The interior design program at UNI has received national accreditation from the International Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA) for the next six years.
The program met all of the 16 standards needed to qualify, which was followed by an evaluation conducted back in February.
This August, the program heard word that they received this recognition for a six-year duration. Becoming accredited is a formal process where recognition is given to a school or program that meets certain standards of quality.
The interior design program is housed in the School of Applied Human Sciences because it focuses on the social and behavioral aspects of designing a space.
“It’s about how a space can affect human behavior,” said Dr. Gowri, an interior design professor. Gowri said many people often have a misconception of what interior design really is, and that many parents may discourage their kids from choosing the major because of this.
“HGTV really misrepresents us,” Gowri said. “It’s not about our choices, it’s about meeting the needs of a client. It’s not full creative control, but it’s a nice balance between your knowledge base and educating the client, as well as taking what the clients’ needs are.”
Interior design students are required to complete many projects as part of their coursework – often design plans shown on a mat board – in order to demonstrate what they have learned and to show their understanding of various concepts.
“We get to do a wide variety of projects in both residential and commercial design,” said Megan Axne, senior interior design major. Many of the projects involve designs for kitchens, offices, hotels, salons and spas, as well as others.
Students in the program take courses in drafting, design software and the history of interiors. In addition, students learn about the different materials used when designing a space, such as lighting, flooring, brick and stone.
Students also go on trips through the department.
“We have a lot of studied trips, going out into the community,” Gowri said. “It’s very much like the whole community is a learning lab for us – you know, we don’t hesitate to take our students out or bring others in.”
Axne expressed excitement for the program’s national accreditation.
“I am so incredibly excited for our program to finally become accredited!” Axne exclaimed. “Our interior design program was already strong, but to have this accreditation, it really enforces how amazing our program is and will continue to be.”