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Rula Awwad Rafferty

Rula Awwad-Rafferty

Department of Design and Environments Chair, Professor, Design UI Service Learning Fellow


AA 306



Mailing Address

Interior Architecture and Design Program
University of Idaho
875 Perimeter Drive MS 2481
Moscow, Idaho 83844-2481

I teach a range of design studios, hands-on applied and theory courses (cultural and spatial agency, universal design, etc); Junior and Senior ID studios (community based) and theory courses. Previously I also taught Junior, senior, and graduate LARC studios and theory courses, graduate studios and thesis, integrated college and university curriculum, and advise undergraduate and graduate students in the college/university.


I am an engaged university citizen. I lead and serve as on several committees across campus, community, profession and globally to address issues of access, equity, engagement, and excellence. I have served previously as the faculty adviser for the umbrella multicultural student organization on campus–UNITY. I am a member of the President's Diversity Council and serve as co-chair for the campus culture, climate and continuous improvement subcommittee.


I am a service learning fellow affiliated with center for excellence in teaching and learning, and an environmental Science-Social Science core faculty as well. I embrace a scholarship of outreach and engagement, pedagogy, and discovery; from participatory/emancipatory approach; weaving many narratives to understand the numerous authentic stories of place, identity, and people. I love working across many paradigms and disciplines, always pushing a boundary or exploring a possibility.

  • PhD, Interdisciplinary: Arch, PolySci, Anth, ID, Washington University, 1995
  • M Arch in Vernacular Architecture, University of Idaho, 1990
  • B Arch, Yarmouk University, 1985

  • Decolonizing Interior Architecture & Design Education. A CIDA Imitative/Working group. 
  • Diversity, mentoring & Faculty development: The Many Lives of Faculty & Staff in Higher Education: Rituals of Repair and Renewal. Imagining America 2022 Roundtable session. Rula Awwad-Rafferty (UI), and Hala Zahalqa (Fulbright-UI). Fall 2022. New Orleans, LA. 
  • Sustainability and climate change/ Place-geography-and change: Amman Trajectories of Change: The Pulse of Current and Future Jordanian Municipal Growth & Resilience of Place and People. Rula Awwad-Rafferty, Dan Cronan, Hala Baraket. EDRA 53 Greenville. May 2022.
  • Environment and behavior interaction
  • Factors affecting quality of life in the built environment: physical, cultural, social, and psychological
  • Culture and resettlement: resettlement of cultural groups, elderly, health care applications, and military
  • Adaptive reuse applications and community building
  • Sense of place: place attachment and identity, conflict and place, security and place attachment
  • Vernacular architecture
  • Interdisciplinary design education
  • Experiential approaches to understanding the physical and metaphorical parameters of interior spaces
  • Studio applications

