University of Nebraska

Building upon a history of design excellence and supportive professional community, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln is initiating proposed development of a new collaborative center, the Center for Health and Healthcare Design under the umbrella structure of The College of Architecture Centers for Design Innovation and Research. The intent of the Center is to provide a richly developed emphasis area that encourages collaborative ventures between and among existing programs in the University of Nebraska (such as those present in the University of Nebraska College of Public Health, UNMC, Engineering, Education and Human Sciences, among others), external constituencies (such as design firms with specialized practices), and academic units at peer institutions focused on Healthcare. Students from each discipline represented within the College of Architecture will benefit from the specializations within the Center:

  • At an undergraduate level, multi-disciplinary studios explore particular healthcare design issues resulting in a variety of design investigations, and professional elective courses examine specific issues with an evidence-based approach;
  • Graduate students pursuing either a Master of Science in Architecture, Interior Design, or Community and Regional Planning; a Master of Architecture; or a Ph.D. in Administration, Curriculum and Instruction with Specialization in Architecture degree may pursue a course of structured opportunities in learning and discovery.

An inaugural enrollment of twenty six students (13 architecture, 13 interior design) plus faculty comprised the healthcare design studio offered Fall 2008 and sponsored by HDR Architecture, Inc. Seminar courses and design studio projects during the first year of the graduate program in architecture and community and regional planning (fourth year of the interior design and landscape architecture program) will be structured to examine the impact of the designed and built environment on health, healthcare, and health outcomes. Alternating studio semesters address global healthcare design issues and domestic healthcare design issues. Seminar courses will range from topics affecting planning, sustainable design, public health, delivery of healthcare, and creating healing environments. It is within these seminar courses that opportunities for integration with other (non-design) disciplines and students within each program of the College arise. Design studios running concurrently to these seminars will build upon this knowledge by featuring programming and design projects that are healthy-environment or healthcare-specific in nature.

While emphasis on health and healthcare design is initiated during the first two semesters of the program, the expectation for students from both the Master of Science (architecture or interior design emphasis) and Masters of Architecture programs is to maintain a structured and rigorous focus on creating environments for health and healthcare in their research and thesis efforts. Ideally, terminal projects and theses would be structured to include interdisciplinary collaborations and team problem-solving, poising graduates as creative problem-solvers who are accustomed to a rich diversity of input.

As the program continues to grow and attract students, it is anticipated that doctoral and post-doctoral work will also focus on research and instruction within the proposed Center. These pursuits are expected to stimulate healthcare research collaboration and generate external funding in the form of tuition revenue, gifts, endowments, and grants.

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