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Diana S. Nicholas, NCIDQ, AIA, NCARB

Director MS Design Research, Department of Architecture, Design and Urbanism, Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design

Based on over 20 years of scholarship and research, Dee believes there are three aspects to the Future of Design:

1. Research, and evidence, as the basis for all design decisions.

2. Equity, access, and climate as interconnected complex problems that are primary aspects of every design situation.

3. All designers must operate as servant leaders within their communities of work.

Her interdisciplinary research group, Design-led Co-strategy for Health group (DLSC4Health), works to create and sustain health opportunities for urban underserved families, and uses design thinking and design research to define, and solve complex issues in our current environment. The DLCS4Health umbrella connects scholarship, teaching & service through topics such as aging in place, housing insecurity, biophilia for underserved populations, and risk in hospital environments. Dee’s work as a researcher, teacher, and colleague is primarily concerned with the supportive possibilities within our environments through habit and environment. She believes in the co-creation of both problem identification and solution through a deep understanding of the lived experience and expertise of those she collaborates with. As a socially responsive designer and researcher, Dee draws on her personal experiences as a person of Middle Eastern (MENA) descent, who spent part of her childhood overseas, to understand the experiences of those that have been marginalized. As a registered architect, fine artist, and certified interior designer; Dee researches, designs, and advocates for services and strategies to bring health and the security of living spaces to people in urban environments, through two interconnected areas:

1. Design-led strategy: Inter-professional creative collaborations with health and STEM researchers, includes Design thinking, mentorship of novice designers, prioritizing designing, ideating, and advocating for change.

2. Health for urban families across multiple environments.

Dee established Design-led Co-strategy 4 Health (DLCS4Health), an umbrella Lab that houses interdisciplinary research and scholarship in 2013. The DLCS 4 Health Lab connects scholarship, teaching, and service through mentorship of students in the Master of Science in Design Research program, Graduate Interior Design, the undergraduate Custom-Designed Major program, Honors Students, and the undergraduate STAR Scholars summer research mentorship program. Funded DLCS 4 Health work includes Garden Fresh Home (Patent Pending) with Professor Shivanthi Anandan; and Health and Design Research with Yvonne Michael, ScD, SM. She is Associate Professor and the Founding Director of Drexel’s MS in Design Research and is am is currently working towards a Ph.D. in Change Leadership through Antioch University.