  • Rula Awwad-Rafferty, Tyron Yang. 0. E. Mansour. Homa Hadayat, Erin Peavy. Crossing Boundaries in Times of Uncertainty: EDR Education and Collaborations between Practice, Research and Education. EDRA 52. Summer 2021
  • Awwad-Rafferty, R., El Hajj, H. In Pursuit of Authenticity, Happiness & Prosperity Spatial Agents of Change. IDEC International Conference.  Tulsa, OK. (Refereed Paper Presentation and Publication in proceedings-Scholarship of Teaching). Spring 2020.
  • Awwad-Rafferty, R. Vessels within Vessels: Diversity, Contextual Frames and Community Engagement. Published In IDEC Exchange Spring 2018.
  • Awwad-Rafferty, R. Theater for the People-Revitalization and Place Remembering through Photoelicitation. EDRA49, Oklahoma City, OK. (Double blind Group presentation review and abstract publication in proceedings). In Social Equity: Giving Voice to the Unrepresented through Ethnographic Photo-elicitation Participatory Design Strategies track. Summer 2018.
  • Paxson, L.; Awwad-Rafferty, R., Blackgoat, G.  Voices of Place – Indigenous Placemaking: Whose Stories Matter? EDRA48 Madison, WI.  (Double blind Group presentation review and abstract publication in proceedings). In Voices of Culture and Globalization Track. (Awwad-Rafferty, R.  Sharing the story and holding the door wide open. In group presentation with Blackgoat G (Indigenizing Government Housing), and Paxson, L. (Valuing our own stories)). Summer 2017.
  • Awwad-Rafferty, R.; McCollough, M.; Andersen, A.; Albertson, E.; Johnson, M., Tanner, C.  Servicescape and Student Engagement Level: For Students, By Students. IDEC International Conference. Chicago, IL. (Refereed Paper Presentation and Publication in proceedings-Scholarship of Teaching).  Spring 2017.
  • O’Shea, L.; Awwad-Rafferty, R. The Designers Role in Safety and Security: The Use of Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED) Principles as Case Study Explorations in Design Studio. IDEC International Conference.  Chicago, IL. (Refereed Paper Presentation and Publication in proceedings).  Spring 2017.
  • R. Awwad-Rafferty, L. O’Shea. Safety and Security: The Designer’s Role.  In:  Implications.  VOL. 11 Issue 03.  2016. (Translational; Research Article, more than 10,000 readership)
  • Bose, M., Horrigan, P, and Awwad-Rafferty, R. Democratic Design praxis with Community. Full Theme track for International Conference. Double Blind reviewed / Refereed Presentation, Abstract Publication in Proceedings, refereed conference submissions under track, and closing Plenary session). EDRA45 Track. New Orleans, Louisiana. Summer 2014
  • Awwad-Rafferty, R. Wicked Problems, Agency, Design Thinking, and Navigating Expertise in Design Studio: The Role of EBR. Presentation in Environmental Design Research in Design Studios:  Pedagogical Approaches and Significance in Design Learning Symposia (Nisha Fernando et al). EDRA 44 Providence. Double Blind reviewed / Refereed Presentation and Abstract Publication in Proceedings. May 2013.
  • Awwad-Rafferty, R. Graff, E. Designing Locally with Global Vision: An Emerging Authentic "Engagement and Design" Systems Thinking Approach from Experiences in Rural America. EDRA 2012. Summer 2012. Seattle, WA. Full paper publication and Concurrent paper presentation session. Double Blind reviewed / Refereed Paper Presentation and FULL PAPER Publication in Proceedings)AIA , ASLA , IDCEC CEU May 2012.
  • Gowri Betrabet Gulwadi, Christine H. Jazwinski, Rula Awwad-Rafferty, Laurel J. Heggernes, and Joel S. Harland. Promoting an understanding of the person-environment context through reflective environmental autobiographies of university students. Summer 2012. EDRA 2012Seattle, WA. Concurrent paper presentation session and abstract publication in Proceedings. Double Blind reviewed / Refereed Paper Presentation and Abstract Publication in Proceedings). AIA , ASLA , IDCEC CEU . May 2012.
  • Christine H. Jazwinski, Gowri Betrabet Gulwadi, Rula Awwad-Rafferty, Laurel J. Heggernes, and Joel S. Harland Attention to environmental context in psychology and design students: Holistic cognition, autobiographical memory and ecological attitudes. Concurrent Paper presentation session and abstract publication in Proceedings. Environmental Design research Association International Conference EDRA 42. Chicago, USA. (Blind reviewed / Refereed Paper presentation and abstract publication in proceedings). May 2011.
  • Awwad-Rafferty, R. Summer 2010. Confronting Difficult Questions in Community Based Design and Research. Environmental Design Research Association International Conference EDRA 41. Washington DC. (Refereed Paper Presentation, AIA CEU, and abstract publication in proceedings). May 2010.
  • Awwad-Rafferty, R., O’Shea, L. 2009. "Design & Security in the Built Environment," Fairchild Books.
  • Awwad-Rafferty, R., Essay on Service for Chapter 2 (The Nature of Interior Design Education) and on engaged learning/service learning for Chapter 5 (Studio Learning), in: The Roles of the Full-Time Academic in Interior Design: Practical Strategies for Teaching & Learning. Kathy Ankerson and Jill Pable. Fairchild Books. March 2008. (invited, and blind reviewed)
  • Online Field / Engagement Report: Being in Place, of Place, in Qula. Rula Awwad-Rafferty. 2008. Published in Zochrot Activities Reports; English and Hebrew.
  • Awwad-Rafferty, R. and Bronstein, E. Qula Is/ Was/ Will Be: A Merging of Two Landscapes. Summer 2009. Environmental Design research Association International Conference EDRA 40. Kansas City, Missouri. (Refereed Paper Presentation and abstract publication in proceedings).  2009.
  • Alabanzer Akers, M., Amor, C., Awwad-Rafferty, R., Camargo, E., Fernando, N., Sixmith, A., Moore, G. Cross. Cultural/International Research: Contributing to the Environment-Behavior Body of Knowledge. Summer 2008. Environmental Design Research Association International conference EDRA 39. Vera Cruz, Mexico. (Refereed International Connections session/intensive, workshop/intensive presentation and abstract publication in proceedings)

