Department of Interior Design


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The faculty, as a composite, have professional practice experience (Carmel-Gilfilen; Bosch; Valipoor) and academic expertise in color theory (Portillo), design history and adaptive reuse (Cunningham), environmental-behavior (Bosch), healthcare (Bosch; Carmel-Gilfilen; Valipoor), lighting and environmental technology (Park), pedagogy (Carmel-Gilfilen; Meneely; Portillo), sustainability (Park; Valipoor), and technology (Meneely).  Professor Carmel-Gilfilen and Park are LEED AP accredited; and Professor Bosch, Carmel-Gilfilen, Park and Valipoor are EDAC certified.

The faculty members have degrees in interior design, architecture, fine arts, historic preservation and psychology. All faculty remain current in their areas of expertise and are active in research, publication and presentations at national and international conferences.  Several members of the faculty have been awarded teaching and mentoring accolades. Others have served as faculty advisors for students who garnered national design awards and scholarships


Sheila Bosch, PhD
Candy Carmel-Gilfilen
Erin Cunningham, PhD
Jason Meneely
Nam-Kyu Park, PhD
Margaret Portillo, PhD
Shabboo Valipoor, PhD


Photo of Sheila Bosch

Sheila Bosch, PhD

Improving Healthcare Quality and Safety through Design: Research has demonstrated that the physical environment is an important contributor to one’s experience in healthcare settings and can be an important tool for improving patient, family, and staff wellbeing. Working with diverse collaborators, we have investigated staff perceptions regarding the benefits of single-family neonatal intensive care unit design, family presence and family-to-patient interactions in an intensive care unit designed to support patient and family-engaged care, the influence of visibility on other health-related outcomes, and how design can improve the care experience for Veterans with mental health needs.

  • Bosch, S. J., Apple, M., Hiltonen, E., Worden, E., Lu, Y., Nanda, U. & Kim, D. (2016). To see or not to see: Investigating the links between patient visibility and potential moderators affecting the patient experience. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 47:33-43. doi: 1016/j.jenvp.2016.04.013
  • Platt, L., Bosch, S. J. & Kim, D. (2017). Towards a framework for designing person-centered mental health interiors for Veterans. Journal of Interior Design, advance access publication on February 7, 2017. doi: 1111/joid.12095
  • Lu, Y., Cai, H., & Bosch, S. J. (2016). Key spatial factors influencing the perceived privacy in nursing units: An exploration study with eight nursing units in Hong Kong. Health Environments Research & Design Journal. doi: 1177/1937586716672857

Enhancing the Quality of Life for Older Adults through Design: Globally, the population of persons 65 and older is on the rise. As we age, we often experience declining physical and cognitive performance, but improving the design of the physical environment may support our ability to live safely and with dignity. Our research has challenged the use of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessibility requirements in situations where older adults need assistance transferring on and off of the toilet, and we have identified wayfinding strategies that can improve the travel experience for older adults.

  • Bosch, S. J., & Gharaveis, A. (2017). Flying solo: A review of the literature on wayfinding for older adults experiencing visual or cognitive decline. Applied Ergonomics, 58:327-333. doi: 10.1016/j.apergo.2016.07.010
  • Lorusso, L. & Bosch, S. J. (2017). Impact of multi-sensory environments on behavior for people with dementia: A systematic literature review. The Gerontologist, advance access publication on February 13, 2017. doi: 10.1093/geront/gnw168

Design to Improve Teaching and Learning Outcomes: Early research investigated the relationships between the design of K-12 educational settings on teaching and learning outcomes. Current research, funded by the American Society of Interior Designers, is investigating how mixed-use learning environments in higher education settings can best support individual and collaborative activities, as well as structured classes, with a particular focus on the millennial generation.

Additional Publications:


Photo of Candy Carmel-Gilfilen

Candy Carmel-Gilfilen

Candy Carmel-Gilfilen’s research is defined by interdisciplinary aspects that transverse design pedagogy, and holistic healthcare and applied security design.

Design Pedagogy and Student Development

Research in design pedagogy is guided by the Perry Scheme of Intellectual and Ethical Development which aims to identify patterns of thinking and learning that can be used to enhance classroom learning. Research to date has revealed a relationship between learner outcomes and student thought development suggesting that those with more advanced thinking generally had higher grades and greater educational experience in interior design.  Future research is focused on determining strategies to propel students to the highest levels of development which encompass ethical dimensions and life choices with commitment. These studies provide rich data that can be used as case models to enhance teaching approaches thereby creating thought leaders in design.

Holistic Healthcare and Applied Security Design

Research in applied security design has emphasized the potential of the physical environment to create secure environments via a holistic approach.

Field research with two leading big-box retailers uncovered specific strategies that marry design and security techniques including natural surveillance, access control, and strategic placement of fixtures and cash wraps. These tenants of design security have been expanded to the healthcare environment to create secure, human-centered spaces for patients, family members, and staff.  Ongoing research and creative scholarship continues in studios funded by Herman Miller.  This model informs pedagogical strategies that enhance student learning experiences and promote empathetic design within education. Further, strategies to cultivate human-centered design steeped in research and collaboration can be promoted in design education to inform, educate, and influence invested leaders in healthcare.


