Meet MAPP's New Dean: Q& A with Dawn Jourdan

By Maggie Haslam / Aug 24, 2021 / Updated Aug 27, 2021

Dr. Dawn Jourdan

Dawn Jourdan ends each day with an empty email box. She has a life-long love of the stage and has played everyone from M’Lynn in Steel Magnolias to a talking dog in Sylvia. She still manages her time in seven-minute increments, a residual habit from her law firm days. She loves spicy food and exploring the culinary gems around College Park. And she’s excited to lead the region’s preeminent school for the built environment. Here are six other things to know about MAPP’s new dean:

Favorite course in college: The easy answer is Introduction to Urban Planning, because it was the first time I encountered urban planning. In law school, however, I took a course called Juris Prudence; it was a very theoretical law course, but this course was the first time anyone had ever made me truly appreciate gender differences in the workplace. I had been raised to believe that anyone could be anything they wanted. I did not appreciate the depth of social injustices in the world. I credit that professor with really opening my eyes.

A little-known fact about Dawn Jourdan: I can cry on cue. But it only happens on stage!

What constitutes a good day? When I help somebody do something they really want to do or connect them with a passion that they hadn’t even articulated before talking with me. So, at the end of the day, I feel good because I helped someone reach the place that they need to go.

Best piece of advice you’ve ever received: My favorite theatre professor used to tell people, “dare to fail gloriously.” That, I loved, and I think that’s kind of the way I live; we don’t do small things, we do big things and even when we fail we celebrate and learn from our failures and move forward.

American Craftsman, Dutch Colonial or Mid-Century Modern? Hard question. Any, particularly if they are in the DMV and affordable. 

What’s a tool or tech you could not live without (other than your smartphone)? Ears.


Read more about Dawn Jourdan's plans as MAPP's 10th Dean.