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We appreciate your interests in Universal Design, a global movement of inclusive design practice initiated at NC State University College of Design. The Center for Universal Design is currently not active due to funding challenges. We are working to revive the Center, hopefully in the near future. We are unable at this time to provide assistance to your design inquiries.

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Sean Vance Photo

Sean Vance, AIA
Acting Director



Sean Vance is a registered architect, teaching courses focused on a human centric understanding and the experience of a collaborative design philosophy.  His interests are in universal design, architectural design, urban spatial form, conceptual product design, and research in the effects of form on human interaction and function of daily life.

Sean has taught a series of courses and studios in architecture and most recently a cross disciplinary course in the College of Design.  This interdisciplinary course analyzes the interaction between people and their use of the environment in which they live.  This is a philosophy that he embraces both academically and professionally, sharing with students and colleagues the pursuit of solutions respondent to the way people live within the constraints of their abilities.  Most recently Sean has taught architectural studios on Urban Design that reflect upon Universal Design by having students analyze their solutions through the Center’s Principles of Universal Design and the AIA’s Principles for Livable Communities. Sean also works with students compiling an understanding of materials and material applications responsive to human senses to create a materials library.  This exposes young designers to a language of experience for applications in universal design.  Sean brings to the Center 15 years of architectural design experience, and his work has always been from perspective of the user, instinctively deploying the fundamentals of Universal Design.

Before joining the Center for Universal Design and School of Architecture faculty, Sean has been practicing architecture in a variety of communities throughout the East Coast and in 2004 began his own practice.  Sean is a graduate of NC State’s Master of Architecture program where he studied architecture and industrial design and was a member of Tau Sigma Delta.

Sean also serves the architectural community through his participation at the state and national levels of the American Institute of Architects.

Sharon Joines Photo

Sharon Joines
Ergonomist, Assistant Industrial Design Professor



Sharon Joines is a researcher and ergonomist, teaching courses in human centered design and ergonomics. Her interests reside in universal design, applied product and process research, and the effect of aging on fatigue development and work. Her research focuses on quantifying the interaction between individuals, products, and their environment. Sharon works with engineers and designers in all phases of the design cycle. The challenges they have addressed traversed consumer markets, warehousing and distribution, medical applicaitons, and manufacturing environments ranging from forging to clean rooms.

Before joining the faculty in Industrial Design and the Center for Universal Design, Sharon was the director of research and education at the Ergonomics Center of North Carolina. She was a John T Caldwell Scholar, Merit Scholar, University Scholar, and NC Fellow. She is a member of the Order of Thirty and Three, Alpha Pi Mu, and the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society.

Nilda Cosco

Nilda Cosco



Nilda Cosco holds a degree in Educational Psychology, Universidad del Salvador, Buenos Aires, and a Ph.D. in Landscape Architecture, Heriot Watt University, Scotland. She has a passion for the impact of outdoor environments on health outcomes such as obesity, sedentary lifestyles, attention functioning, and well-being. Her current research is supported by the National Institute of Environmental Health (NIEHS), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the Buffalo Hospital Foundation. She was the Co-PI of the Post Occupancy Evaluation (POE) of Kids Together Park sponsored by the Center for Universal Design in 2005. She is the co-author of "Well-being by Nature: Therapeutic Gardens for Children."

In January 2000, Dr. Cosco co-founded the Natural Learning Initiative (NLI), College of Design NC State University, with responsibilities for design programming and research of outdoor areas for children with and without disabilities.

Before settling in the USA, Dr. Cosco was director of the National Lekotek Center of Argentina, an institution that manages a national system of toy libraries and playrooms, and runs programs for children with special needs and at-risk youth. She coordinated the development of the design guidelines and specifications for the rehabilitation of the headquarters in Buenos Aires, and delivered national and international play-leadership training courses for children with disabilities. In 1995, she trained professional staff for the opening of the National Lekotek Center of Brazil, São Paulo.

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