Featured Faculty: Stacy Harwood
Share |

Stacy Harwood, Ph.D. is Chair and Professor in the City & Metropolitan Planning Department at the University of Utah. She holds an undergraduate degree in Quantitative Economics and Decision Sciences from UC San Diego, a master’s degree in Urban & Regional Planning from UC Irvine and a Ph.D. in Planning from the University of Southern California. She is an urban planning scholar and educator on immigration, community development, racial justice and local public policy with publications in Annals of the American Association of Geographers, City & Community, International Planning Studies, Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, Journal of Planning Education and Research, Journal of Urbanism, Landscape Journal, Planning Research and Practice Policy Studies Journal, and Urban Studies. While doing all the conventional scholarly work, she has also established a long-standing track record in providing technical assistance to community organizations and developing innovative approaches to teaching in the classroom. She has several new projects underway including one about the complexities of welcoming immigrants in segregated cities and grassroots cross-racial coalition building in today’s political hostile climate.

Here's more from our recent Q&A with Harwood:

Q: How many years have you been a member of ACSP?
A: 25 

Q: Are you involved on the ACSP Board or an ACSP Committee?
A: ACSP Western Regional Rep, Fall 2019-Fall 2021

Q: Have you won any awards?
A: Here are the ones I am most proud of:

  • Faculty Award for Excellence in Service, College of Fine and Applied Arts University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, 2015-2016.
  • J Frederick Miler Award for distinguished service, University of Illinois YMCA, 2014-2015.
  • Larine Y. Cowan Make A Difference Award for Teaching and Mentoring in Diversity. University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign, 2014-2015.
  • National Education Honor Award, American Institute of Architecture (with Lynne Dearborn and Laura Lawson), 2004.
  • Marsha Ritzdorf Award for Best Student Paper on Diversity, Social Justice and the Role of Women in Urban Planning, Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning Conference, 1998. 

Q: What's your favorite project you’ve worked on?
A: I love all of my projects. I say "no" if I'm not inspired to work on something. My work on racial microaggressions at the University of Illinois was very meaningful for me because the research team did "traditional" academic work, but we also took an advocacy role by politicizing the problem of racism on campus. We ran training and dialogue sessions, wrote newspaper articles, and mentored students. Several times I heard about administrators saying (behind our backs, of course) "make it go away" and that's when I knew we were pressing the right buttons. It was a decade long project that involved many, many people. The national exposure was at times unpleasant (the publicly posted comments). It was fun, frustrating and empowering.

Q: What future goals do you have in your field?
A: I started a new position as Chair at U of Utah in Fall 2018 and will be the new ACSP Western Rep from Fall 2019-2021. My most pressing goal is to figure out how to keep administrative work from taking over my life. I regularly find myself saying "I am drinking out of a fire hose" and "I am digging my way out of an email avalanche." On a serious note, my priorities are inclusion and diversity, particularly, increasing opportunities for students of diverse backgrounds to study planning.

Q: How has planning school changed your daily habits?
A: Getting a Ph.D. made me keenly aware of the importance of work-life balance. I had my two kids while I was in school and that experience forced me to figure out how to get my work done and also have a life outside of academia. Additionally, I regularly chant: less is more.

Q: What did you want to be when you were growing up?
A: I had no idea other than I was against working 9 to 5 job that involved sitting at a desk all day long.

Q: How many different cities have you lived in and which was your favorite?
A: I've lived in a bunch of different places in California, Iowa, Ohio, Illinois, Utah, as well as in Costa Rica and Peru. I don't have favorites. Each place has something special about it and it has more to do with the people than the place.

Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
A: I enjoy traveling, but I don't have a bucket list. I particularly like traveling when someone else is paying. I just did a road trip with a friend, we drove from Phoenix to Salt Lake City on Highway 89. Beautiful scenery. Highly recommend it.

Visit the Planner Profile page on our website to read more from this series, or to nominate and outstanding planning colleague or student to be featured in a future article!


The Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning promotes education, research, service and outreach in the United States and throughout the world by seeking to:

  • recognize diverse needs and interests in planning;
  • improve and enhance the accreditation process, and;
  • strengthen the role of planning education in colleges and universities through publications, conferences, and community engagement;
  • extend planning beyond the classroom into the world of practice.


2910 Kerry Forest Parkway, D4-206 • Tallahassee, FL 32309