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 from 2012 to 2021, 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 co-editor of Making Healthy Places, Second Edition: Designing and Building for Well-Being, Equity, and Sustainability and co-author of 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 Ryan Allen

Portrait of Ryan Allen

Ryan Allen, PhD, has been a member of the Humphrey School faculty since 2007 in the urban and regional planning area. As associate dean for research, Allen serves as point of contact for the Humphrey School’s research faculty and center directors, and updates faculty on policies regarding research ethics, procedures, grant funding, and other related information.

He also represents the School in the University's Council of Research Associate Deans (CRAD), the Center for Transportation Studies (CTS), and the Hennepin University Partnership (HUP).

Allen’s research focuses on housing and community development, with a substantial emphasis on understanding immigrant integration in the United States. He uses quantitative and qualitative research methods to advance theory, and policy and planning conversations on important social issues, particularly racial, ethnic, and economic inequality, access to economic and social opportunities, immigrant legal status, and immigrant integration.

In addition to his role as associate dean for research, Allen has an appointment with Minnesota Extension Community Development. Read more about Associate Dean Allen.

Associate Dean for Faculty Yingling Fan

Portrait of Yingling Fan

Yingling Fan, PhD, has been a faculty member in the School's urban and regional planning area since 2008. As associate dean for faculty, she plays a crucial role in setting faculty recruitment and retention strategies, contributing to the strategic direction of the School, and representing the School within the University of Minnesota community. 

Fan's research focuses on urban land use, transportation planning, and the impacts of urban planning on human health and social equity. Her influential work spans a wide range of topics, including public transportation development, emotional well-being in cities, and community-engaged transportation equity research. 

She is a leading thinker on putting human well-being and people’s lived experience at the center of urban policy and planning for building sustainable, healthy, and just communities.

Fan is also a successful inventor and entrepreneur. She is the lead inventor of the Daynamica technology, an innovative app-based system that measures human behavior and well-being. The technology was granted a US Patent in 2017, and the following year Fan co-founded Daynamica, Inc., a company serving academic researchers and government agencies that are interested in human data in daily life settings. Read more about Associate Dean Fan

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 Beck.

Senior Strategic Advisor, Meagan Pierluissi

Portrait of Meagan Pierluissi

The new role of senior strategic advisor at the Humphrey School is designed to ensure alignment with our strategic priorities and drive the School forward. In this crucial position, Meagan Pierluissi provides strategic guidance and leadership, overseeing internal and external communications, major events, alumni relations, and the Conference Center rental space for events and meetings. She also manages the technologists responsible for the School's digital media strategies. 

Meagan supervises key departments, including marketing, communications, events, alumni relations, and supports IT services, ensuring these areas work seamlessly to support the School's mission. Her role is pivotal in enhancing the School’s visibility, engagement, and operational efficiency. 

Meagan joined the Humphrey School in 2021 and has since played a significant role in guiding the School through its post-pandemic transition, leadership transitions, and revitalizing its marketing and communication strategies. With over 19 years of experience across various sectors, including nonprofit organizations, health care, and the Army National Guard, Meagan brings a wealth of expertise and a strong commitment to advancing the School’s mission. 

For more about Meagan’s background and accomplishments, read Meagan's bio.

Advisory Groups

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

Alumni Society 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 Society Board facilitates practitioner-based experiences and promotes the School among key partners. Meet the Alumni Society 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