Diana Mitsova Appointed as the John DeGrove Eminent Scholar

October, 2020



Associate professor in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning, Diana Mitsova, Ph.D. , was appointed the John DeGrove Eminent Scholar Chair in Growth Management and Development. Dr. Mitsova’s research focuses on one of the key planning development issues in South Florida: climate change and its impacts in the form of sea-level rise and storm surge flooding. Mitsova also serves as the Director of the Visual Planning Technology Lab (VPT).

The John DeGrove Eminent Scholar appointment commemorates John DeGrove, Ph.D., the founding director of the FAU/FIU Joint Center for Environmental and Urban Problems, now known as the Center for Urban and Environmental Solutions (CUES). DeGrove was a nationally recognized expert on urban planning and is known as the “father” of urban growth management in Florida. 

Mitsova’s accomplishments and scholarly achievements speak to her appointment for the eminent scholar position. Numerous articles published in well-respected journals have established her expertise on a range of topics in the field. Last year, Mitsova was co-author of the book Geospatial Applications for Climate Adaptation Planning , published by Routledge. In addition, an impressive list of research grants support her work as Principal Investigator or Co-PI, including federal, state, and non-profit agencies: National Science Foundation, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Florida Department of Transportation, Florida Sea Grant Program, The Nature Conservancy, U.S. Geological Survey, and U.S. Department of Energy. 

Steven Bourassa, Ph.D., Chair of the Department of Urban and Regional Planning and Henry D. Epstein Professor of Urban and Regional Planning, said of Mitsova’s recent awards, “Among Dr. Mitsova’s accolades, she has also been a collaborator on multiple grants. This year, she was awarded an NSF RAPID grant as Co-PI with another faculty member at FAU as well as Georgia State University. As a Co-PI, she has three NSF grant proposals currently under review plus one submitted to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.”

In keeping with John DeGrove’s role as a mentor, Dr. Mitsova mentors the Honors Program within the Department of Urban and Regional Planning and has worked with many thesis and dissertation students in several departments and programs at FAU.

History of John DeGrove, Ph.D., and the Chair Position


The John M. DeGrove Eminent Scholar Chair in Growth Management and Development was established in 2000. The mission of the Eminent Scholar is to advance knowledge and scholarship in growth management and development and to promote the planning and implementation of smart growth initiatives.

In 1967, President Lyndon Johnson appointed DeGrove to the National “Douglas” Commission on Urban Problems. He was also the Secretary of the Florida Department of Community Affairs under Governor Bob Graham and was instrumental in the 1986 creation of the non-profit 1,000 Friends of Florida, which is committed to building better communities and preserving special places throughout Florida. Of his many roles, perhaps the title DeGrove valued most was mentor. He taught and guided countless students during his 37 years at FAU, and many of them went on to have prominent careers in urban and regional planning and related fields.