Published June 29, 2022
The Department of Urban and Regional Planning has announced the appointment of Emmanuel Frimpong Boamah as interim chair. Boamah, an associate professor of urban planning and director of graduate studies for the program, assumes the leadership role after Daniel B. Hess announced he will step down as chair to return to the faculty.
The School of Architecture and Planning will launch a full international search in Fall 2022 for the succeeding chair.
Chair of the Department of Urban and Regional Planning since 2018, Hess brought administrative and curricular innovation to the program during a period of rising prominence as well as the challenges of the pandemic.
Under his leadership, the professional Master of Urban Planning program was re-accredited for the longest term possible by the discipline’s national accrediting board. Awarding the MUP program a seven-year term, the Planning Accreditation Board cited the program for its distinguished performance in research, engagement with the community and profession, faculty and student diversity, and administrative leadership.
Hess also oversaw the Department's efforts to revise and expand its degree offerings in urban planning. This included curricular revisions to the BA in Environmental Design program, the longest-running degree program at the School of Architecture and Planning. Enrollment in the BAED program has experienced a nearly 50 percent growth over the past four years.
The Department is also a collaborating program in UB's new MS in International Development and Global Health, launched in 2021 by the School of Architecture and Planning and School of Public Health and Health Professions. Hess's leadership was also key to launch of the School's Graduate Certificate in Affordable Housing and a cooperative agreement with the Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan, China.
Despite the challenges of the pandemic, the Department of Urban and Regional Planning has maintained steady enrollment while delivering a consistently high level of scholarship and community service.
Building on School-wide efforts to diversify enrollment, Hess helped increase URM student representation in the Department from 20 percent of total graduate urban planning students in 2018, to 30 percent in 2021.
The Department of Urban and Regional Planning has also consistently ranked at the top of its peers in research. The program holds #1 in a Scholarly Index of research indicators developed by Academic Analytics. The index compares the Department against peer schools of architecture and planning at public research universities in the prestigious Association of American Universities.
Emmanuel Frimpong Boamah joined UB in 2017 with a joint faculty appointment to the Department of Urban and Regional Planning and UB's Community for Global Health Equity. His research focuses on how planning and institutional structures impact marginalized communities in the United States and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Professor Frimpong Boamah earned his PhD in Urban and Public Affairs (Planning and Sustainable Development) from the University of Louisville and a MA in Urban and Regional Studies from Minnesota State University. Before joining UB, he was a visiting assistant professor at Minnesota State University's Urban and Regional Studies Institute.
Professor Frimpong Boamah has received numerous awards and commendations for his teaching and scholarship. In 2021 he was the recipient of the UB Exceptional Scholar Award in the Young Investigator Category and the UB Outstanding Faculty Award for Commitment to Excellence in Teaching.