Erin Cunningham

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Erin Cunninham, PhD

statement regarding types of research



  • Cunningham, Erin. “Interiors, Histories, and the Preservation of Chicago’s Hull House Settlement.” Buildings & Landscapes: Journal of the Vernacular Architecture Forum 23, no. 2 (Fall 2016): 53-64. (open review)
Jason Meneely

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Jason Meneely

Design strategies for enhancing creative performance in individuals, teams, and organizations.

Using technology to support creative problem solving

The application of Virtual Reality Headsets in design education and evidence-based research

Design thinking and pedagogy

  •  Portillo, M. & Meneely, J. (2015). Toward a Creative Ecology of Workplace Design. In N. Blossom and J. Asher-Thompson (eds). The Blackwell Handbook of Interior Design. UK: Blackwell Publishing. 
  • Ferguson, N. & Meneely, J. (2015). Springboards and Barriers to Creative Risk-Taking and Resolve in Undergraduate Interior Design Studios. Journal of Interior Design. 40 (4), 17-40.
  • Chung, S. & Meneely, J. (2012). Profiling Group Dynamics within Business and Design Student Teams: Relationships among Problem Solving Styles, Personality Traits, and Creative Design Performance. Journal of Interior Design. 37 (3), 23-46.
  • Meneely, J. (2010). Educating Adaptable Minds: How Diversified are the Thinking Preferences of Interior Design Students? Journal of Interior Design.35 (3), 21-32.
  • Meneely, J. & Portillo, M. (2005). The Adaptable Mind in Design: Relating Personality, Cognitive Style, and Creative Performance. Creativity Research Journal. 17 (2 & 3), 155-166.
Nam-Kyu Park

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Nam-Kyu Park, PhD

The overarching mission of Dr. Park’s research is to optimize well-being, health, and human behavior through the design of the built environment. Under this umbrella, her research has developed into four content areas including lighting environments, environmental design for special needs populations, effect of culture on design, and sustainable design. These interlocking themes build upon each other to holistically understand the broader spectrum of human-environment relationships within the built environment. Theories of environment-behavior and social psychology thread together in her research program, which employs a mixed methods design. Building on a human-centered approach, her lighting research has extended to study on supportive and inclusive environments, through the lens of focusing on the needs of diverse populations including immigrants, the elderly, at-risk newborns, persons with ADHD, and children through adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Luminous environments

Environmental design for special needs populations

Effect of culture on design

Environmental and social sustainability

Margaret Portillo

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Margaret Portillo, PhD

statement on research

Shabboo Valipoor

Photo of Shabboo Valipoor

Shabboo Valipoor, PhD

info about research.

  • Pati, D., Valipoor, S., Cloutier, A., Yang, J., Freier, P., Harvey, T., & Lee, J. (2017). Physical Design Factors Contributing to Patient Falls. Journal of Patient Safety.
  • Valipoor, S., Pati, D., Stock, M., & Bazuin, D. (July 2017). Design for Older Patients: An Objective Evaluation of Patient Chairs at Hospitals. Paper will be presented at Applied Human Factors & Ergonomics (AHFE) International Conference, Los Angeles, CA.
  • Valipoor, S., Hakimjavadi, H., & Bosch, S. (May 2017). Emergency Departments at the Time of Disasters: What is the Impact of Physical Design? Paper will be presented at EDRA48 International Conference, Madison, WI.
  • Valipoor, S., Pati, D., Stock, M., & Bazuin, D. (May 2017). Patient Safety and Furniture Design: An Objective Evaluation of Seating Solutions for the Elderly. Paper will be presented at EDRA48 International Conference, Madison, WI.
  • Valipoor, S., Pati, D., Stock, M., & Bazuin, D. Safer Chairs for Elderly Patients: Design Evaluation Using Electromyography and Force Measurements. Manuscript submitted for publication.


    Pati, D., Valipoor, S., Cloutier, A., Yang, J., Freier, P., Harvey, T., & Lee, J. (2017). Physical Design Factors Contributing to Patient Falls. Journal of Patient Safety. doi:10.1097/PTS.0000000000000339.


    Pati, D., Gaines, K., & Valipoor, S. (2016). Delivering Rural Health in a Changing Health Model: A Qualitative Study Involving Four Hospitals. Health Environment Research & Design Journal (HERD), 10(1), 76-86.


    Cloutier, A., Yang, J., Pati, D., & Valipoor, S. (2016). Experimental Identification of Potential Falls in Older Adult Hospital Patients. Journal of Biomechanics, 49(7), 1016-1020.


    Valipoor, S., & Pati, D. (2016). Making Your Instruments Work for You. Health Environment Research & Design Journal (HERD), 9(3), 236-243.


    Pati, D., Freier, P., O’Boyle, M., Amor, C., & Valipoor, S. (2016). The Impact of Simulated Nature on Patient Outcomes: A Study of Photographic Sky Compositions. Health Environment Research & Design Journal (HERD), 9(2), 36-51.


    Pati, D., O’Boyle, M., Amor, C., Jiancheng, H., Valipoor, S., & Fang, D. (2014). Neural Correlates of Nature Stimuli: An fMRI Study. Health Environment Research & Design Journal (HERD), 7(2), 9-28.