Faculty Spotlight – Sarah Sherman



How to create well designed environments that cater to the needs of people with varying abilities and resources is the question that drives Assistant Professor Sarah Sherman’s research and design.

Sherman received her Master of Arts in Interior Design in 2008 with her thesis, “Complying with the ADA: Meeting The Letter But Missing The Spirit”.  Sarah is a licensed Interior Designer in the state of Florida and holds an NCIDQ (National Council for Interior Design Qualification) certificate. She possesses an impressive resume of interior design professional practice projects, consisting of work in the high-end residential and hospitality design. Armed with the desire to make a lasting contribution to the field of interior design, Sarah entered academics to further pursue research and specialization within the field.

With research supported by Fairchild, and as Co-chair of IDEC’s Social Responsibility Network, Sarah has launched an international competition of temporary shelter designs for disaster relief.  A total of 39 entries from five different countries were submitted. This design competition focused on gathering examples of projects that exemplify region-specific temporary housing units with the goal of identifying and developing more robust and humane models for temporary shelter. Competition entries also provide foundational data her research team will analyze for best practices in region-specific temporary shelters, and as design protocols for region-specific disasters.

Sherman will present her findings, along with Dak Kopec, at the EDRA conference in May 2013. The competition will contribute to the expansion of the profession’s ‘body of knowledge’ regarding the psychosocial factors that drive peoples’ relationship with their interior environment.

For more information, check out the video that Sherman and here team submitted for the D4D competition.

For more information about the Design for Disaster Competition, click here.

Sarah’s theoretical contributions include the creation of the TIER model (Teaching Interdisciplinary Environmental Responsibility) to facilitate comprehension, connection, and commitment to Environmentally Responsible Design, 2010. She has also conducted basic-experimental research aimed at understanding the factors that contribute to a designer’s interpretation of inclusive design and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and how this is reflected in producing fully accessible environments. Sherman has published this work in “Disability and Society” and continues to perform research aimed at understanding how to develop designers capable of embracing spirit of the ADA, adopting its core principles as a routine practice, and ultimately understanding how design can contribute to a changing society’s attitude towards people with disabilities.

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