Debra Harris, PhD
Associate Professor of Interior Design
Department of Human Sciences and Design
Dr. Debra Harris is a researcher, product developer, designer, and educator. She is an Associate Professor in the Robbins College of Health and Human Sciences at Baylor University and a Fellow of the Center for Health Systems & Design at Texas A&M University. Debra is an advocate for evidence-based design, a process for the integration of interventional evidence that informs design decisions to improve the built environment and its impact on its occupants. Over the years, Debra has received recognition for her contributions, including The Architectural Research Centers Consortium King Medal for Excellence in Architectural + Environmental Design Research, The ASID Joel Polsky Achievement Award, the TeamVISTA Award from the American Society for Healthcare Engineering, as well as other awards for research, design, and education.
Debra’s research is interdisciplinary and focuses on factors affecting user experience and outcomes, especially related to health and wellness, sustainability, productivity, safety, and cost implications of the built environment. She believes that translational research allows designers, architects, and other stakeholders actionable design and operational considerations to build settings that promote health and wellness of its occupants. Debra’s interest in material influence on health informs her research on transmission of contaminants, microbial and chemical, in the built environment. Her Environmental Forensics and Material Science Laboratory is a resource for environmental material testing and specimen preparation for product lifespan, durability, simulation, and performance tests. Debra’s areas of expertise in practice include healthcare, sustainable environments, and education, utilizing evidence-based design and focusing on indoor environmental quality factors affecting occupants.
Current Research Interests:
- Active design for health, wellness, and sustainability
- The role of building and finish materials in the built environment in the transmission of pathogenic microorganisms that contribute to healthcare and community acquired illness
- The health and safety convergence of chemical exposures from performance materials
Current Courses Taught:
- ID 4418 Interior Design Studio III
- ID 4126 Sustainable Design
- ID 3317 Lighting for Interior Design
- ID 2320 Building Materials and Finishes