Department of Interior Design

Professor Meneely at Detmold

Professor Meneely presents, Extending the Active Learning Environment: Outside the Classroom and the Spaces In-between


Jason Meneely visited Detmolder School of Architecture and Interior Architecture in Detmold Germany this summer to present findings from a grant that he, Dr. Bosch, Candy Carmel-Gilfilen, Dr. Park and Dr. Portillo have been working on.  While there, Jason also presented his recent research using VR technology.

Professor Meneely at Detmold

Designing Mixed-Use Learning Environments For Millennials In Higher Education Settings

Presented by:
Sheila Bosch, Ph.D.
Jason Meneely
Nam-Kyu Park, Ph.D.
Margaret Portillo, Ph.D.
Maria Sanchez

Department of Interior Design

Click here to read the abstract.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

12 to 1 p.m.
Rinker Hall, Room 140

Research Seminar-Bosch-Meneely-Park-Portillo & Sanchez

photo of Engage Design Lab signage

“Inclusive. Innovative. Human-centered design.”

Engage Design Lab focuses on studying and creating exciting human-centered environments using mixed methods of research and visualization. Launched and led by the University of Florida’s Interior Design Department, this lab harnesses the resources of the College of Design, Construction and Planning and invites collaboration with other partners from industry and practice to develop high performing, multidisciplinary programs and projects. The success of the EdL can be attributed to its intensive and highly visual cycle of inquiry, design development, implementation, and assessment.



Improving individual lives and communities through design.





Guiding Principles
We aim to support people across the life space with a range of physical and cognitive capacities–including those with special needs (e.g., dementia, autism, ADHD) who could be better served by design.

  • EDL aspires to gain new insights on holistic healthcare environments that better support patients, families, caregivers and staff.
  • EDL aspires to develop discoveries on transformative learning environments that better support students, teachers/faculty, administrators, staff, and visitors.

All research, projects and activities reflect the following principles:
INCLUSIVE: Creating inclusive environments that optimize health and learning for all types of people.

INNOVATIVE: Discovering, testing and creating imaginative solutions using mixed methods, including visualization, to develop valuable solutions.

CULTIVATING CHANGE: Using a human-centered design appraoch that optimizes individual, community or organizational functioning.

CONSERVATION: Employing sustainable and high-performance design practices to reducing the environmental “footprint” of new and existing spaces and environments.

AWARENESS & ACTION: Raising awareness of the critical role design plays in improving people’s lives through multi-media dissemination.





Engage Design Lab

photo of Engage Design Lab signage

Five independent professional disciplines: architecture, building construction, interior design, landscape architecture and urban and regional planning

Source: EDL Project – Marston Library | UF College of Design, Construction & Planning

Interior Design EDL Project – Marston Library | UF College of Design, Construction & Planning

The Engage Design Lab works with entities on campus and off on projects from the ground up.  Our students have the chance to help gather the initial research data for our evidence-based design for which we are known.  From there, the students are involved in the design process and materials selections for the project.  The Law School Cafeteria is currently one of those projects and currently under construction.  Completion is slated for August 2017.

Law School Cafeteria expected to be complete by August 2017

DCP Department of Interior Design And The Agency Win A Competitive $70k Grant From ASID

posted 05.26.16

The University of Florida College of Design, Construction and Planning (DCP) and The Agency, housed within the UF College of Journalism and Communications, were awarded $70,000 from the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) to investigate an emerging typology of educational space, the mixed-use learning zone that engages millennial generations of students outside the standard classroom model.

“We’re taking active learning to the next level,” said Sheila Bosch, interior design assistant professor and the principal investigator of the project. “Engaging millennial and subsequent generations of students demands that we look outside the classroom box. Moving beyond traditional classroom-centric research, we will study how learning happens in the ‘in-between’ spaces, where more collaborative and less formal learning occurs.”

This national study will use a mixed methods research approach, including case studies that integrate behavioral mapping with student and teacher first-person narratives of their experience within mixed-use learning zones that straddle study commons and classroom settings to support diverse needs, student engagement and informal social interaction.

“In much the same way that mixed-use planning can activate urban centers, mixed-use learning zones create synergistic adjacencies and blended spaces that keep the learning environment multi-modal, active and vibrant,” said Jason Meneely, interior design associate professor.

The Agency, a team that conducts millennial generation research, brings Mavy to the table – a virtual community of millennials that is representative of the population being studied.

This will be the first external grant for the Engage Design Lab, an initiative led by UF’s Department of Interior Design that invites other disciplines to develop design-based programs and projects that help solve a specific need while confronting the larger societal concerns surrounding healthcare and education.  The project team also includes Margaret Portillo, DCP interim associate dean of research and graduate studies, Candy Carmel-Gilfilen, associate chair of interior design, and Andy Hopson, The Agency’s executive director.

“The Millennial generation is creating a shift in the field of education and it is our mission as researchers, educators and designers to develop actionable guidelines that address their learning styles,” said Elizabeth Cailenes, Engage Design Lab coordinator and Ph.D. student. “We are honored to receive the 2016 ASID Transform Grant and cannot think of a better way to kick-off our Engage Design Lab initiative.”


$70k Grant From ASID

Millennial brains are just wired differently. This fact quickly became apparent when I started my new position in August as an assistant professor in the Department of Interior Design at the University of Florida. I decided early on that rather than ban the use of mobile devices in my classroom, as some professors do, I would encourage their use. I realize, of course, that students may be texting their friends, checking SnapChat or the latest social media fad (I’m so old that I still use Facebook).  But, the truth of the matter is that I don’t know everything. Outside the classroom, information is everywhere, so why should my students be limited to the knowledge that resides inside my brain during class time?

I also discovered that millennial students seem to prefer less formal learning environments where the traditional teacher–student hierarchy is unrecognizable. As an instructor standing in front of a typical college classroom, it is clear to all that this classroom has been designed more for me than for the students. I “own” the space and students are passive learners. But, this is changing as technology-infused active learning classrooms are being developed. In these classrooms, students often work in groups and learn from one another, as well as the instructor, using technology to share information in real time. But even the active learning classroom sits vacant when there are no formally scheduled classes occurring in them, leaving valuable real estate unused while students cram into commons spaces on campus to study or work on group projects.