UF College of Design, Construction & Planning

Margaret Portillo

Margaret Portillo, Associate DeanWhat is your current role and what does it entail?
As of July 1, my role is the Associate Dean for Research & Strategic Initiatives. The primary focus of this role is to support the research mission of the college by developing and promoting the research capacity within Design, Construction and Planning. This involves monitoring and supporting current research operations while supporting new initiatives such as FIBER. An infusion of “stimulus funding” made possible through the dean’s office positions us in a growth mode. It is an exciting time to be a part of building and supporting research development and creative scholarship across the college. The strategic initiatives aspect of the position is also interesting to me. This allows me to help realize the short-and-long-term dreams of the college, only made possible by working closely with the leaders and stakeholders.

How long have you been at DCP and what previous roles have you served here?
During the 2004 season of Hurricane Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne, I moved from the University of Kentucky to the University of Florida to begin a longer-than-expected run as chair of the Department of Interior Design. During my tenure, I have thoroughly enjoyed expanding the reach of the program with such motivated and committed faculty and students. Over the years, it has been a pleasure to develop relationships with so many alumni, clients, friends of the program and staff. The department has a bright future.

What inspires you?
Personally, I am inspired by design, stories on paper and on the stage, color, good food and time in nature. The deep talent pool in the College of Design, Construction and Planning and across campus is inspirational. And every day I try to gain inspiration from others.

Most influential people in your life.
My mentors, my students, my colleagues and friends, my mother, my husband, Ellie and Max.

What do you think is the most exciting trend in your field today?
The increasing influence of research in our professions. The trend toward more holistic design that supports health and well-being in individuals and people who live in the buildings and spaces we design. And new materials, methods, technologies and increasing expectations for design performance that calls for greater collaboration between our fields is exciting to me.