Kathryn Holliday, architecture professor and director of the David Dillon Center for Texas Architecture, was recently awarded the Award for Excellence in the Promotion of Architecture through the Media in Honor of John G. Flowers.
The award is given annually by the Texas Society of Architects. Holliday was nominated by the Dallas and Fort Worth chapters of the American Institute of Architects.
Architecture senior Frank Rose said Holliday is personable and passionate in the classroom. Students can hear the excitement in her voice when she speaks.
“You also get attracted to that pull, that excitement that she puts out into her lectures,” he said.
As a historian, Holliday said she aims to teach future architects an understanding of how history has shaped today's living spaces, to be curious about how cities and neighborhoods got to their current states and to be open to listening to stories about those places.
Holliday includes essay questions on exams that make students think deeper about the topic, Rose said. She encourages critical analysis of the history and importance of structures that were made.
He said her classes make students understand why something was important, relating to the time period by giving context about it.
Architecture senior Patricia Moriel said pre-pandemic, Holliday always had her office door open for students, and post-pandemic, Holliday tries to maintain that same relationship with her students.
Moriel said communication between students and professors can sometimes get lost during Zoom calls, but Holliday makes sure to take time to answer questions while also engaging with students in the chat room during virtual lectures.
Holliday will pop in and out of various breakout sessions to engage with students in a smaller virtual setting and help provoke student conversations, Moriel said.
She said her class goes on socially distanced field trips as well as having the option to go to various locations on their own. Holliday works to make the trips accessible for students.
Holliday is well known in the College of Architecture Planning and Public Affairs, and students want to take her classes. Her classes fill up fast, and it speaks volumes about the type of professor she is, Rose said.
He said Holliday taught him that it’s important for architects to think about how structures will function best for the people interacting with it.
It's important that everything she does as an academic also has a public impact, Holliday said.
“It’s wonderful recognition for the efforts of a university faculty member to actually connect with the profession and to connect with the community,” she said.