  • Interdisciplinary service learning and outreach project with Idaho  museum for International Diaspora with Arch. colleague Anne Marshall and IMID-Boise exec director and stakeholders. Fall 2020-Ongoing.
  • Idaho Commission on the Blind and Visually Impaired collaboration with Alison Steven and Shane Hyde. Ongoing. 
  • Countless outreach and engagement projects with local university and community groups, rural communities, tribal nations, and with global partners (details in CV)
  • Rula Awwad-Rafferty. Our Stories. Invited keynote presentation to USDA- NRCS Idaho 2019 Diversity Day: Fostering Diversity & Inclusion in the Workplace.  Fall 2019.
  • Idaho Spirit, Sculpture anchoring memory and place in a Moscow, ID downtown third place, honoring roots and continuity. Facilitation, co-authorship of design, and stewardship of fabrication and installation with Jolene Williams (stakeholder), David Mundy (fabrication and installation), Ashly Buzzini, Brooks Boyer, Hani El Hajj, Summer 2019.
  • Campus Community Forum 2019:  Three community engagement projects displayed:  Liberty theater engaged design with Liberty theater Alliance group, Gritman medical center visions, and Williams Tribute.
  • Rula Awwad-Rafferty, Carla Brisotto, Eleftherios Pavlides, Anthony Kim, and Shauna Mallory-Hill. Social Equity: Giving Voice to the Unrepresented through Ethnographic Photo-elicitation.  Blind reviewed for Participatory design Strategies Pre-conference intensive.  EDRA49, Oklahoma City, OK. Summer 2018.
  • Imagining America Workshop: refereed, team developed, led by Kush Patel, Mallika Bose, Organizing Against Violence: A Community-Engaged Pedagogy and Praxis Workshop (followed by co-writing).  Development and participation, co-writing. Chicago.Fall 2018.
  • Awwad-Rafferty, R. Breaking Barriers Together: Lessons in Social Justice, Empathy, and E-B Action.  EDRA47 Raleigh, NC.  (Double blind presentation review and abstract publication in proceedings). Summer 2016.
  • The Jeff Martin Wind Sculpture Memory Garden Project direction and Design.  Moscow, ID. Project director and design (with Josh Hail. LA graduate). Completed for Gritman Medical Center, August 2013. Funds raised, infrastructure and sculptures installed December 2014. Construction completed Summer 2015.
  • Amber Eisenbraun. Alena Horowitz. Vanessa Kaminski and, Rula Awwad-Rafferty. Design Thinking and Action as if People Mattered: It’s Greek ... It’s Community ... & ... It is Building with Change. EDRA 45 New Orleans, Double Blind reviewed poster presentation, EDRA 45. Summer 2014.
  • The Landscape of Accountable Care: How a Patient Focus is Changing the Industry. EDRA Inaugural Translational Research Symposium. October 2013.  New York City, New York. Organizing Committee, and Symposium Chair/MC. 
  • Reflections on Service, Outreach & Engagement:  Two personal stories.EDRA Connections (January, 2013).  Rula Awwad-Rafferty & Malika Bose.
  • Rising of the Phoenix: Telling of Trauma, Symbols, and Resilience as a Shared Human Centered Experience. Rula Awwad-Rafferty. EDRA 45 New Orleans. Double blind reviewed, EDRA 45. EDRA Short. Summer 2014.
  • Counter-Mapping Return. Workshop report and journal publication.  Einat Manoff, Umar Alghubari, Matan Boord, Eitan Bronstein, Amir Hillel, Ismat Shbeita, Fadi Shbeita, Fat'hiyyeh Shbeita, Tal Haran, Masha Zussman, Adam Freeman, Nimrod Zin, Claire Oren, Rula Awwad-Rafferty. Published in Sedek 6: Towards return of Palestinian refugees. June 2011.
  • Qula Remembering—Images in the Stones. Summer 2010. Engagement and artistic expression/installation. Awwad-Rafferty, R., Kassab, K, Bronstein, E., Eghbarieh, O; and Gopher, U.  Art Installation. Qula. Summer, 2010.
  • The “EDRA” Story Project.  Thierry Rosenheck (Dept. of State), Celeste Tell (Fair Building technology) and Rula Awwad-Rafferty (University of Idaho), Engagement and outreach/scholarship.  Videography. 2009-ongoing
  • Awwad-Rafferty, R.; Drown, S; and Matanovic, M. From Research to Policy to Action: Community-Based Design in Underserved and Rural Areas. Summer 2010. Environmental Design research Association International Conference EDRA 41. Washington DC. (90 minute Blind Reviewed Symposium, AIA CEU, and abstract publication in proceedings).May 2010.
  • Persson, H., Laumatia, L., Awwad-Rafferty, R., Drown, S, and Ackerman, A. Ethical Questions of Participation, Integration, and Implications in Planning and Design.Summer 2009. Environmental Design research Association International Conference EDRA 40. Kansas City, Missouri. (Refereed workshop presentation and abstract publication in proceedings).2009.
  • Awwad-Rafferty, Rula.  Women’s Voices and Visions: Standing Together. Summer 2009. Environmental Design research Association International Conference EDRA 40. Kansas City, Missouri. (Refereed interactive paper/poster presentation and abstract publication in proceedings). 2009.
  • Native American Student development Conference. Participant. 2008 
  • Quality of Graduate Education retreat facilitator. May 2008. University of Idaho. Moscow, ID.
  • Inland Northwest Partnership --Revitalizing Your Community Through Grassroots Leadership. Exhibit and representation of BSCI. Post Falls, ID. Summer, 2008. 
  • Susan Nathan visit and lecture: The other side of Israel. University wide/cross campuses with WSU initiation, team building, fund raising, coordination, and delivery. Fall 2008. 
  • Idaho Green Expo, Boise, ID. Exhibit, outreach representing BSCI, BRP, MOSS, and Department of Landscape Architecture and University of Idaho. Summer 2008. 
  • Learning Practice Collaborative supervision with Stites, Idaho. Student: Hanna Persson. Spring and summer 2008. 
  • Community centers as a third place (in partnership with Horizons program), Spring and summer 2008. 
  • The Idaho House/and The Governor’s mansion alternatives’ explorations—In progress work with Idaho First Lady Lori Otter. Spring 2008. 
  • Interdisciplinary steering group --campus and community engagement-- to facilitate, coordinate, and fundraise for Greg Mortenson’s (Three Cups of Tea) visit to campus, and to sponsor building a school in Pakistan in the name of the University of Idaho community. Fall 2007 and spring 2008.

