture Section (William) Keoni Fleming has been awarded the College of Engineering Dean’s Award for Outstanding Teaching by a Lecturer as part of the Spring 2023 College of Engineering Faculty Awards Ceremony.

Keoni Fleming has been a lecturer in the Architecture Section at the Knowlton School since  [xxx]. Since that time he has contributed to architectural education at the Knowlton school through teaching excellence, pedagogical innovation, and student engagement. Fleming stands out for his commitment to the critical issue of sustainability in architecture and the city, which is unmatched in the Knowlton School. 

For many years, Fleming has taught building technology courses in the undergraduate curriculum. His teaching portfolio includes a construction and building systems course, which are essential foundation courses to learn the translation of architectural ideas into building, as well as design studios. Fleming’s passion for teaching and his knowledge base are highly regarded by students and faculty alike. His dedication to teaching technology is evident in his strong student evaluations: his cumulative score for last year was 4.8, which is very high given the subject matter and well above the 4.4 average for the architecture section. One student recalled “really enjoying Keoni's lectures and going to the bricklaying lab” and how before taking his class, the student felt in the dark about the building process, and now understood the code and the use of materials. Chair of graduate studies Beth Blostein describes Fleming as having an “unmatched rapport with students” and an impact that extends beyond the technology curriculum, with students referencing his teaching in design studios and other classes. 

Among Fleming’s contributions to architectural education and the Knowlton School are his promotion of active learning in large, required, technology lecture courses. He manages to engage students through participation and knows them remarkably well. He integrates sustainability in the undergraduate curriculum, creating a foundation for student growth, and is recognized by his peers as an expert in the field. He underscores how architecture is inextricably linked with its environment. Fleming’s construction and building systems courses begin with an overview of climate and develop with the architect’s role in designing towards climate change mitigation and adaptation. He also goes beyond his teaching responsibilities to advise design studios, allowing students to grasp the connection between design decisions and environmental impact. 

Fleming combines pedagogical innovation with professional expertise. He brings his extensive architectural experience to the classroom to make the materials understandable and accessible to all students. As the President of Schooley Caldwell, a highly regarded architecture firm in Columbus, he opens a window to undergraduates onto their professional future and is an invaluable role model. His vast technical knowledge and construction experience bring life and relevance to the undergraduate curriculum. 

Fleming is extremely generous with his time, participating in faculty meetings and working groups and contributing to the development of the technology curriculum. Most recently, he was instrumental in revising the sequence of six undergraduate and graduate technology courses to reflect climate justice and incorporate changes in accreditation and practice. 

Finally, his support of students and commitment to diversity go above and beyond his charge as a lecturer. He has served as the faculty advisor to the Ohio State/Knowlton student chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMAS) for years and as an informal mentor to myriad students. He is a champion for Knowlton architecture students, advocating to the local chapter of the American Institute of Architects for donations of hard hats and safety vests, and introducing students to professional practice. He helped found the student chapter "Designers for Diversity/NOMAS” in 2005 with the only two Black students then enrolled in architecture. Seventeen years later, one of these two students paid tribute to Keoni Fleming in his acceptance speech for the 2022 Texnikoi Outstanding Alumni Award, underscoring the transformative impact faculty can have. 

It is uncommon for a lecturer to contribute so deeply and broadly to an academic program, and I believe Keoni Fleming merits recognition in the form of the Outstanding Teaching by a Lecturer Award.