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Norma Isa Figueroa

Assistant Professor
Architecture/Interior Design
School of Architecture

UT Arlington Faculty

Dr. Norma Isa Figueroa received a Ph. D. in History and a BA in Environmental Design at the University of Puerto Rico-Río Piedras, and a Masters in Architecture form the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She has taught at School of Architecture, UT-Arlington since Fall 2010. Before joining UTA she taught the Community Design Studio at the University of Puerto Rico, developing service-learning projects that were used by non-profit organizations for the acquisition of permits and funding for their building projects. As a historian, Figueroa focuses her research in Healthcare, Gender and Architecture, and has over 25 years of experience working as an architect and interior designer in the Middle East and Puerto Rico.  

Service Learning Class

INTD 4394: Special Topics in Interior Design: Research Methods and Applications. 

Course description

This course will study and apply top research methods for designers. Its aim is to help students understand how research on human behavior is collected in order to create more empathic design solutions. The course will train students in the different methods of collecting user-centered research data; how to analyze the information gathered; and how this information can be applied in design. 

Academic Outcomes

Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to:Understand the different alternatives of data collection in design research.

  • Be proficient in applying some of the research methods presented.
  • Develop problem identification skills so as to construct hypothesis.
  • Use analytical, critical and creative thinking in order to transform ideas into visuals.
  • Envision and act out user scenarios.
  • Have an understanding of how to publish research done. 

Service Learning Project

Title: Object Design 


Title: 20x2020. Better Building Projects Parnership

Description: Students will be asked to work on performing research together with Better Buildings in Fort Worth, a non-profit organization aiming at reducing energy use in commercial establishments by the year 2020. In this project, students will be working directly with professionals, business owners to establish research methods.

Teams and responsibilities: The group will be divided into pairs. They will report to several professional partners in the area, will apply research methods discussed in class, and do building assessments of energy use. The students are responsible of observing and collecting data, and of analyzing and presenting it to the business owners of the buildings they assessed. 

Partners: Better Building Projects, Fort Worth

Product/Result:  Students will be able to apply the research methods discussed in class at the professional level, while working with a community partner interested in decreasing energy usage, helping Fort Worth become a more conscious city.