School Leadership

Dean Nisha Botchwey

Portrait of Nisha Botchwey

Nisha Botchwey, PhD, began serving as dean of the Humphrey School of Public Affairs in January 2022. 

Previously, Botchwey served as associate dean for academic programs at Georgia Tech Professional Education. In that role she was responsible for developing academic programs, overseeing all academic offerings and curriculum, and leading outreach and student affairs. She played a key role in leading Georgia Tech’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Botchwey was also a tenured associate professor in Georgia Tech’s School of City and Regional Planning, and director of the School’s Healthy Places Lab. She was on the Georgia Tech faculty since 2012, and also served as an adjunct professor at Emory University’s School of Public Health. Previously, Botchwey taught at the University of Virginia’s Department of Urban and Environmental Planning from 2003 to 2011.

Botchwey's research and teaching have been at the nexus of environmental and health policy and the built environment, with a special focus on youth engagement and health equity. Over her career, she has been awarded more than $16 million from leading agencies and foundations as principal investigator or co-PI on more than 30 grant-funded projects.

Botchwey is the co-author of the book Health Impact Assessment in the United States. She is the convener of a national expert panel on interdisciplinary workforce training between the public health and community design fields, and has authored numerous articles, book chapters, scientific presentations, and workshops. 

The impact of Botchwey's public health and social justice work was recognized in 2021 with the prestigious Dale Prize for Excellence in Urban and Regional Planning, and in 2016 by the White House Council on Women and Girls. Botchwey also serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Planning Education and Research.

She has earned many other distinctions, including an NSF ADVANCE Woman of Excellence Faculty Award, a Hesburgh Award Teaching Fellowship from Georgia Tech, the Georgia Power Professor of Excellence Award, and a Rockefeller-Penn Fellowship from the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Nursing. 

Botchwey earned a master’s degree and PhD in urban planning from the University of Pennsylvania, a master’s degree in public health from the University of Virginia, and an AB from Harvard University. Read more about Dean Botchwey. 

Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Catherine Squires

Potrait of Catherine Squires

Catherine R. Squires, PhD, joined the Humphrey School as associate dean in August of 2020 and served as interim dean from August 2021 to January 2022.  Previously, she was in the College of Liberal Arts as a professor of communication studies.

Squires' work investigates the interactions between social identities, media discourses, and publics. She is the author of Dispatches from the Color Line (SUNY, 2007) and African Americans and the Media (Polity, 2009). Her most recent book, The Post-racial Mystique (NYU Press, 2014), explores how a variety of media—the news, network television, and online, independent media—debate, define and deploy the term “post-racial” in their representations of American politics and society.

Squires is a member of the Historical Injustice Collaborative at the Institute for Advanced Study, working on ways to reconsider Minnesota historical narratives and engender resilient partnerships with communities that have historically been excluded from dominant tellings of the Minnesota story. 

She is also engaged in long-term partnerships with Gordon Parks High School and Hallie Q. Brown Center in St. Paul. Squires and University of Minnesota students collaborate with community members and high school students to deepen their knowledge about the school's and center's namesakes, local African American history, and foster publicly oriented creative projects. Read more about Associate Dean Squires.

Associate Dean for Faculty Abimbola Asojo

Potrait of Abimbola Asojo

Abimbola Asojo, PhD, joined the Humphrey School as the associate dean for faculty in August 2022. A Distinguished Global Professor and professor of Interior Design, Asojo was previously the associate dean for research, creative scholarship, and engagement in the UMN College of Design.

With more than 25 years of teaching, research and leadership experience at the University and within the community, Asojo has been widely recognized and published in journals and books. Additionally, she is a licensed architect and holds a National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) certification. She is also a fellow of the UMN’s Institute on the Environment.

Her research areas explore beyond the built environment in areas like cross-cultural design, architectural lighting design, African architecture, computing and design, globalization and design, sustainable design, post-occupancy evaluation and K-12 spaces.

As the associate dean, Asojo is part of the Humphrey School’s leadership team, sets faculty recruitment and retention strategy, and is an important representative of the School within the University of Minnesota. Learn more about Abimbola Asojo.

Assistant Dean for Graduate Education Diana Beck

Portrait of Diana Beck

Diana Beck was appointed assistant dean in August 2021. She has been with the Humphrey School since August 2018, serving as the director of academic programs. She leads the development, implementation, and evaluation of our academic programs; works closely with the directors of graduate studies, faculty, staff, students, and other stakeholders to advance curricular innovation, leverage emerging trends and best practices in professional student education; and supports key curricular initiatives including around equity and inclusion and engaged learning.

She also represents the School at university-wide meetings, such as the Professional Education Council and the Council of Graduate Associate and Assistant Deans. Read more about Assistant Dean Diana Beck.

Advisory Groups

There are five key stakeholder groups that advise the dean and associate dean. They are:

Alumni Board

The Humphrey School Alumni Society Board of Directors plays a key role in promoting and achieving the mission of the Humphrey School by providing an effective vehicle for alumni involvement. The Alumni Board facilitates practitioner-based experiences and promotes the School among key partners. Meet the Alumni Board

Dean's Advisory Council

This distinguished group of community advisors provides advice and counsel to the dean and helps the Humphrey School strengthen its connections with the community. Meet the Dean's Advisory Council

Equity and Inclusion Council

The Equity and Inclusion Council is responsible for generating discussion and initiatives that value and actively promote equity, inclusion, and diversity by helping achieve the goals established in the Equity and Inclusion Strategy and Implementation Plan. Learn more about the Equity and Inclusion Council

Executive Council

The Executive Council is an elected representative group of Humphrey School faculty, students, and staff. It has responsibility for all matters not otherwise under the authority of the Dean or the Humphrey School graduate faculty, including policies and practices relating to school administration, human resources, community engagement, and finance. Meet the Executive Council

Senior Leadership Staff

A core group of directors makes up the Humphrey School Senior Leadership Staff. These directors work together to advise the Dean and Associate Dean, as well as manage day-to-day operations within the school. Meet the Senior Leadership Staff