The program is housed within the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences and prepares students to be ethical, caring, humane and creative problem solvers in the interior design profession. The program is currently a unique and balanced combination of interior design, liberal arts, and business courses. It offers a theoretical and practical balanced approach to understanding residential and commercial design (the two main areas in which entry-level interior designers are hired) along with a required professional internship before graduation. The mode of study is through studio and lecture classes in which active learning happens through interactions in studio critiques (peer, faculty, outside evaluators), concept development and hands-on problem solving. Small class sizes and extensive faculty (with diverse range of professional specializations) contact hours enable frequent feedback in the learning process. Course content is reinforced in each parallel or successive course so that students are enabled a cohesive and comprehensive view of the interior design profession. Proximal access to updated resources (computer labs, reference books, drafting, cutting and duplicating equipment) supplements the course instruction in an excellent work environment.
The mission of the Interior Design area is to prepare students to be ethical, responsible critical thinkers, and effective problem-solving professionals in the fields of residential and commercial design by providing a unique, current, diverse, and high quality learning experience.
To maintain the uniqueness of this area in its balanced emphasis on disseminating 1) knowledge - of general and design theories, methods and design applications from historical, multicultural and current perspectives, 2) empathetic understanding – of peoples’ needs, preferences and behavior in their environments and 3) an entrepreneurial perspective.
- To maintain a curriculum that balances the broad liberal aspects of education (liberal arts, sciences, humanities) with the specialized content integral to the profession.
- To maintain and strengthen the unique link with the curriculum of the business program.
- To maintain a balanced emphasis on the design of residential and commercial environments.
- To maintain a balanced emphasis within coursework on designing functional yet aesthetically pleasing environments.
- To maintain a balance between lessons learned from history and other cultures and current design applications.
Goal: Current Curriculum
To maintain a focus on current design-related issues in the program that best prepares students to learn, critique and adapt problem-solving approaches to a complex and ever-changing world; a crucial aspect in both residential and commercial design fields.
- To offer an undergraduate program that meets the standards of our accrediting agency - Council for Interior Design Accreditation
- To offer coursework that contains projects with emphasis on current design concerns such as environmental sustainability, green design, up-to-date code compliance measures, and adaptive re-use of existing buildings.
- To assist students in acquiring high levels of current technical and substantive knowledge, problem solving techniques, and critical thinking skills (through coursework, assignments and projects) that will help them successfully compete for local and national entry-level positions in the interior design profession.
- To engage students in current community-based design problems that link them to community service and provide insight into real-world complexity.
Goal: Diverse Learning Experience
To provide a range of diverse professional experiences that is an integral part of hands-on learning.
- To expose students to more than one professional point of view through course instruction and actual encounters with practicing designers and researchers.
- To integrate the diverse contributions of the faculty in the learning experience.
- To maintain and strengthen learning opportunities and experiences, that is, field trips and case studies outside the classroom.
- To engage design professionals in the community and beyond in studio critiques of design projects.
- To maintain student participation in the internship at the end of the program.
Goal: High-Quality Learning Community
To engage students and faculty in a high-quality learning community that encourages a creative exchange of ideas in an environment with high quality resources.
- To maintain a high quality program by recruiting students with high academic and creative potential.
- To manage enrollment effectively (via review of portfolio and academic standards) to efficiently use existing resources.
- To provide small classes that offer an ideal optimized learning environment with high level of one-on-one faculty-student contact, and more personalized direction. These are also the Council for Interior Design Accreditation guidelines.
- To maintain the program’s emphasis on ethics and social responsibility by using examples in course instruction, and encouraging students to question their own actions and behavior as it fits within this objective.
- To maintain the highest quality instruction and enhance the reputation of the Interior Design area by supporting excellence in teaching (recognition of teaching, opportunities for personal development).
- To maintain the participation of design professionals from the community in project critiques, and conversely, engage the students in design-related service to the community.
- To effectively communicate to the public and design professionals at regional and national levels, the expertise and contributions of our interior design majors and faculty.