  • Alumni Association Award for Faculty Excellence (more than 15 awards).
  • 2020 LEIBROCK UNIVERSAL DESIGN SCHOLARSHIP Award for faculty professional development in Colorado with Cynthia Leibrock. Received Spring 2020, for experience occurring summer 2021 due to COVID-19.
  • Participated in ACE Leadership Academy for Department Chairs. One of 5 University of Idaho members attending. Summer 2018.
  • IDEC 2017 People’s Choice Award of Excellence on blind reviewed presentation with students “Servicescape and Student Engagement Level: For Students, By Students.”
  • Virginia Wolf Distinguished Faculty Service Award, 2017
  • Hermana de Apollo Award from the Beta Gamma Chapter of Sigma Lambda Beta International Fraternity. 2016
  • Commencement Speaker for Multicultural Students Graduation, University of Idaho. Fall 2016
  • Disability Action Center NW ’s Vital Resource Award, only one is given annually. 2015
  • Inaugural Dr. Arthur Maxwell Taylor Excellence in Diversity Award-Faculty. University of Idaho.2014
  • Elected to EDRA Board of Director’s 2012, served as chair elect 2012, chair 2013-2014, at large 2015, and ex officio Governance Chair 2016.
  • Gritman Medical Center Board of Directors.  Trustee
  • Rosa Parks Human Rights Community Award from Latah County Human Rights Taskforce LCHRTF. January 2012.
  • Rotary International -International Service Chair, Moscow, ID--Participated in Rotary International Ambassadorial Scholars sponsoring counselors’ orientation/training, San Jose, CA. 2012. (Sponsoring counselor to outgoing ambassadorial Scholar Niki Lee, RI District 5080)
  • The 2008 University of Idaho Excellence of Outreach Award, 2008.
  • Became a University of Idaho Service Learning Fellow, 2007
  • University of Idaho Dr. Martin Luther King Distinguished Service Award, 2006

Interior Architecture and Design

Mailing Address:
875 Perimeter Drive MS 2451
Moscow, ID

Phone: 208-885-4409

Fax: 208-885-9428


Interior Architecture and Design