Michael Ellars




I am an educator. The desire to share my knowledge with others drives what I do. Whether I am presenting continuing education courses, offering free licensing seminars for the next generation of architects, or teaching undergraduate building science, one thing remains true: I want others to have the same love of learning as I do.

My instructional experience began shortly after I received my architecture license from the State of California. I began volunteering to teach architectural licensing seminars for the Los Angeles Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA). That service has expanded over the years to other AIA chapters and other professional organizations, including the Los Angeles Chapter of the Construction Specifications Institute, and other other topics, most recently accessibility.

I have been involved with “NotLY”—Not Licensed Yet—for over ten years. NotLY offers free education for architecture graduates seeking their first professional license. It was founded by USC Architecture Professors Doug Noble and Karen Kensek after they tired of seeing a continuing decline of newly licensed architects in California. Recognizing the “perfect storm” of the Great Recession and the cost of getting licensed, Professors Noble and Kensek sought to alleviate one part of the problem by offering free educational seminars. Thousands of recent and not-so-recent architecture graduates have benefited to date!

In 2015, I started teaching at the USC School of Architecture as part-time, adjunct faculty. My original assignment was as a studio instructor for the undergraduate building science program. At the undergraduate level, Building Science is a joint degree between the School of Architecture and the Viterbi School of Engineering, formally administered by the latter. It is a wonderful program that offers architectural education to civil engineering majors who are interested in structural engineering.

In 2018, I transitioned out of the undergraduate building science program and into teaching an upper-division elective course in the graduate building science program, which operates solely under the School of Architecture. Faculty reassignments due to the coronavirus pandemic led to the Spring 2020 semester being the last time I taught at USC. However, I remain a frequent guest critic for undergraduate Building Science studio reviews.

I am an educator.