Interior Design College of Design
  Tasoulla Hadjiyanni, Ph.D.

Tasoulla Hadjiyanni, Ph.D.


Specialties & Expertise

As a faculty member at the University of Minnesota, I integrate my research, teaching, and service to develop and implement “culturally sensitive design” (CSD), design that supports multiple ways of living and being in the world. My goals are to cultivate respect for marginalized populations, particularly women and children; transform the next generation of designers into global citizens; and build the collaborations needed to bring about change. Current research projects include:


  • Design+Culture:
    • I am currently working on the book Space and the production of culture, identity, and home – Defining Oikophilia (Palgrave Macmillan). Through the domestic experiences of members of five cultural groups living in Minnesota  (Hmong, Somali, Mexicans, Native Americans, and African Americans), the book explores the multiple ways by which spatial parameters support or suppress the ability of individuals, families, and collectives to construct meaning in their lives.
    • The report “Toward Culturally Enriched Communities” outlines eight principles for how to work toward Culturally Enriched Communities and why these are important to the creation of a healthy and thriving future. Examples of best practices collected from organizations and institutions around the Twin Cities metro area help illustrate each principle. To access the report from the web site of the Urban Land Institute Minnesota (ULI MN) click here
    • KMOJ Interview


  • Design+Sex trafficking:
    • The When Places Speak exhibit, featuring photographs by Xavier Tavera and Shiraz Mukarram, aims to start dialogues around the "placeness" of sex trafficking and challenge viewers to explore the role they can play in stopping trafficking and helping survivors regain a renewed definition of dignity. It will be hosted in the Goldstein Museum of Design Spring 2016. See:
    • In collaboration with the Native community and advocates, this section of the study built on the No Wrong Door model’s recommendation to “Ensure access to safe and supportive housing” for all sexually exploited youth. The Design Guidelines that emerged zoom in on the needs of Native youth, one of the groups most hardly hit by trafficking. They cover both public and private spaces such as the entry and office areas, as well as living and sleeping areas along with color, sound, and wayfinding. See complete set of Design Guidelines here. 


  • Design+Mental Health:
    • As a Co-PI in a three-College collaboration, we are exploring the environmental factors associated with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD): the Medical School’s Department of Psychiatry, the College of Science and Engineering, and the College of Design. Funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), this pilot project explores how interior elements impact mental well-being, in the process challenging assumptions around how mental health is understood and studied. Experiments with 39 subjects, 18 children and adolescents with OCD and 21 matched healthy controls test among others, how bathroom fixtures are used during activities such as hand washing and the impact of floor pattern on clutter organization. Participants were videotaped to enable observations and detailed analysis of behaviors that are too difficult to observe in real time—from time for hand washing to number of moves before a set of materials are organized. The ultimate goal is to develop algorithms that perform the measurements automatically to better understand these behaviors and use them to develop treatment
    • and diagnostic tools. See EDRA 46 presentation.

Honors and Awards


Course Titles (resident and outreach teaching)

Selected Scholarship









Hadjiyanni, T. (Curator). When Places Speak. Featuring photographs by Xavier Tavera and Shiraz Mukarram, the exhibit aims to start dialogues around the "placeness" of sex trafficking. The exhibit will be produced in partnership with Lauren Martin, Research Director of the University of Minnesota Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center (UROC) (to appear Jan. 19 – May 26, 2016, Goldstein Museum of Design).


Selected Refereed Presentations

  • Hadjiyanni, T., & Johnson, K. (2015). Dress and place in sex trafficking – Attracting customers through virtual environments. Eicher Symposium II, Fashion Sex and Power, St Paul, MN, September 11-12, 2015.
  • Hadjiyanni, T., Robinson, J., Young, A., & Bernstein, G. (2015). Obsessive Compulsive Disorder – Infusing person-environment questions in studies of mental health. Invited for a Special Session at EDRA 46, Los Angeles, May 27-31.
  • Hadjiyanni, T. (2015). Community participation in policy making – An example from Minnesota. Invited paper for EDRA46 Mobile Intensive: Share/Collaborate/Learn/Advance: Democratic Design Without Borders, organized by Henry Sanoff, Jeff Hou, and Randy Hester, EDRA 46, Los Angeles, May 27-31.


Selected Professional, Institutional, and Community Leadership and Service


  • Guest Editor – Symposium and Special Journal Issue on Design+Culture Sponsored by the Journal of Interior Design under the auspices of the Interior Design Educators Council – Spring 2014 – Spring 2016.
  • Environmental Design Research Association (EDRA) Board of Directors – Fall 2011-Summer 2014.
  • Editor of EDRA Connections – Fall 2012 – Fall 2015:


  • Senate Research Committee – July 2015 – Present.


  • Urban Land Institute MN Housing Initiative Group – Fall 2012 – Present.




Professor and Director Interior Design Program


Department of Design, Housing, and Apparel

491 McNeal Hall

1985 Buford Ave.

St. Paul, MN 55108-6136




Curriculum Vitae

Contact Information

Undergraduate Student Services
12 McNeal Hall, 1985 Buford Ave., St. Paul, MN 55108
107 Rapson Hall, 89 Church Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455
P: 612-624-1717 | E:

General Information
P: 612-626-9068 | E:

© 2019 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved. The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer.
Privacy Statement