Nancy Kwallek

Professor Emeritus

Gene Edward Mikeska Endowed Chair Emeritus for Interior Design

Emeritus Faculty, Nancy Panak Kwallek is the recipient of numerous awards. In 2008 she was awarded the Gene Edward Mikeska Endowed Professorship for Interior Design by the late F. Marie Hall of Midland, Texas.  Later the professorship was elevated to the Gene Edward Mikeska Endowed Chair for Interior Design, whereupon it became the first chair in the country for any Interior Design discipline, and continues to fund the design and research of remaining Interior Design professors in the School of Architecture.  In 2015 The University of Texas at Austin’s late president, William C. Powers, Jr. and the School of Architecture established the Dr. Nancy Panak Kwallek Endowed Chair in Design & Planning in the School of Architecture with a major contribution from the late Marie Hall.

Dr. Kwallek has received numerous other grants and recognitions of her work  including her color work featured in the three-part international documentary film, Cracking the Color Code, produced by Electric Pictures Pty Ltd and sponsored by the countries of Australia and France. Also, Dr. Kwallek received a Lifetime Achievement Award from her alma mater in 2011.

At The University of Texas at Austin, Dr. Kwallek headed the interior design program from 1983 – 1997 (when she arrived and when it was in the College of Natural Sciences) and continued to head the program when she, Dean Speck, and Provost Yudof moved the program to the School of Architecture in 1997.  In 2007, Dr. Kwallek wrote and proposed a master’s degree in Interior Design.  The Master’s Degree (MID) was approved in 2010 with the first graduate students accepted in the Fall of 2013.  Dr. Kwallek taught a range of courses such as Interiors and Society, Designing for Human Behavior, Interior Design History I—Antiquity through the Eighteenth Century, Interior Design History II—Nineteenth Century through the early Twentieth Century, Twentieth and Twenty-First Century Designers, and Research in Interior Design with focus on The Effects of Color in the Office Environment on Office Workers.  Prior to joining The University of Texas at Austin faculty and remaining for 32 years, she developed and taught a program at San Diego State University and developed the Interior Design program at Indiana University.

Dr. Kwallek’s academic research has been published in top conferences and journals such as the International Colour Association (AIC) and Color Research and Application. She has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Nature news, The Scientist news, The Wall Street Journal blog, and on CNN and NPR—to name a few.

Dr. Kwallek has been widely cited internationally.  As of 2023, some of her empirical research articles have been cited over 100 times internationally.  Her writing: Effects of environmental colour on males and females: A red or white or green office (241 citations); Impact of three interior color schemes on worker mood and performance relative to individual environmental sensitivity (191 citations); Effects of office interior color on workers' mood and productivity (183 citations); Effects of nine monochromatic office interior colors on clerical tasks and worker mood (165 citations); and, Work week productivity, visual complexity, and individual environmental sensitivity in three offices of different color interiors (120 citations). In addition, she has presented her research on five continents.


  • Kent State, B.S. (Honors)
  • Oregon State, M.S. 
  • Purdue, Ph.D.
Nancy Kwallek
  • Interiors and Society
  • Interior Design History and Theory
  • 20th & 21st Century Interiors
  • Professional Practice in Interior Design
  • Designing for Human Behavior
  • Effects of Interior Environments on Individuals, with a Concentration on the Ambiance of Color on Office Workers

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Stephanie Choi

2020-2023 Emerging Scholar in Design Fellow

Igor Siddiqui

Associate Professor
Program Director for Interior Design

Nerea Feliz

Associate Professor
Graduate Advisor for Interior Design