Having earned reaccreditation from the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA) for its undergraduate and first professional graduate degree programs, Marymount University’s Interior Design faculty is already looking for ways to get better.
“Not only do we recognize that it’s important for our students to graduate with a degree that’s recognized through national accreditation, we want to continually improve our program so our students have a clear edge when they graduate,” said Douglas Seidler, associate professor and department chair.
CIDA, the only accrediting agency for interior design, has a rigorous peer review process that ensures a program’s graduates possess the knowledge and skills needed to enter the profession. Its standards are updated every three to five years to incorporate industry changes.
For example, an emphasis on evidence-based design, where greater demand is placed on practitioners to provide justification for their work, has recently been added.
“We made a decision to introduce evidence-based design back in 2012, and the accrediting body actually followed behind us,” Seidler said. “We’ve moved away from the idea of designers being artists. In addition to creating aesthetic spaces, we now require students to offer substantial evidence in support of their designs, showing how it will improve the lives of those who are going to use the spaces they create.”
Seidler said faculty members at Marymount are always looking to be ahead of the curve.
“When we develop our curriculum, we’re not developing it to meet the minimum standards,” he said. “We’re looking to give our students a distinct advantage when they go into the workplace. In the fall, we’re going to sit down and look at our curriculum and see where we can improve.”
In three years, the interior design program will be required to submit a progress report to CIDA that addresses ongoing program development. The program will be reassessed in 2024.
“Earning an accredited degree is the path toward professional recognition and certainly makes the National Council for Interior Design Qualification exam much easier,” Seidler said.
MU’s undergraduate program has been continuously accredited by CIDA since 1985 and its first professional master’s program since 2005. The University also offers a post-professional graduate degree for individuals holding an undergraduate degree in interior design or architecture, though CIDA does not currently offer accreditation of post-professional master’s programs.