Rob Fleming is an award-winning author and educator, born and raised in Powelton Village, a West Philadelphia neighborhood adjacent to Penn’s campus. This summer he joined Weitzman as director of online innovation, a newly-created role in the School. Fleming is currently organizing the launch of Weitzman’s new Executive Program in Design Leadership (XDL), a six-month online certificate program. Fleming outlines opportunities for designers to become more impactful, inspiring, and inclusive leaders, along with the challenges facing the design professions.
“The goal of XDL is not to chip away with incremental improvements in your life and your career, but looking for a change in how you see yourself as a leader, how others will see you, and eventually how you'll lead,” explains Fleming. “The threats we’re facing now, in terms of things like climate change, require immediate and powerful responses. So, we need to educate those decision makers right away. There’s urgency.”
Fleming argues that architecture professionals can envision themselves not only as great designers but also as advocates for social equity and as climate activists. “I think the twin crises of social inequity and the climate emergency are very serious, but I don’t see the urgency towards action by architects, in general,” he says. “I do hear the concern, and sometimes we have one-off events when we pay close attention, but it isn’t long until we return to ‘normal.’ I think architects are really good strategic thinkers and problem solvers and I think we can and should do more.”
Read more at Weitzman News.