School names Nisha Fernando director of interior architecture program

LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas School of Architecture & Design has appointed Nisha Fernando as director of the Interior Architecture program. 

“We are so glad to have Nisha join our community,” said Joe Colistra, chair of the architecture department. “She has extensive teaching and administrative experience and has been instrumental in several accreditation processes in the past.” 

Fernando was previously a tenured professor of interior architecture at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point where she taught for over 19 years. For six of those years, she worked as the associate dean and division head. 

Fernando has also regularly published and presented her research at peer-review conferences. 

“My research involves cultural aspects of design and spatial experiences, sensory values of architecture and design, and environment-behavior interactions of spaces,” Fernando said. 

According to Interim Dean Mahbub Rashid, the new program is already in high demand. 

“Only in its second year, we are already receiving five times more applicants than what we can admit to this program,” Rashid said. “I am very optimistic that the demand for this program will continue to grow in the coming years. Situated within the nexus of our nationally renowned architecture and design programs, our interior architecture program has all the right ingredients in place to become a nationally renowned program as well. With her excellent academic and administrative experiences, I am confident that Nisha is the right person to lead this new program at a time when so much around us is changing so fast.”   

With the program being so new, Fernando is looking to further develop the curriculum.   

“The Interior Architecture program at (the school) is at a very exciting point,” Fernando said. “It can be developed further to include the newest and most significant interior design needs and trends that help individuals and communities to thrive and be well, while also contributing to a sustainable and eco-friendly world. Students have such great opportunities for both hands-on and virtual learning experiences within the program, which will make it one of the best accredited IA programs in the country.”