About Us

Professor Atsuko Sakai

Born and raised in Japan, Atsuko Sakai has a strong background in the visual arts, ten years of architectural practice, and expertise in community outreach through PreK-12 architectural design education. She received her B.A. in Environmental Design from Kyoto City University of Arts in Japan and her Masters degree in Architecture from the University of New Mexico (UNM). She worked for Quinn Evans Architects in Washington DC on design projects unique to the capital including the renovation of the John F. Kennedy Center, the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian, and various educational facilities and museums. She also directed design education programs at Design Plus LLC, Albuquerque, NM and taught at the School of Architecture and the Honors College at UNM.

Many of her core courses are designed to study the ways of life and explore the world around us through a lens of art, design, and architecture. She uses the design process as a form of pedagogy, which embraces interdisciplinary investigations of the artistic, ecological, and cultural intersections between human perception and creation where our creative minds meet and interact; it is the driving force of her curiosity, inspiration, and insight into what she teaches and why she teaches.

Since arriving at USF in 2016, she has taught various Honors General Education courses including:

  • Information Literacy & Data Literacy: IDH 2010 Acquisition of Knowledge (AOK)
  • Creative Thinking: IDH 3100 Arts & Humanities courses (1. Home: Designing Where We Live, 2. Mandala: the Art and Science of Composition, 3. Illumination Installation: Playing with Light & Shadow, and 4. Design Formula - Human・Nature・Objects・Idea)
  • Human & Cultural Diversity: IDH 4200 Geographical Perspectives (Japan)
  • High Impact Practice: IDH 4950 Honors Capstone courses (1. Spatial Effects: Places for Healing and Well-being, and 2. Exploring Behind the Veil: The New Honors Building)

She currently directs the IDH 4970 Honors Thesis I & II courses for the Tampa campus and she has also led Honors study abroad trips to Japan. She is one of the full-time faculty who participated in the development of Honors Medical Humanities in a Global Context Pathway program funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and teaches courses such as AOK focused on Medical Humanities, Geographical Perspectives: Experience Japan from Hospitals to Hospitality (Omotenashi), and Honors Capstone: Spatial Effects - Places for Healing and Well-being. She is also a committee member for the construction of the new Judy Genshaft Honors College building and developed an Honors Capstone course to integrate unique learning opportunities into the Honors curriculum during the construction phase through a collaboration with various partners including USF Facility Management, architects, contractors, and design consultants (landscape, sustainability, structural engineering, and interior design).

Contact Professor Atsuko Sakai.
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