With expertise in architecture theory and the design process, Dr. Karen Spence concentrates her teaching in the pre-professional program at the Hammons School of Architecture. She has served as the coordinator of the first year architecture studio for over five years and offers a course in theory, helping students establish a strong conceptual basis for their work. Dr. Spence has also taught courses in programming and the design process, exploring how design can be framed and engaged.
Theory, sustainability and design in the Ozarks are topics of scholarly interest to Dr. Spence. She has written numerous articles on phenomenological interpretations of environmental and regional architecture, examining how design is able to achieve an ecological and local identity. Her recent writing endeavors also explore the broader subject of theory and its role in the discipline. Her work has been presented at national and international architecture and design conferences.
Dr. Spence is a member of Drury University’s President’s Council for Sustainability, the Gender Equity Council, the Honors Council, coordinates the lecture series for the Hammons School of Architecture and teaches in the Summer Scholars Program. She also serves on boards for the city and Springfield Public Schools as well as the University of Arkansas Fay Jones School of Architecture Professional Advisory Board.
Born and raised in Fayetteville, Arkansas, Dr. Spence received her Bachelor of Architecture from the Fay Jones School of Architecture at the University of Arkansas, her Master of Science in Architecture from the University of Cincinnati, and her Doctorate of Philosophy in Architecture from Texas A&M University. After serving as the American Institute of Architecture Students National Vice President, she practiced with firms and independently in Washington DC, Texas, Kansas, Arkansas and Missouri. She is registered in Maryland and Missouri and was the first full-time Drury faculty member to achieve LEED AP (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professional) status.
B.Arch., University of Arkansas, 1987
M.Arch., University of Cincinnati, 1993
Ph.D., Texas A&M University, 1996
Drury University faculty member since 2006
Associate Professor since 2012