Student Achievement Assessment Committee
The undergraduate Interior Design (ID) program prepares students for entry-level careers in the design profession and for graduate education programs. Graduates from this program find employment with interior design and architectural firms, furniture dealerships, materials and finishes manufacturers, and kitchen and bathroom showrooms, as well as in large corporations as in-house designers and facility managers. Courses provide knowledge about programming, design, technical drawing, computer-aided drafting, illustration and presentation skills, furniture and finishes product knowledge, history of interiors, and codes and professional practices. Teaching strategies encourage the development of critical thinking and analytical, communication, and management skills.
Learning Outcomes for Undergraduate Majors
In a variety of settings, graduates from the Interior Design program will be able to perform the following:
1. Collect and analyze data about client needs, and prepare a program prioritizing client needs so that project criteria is fully understood and can be implemented into the design process.
2. Understand the business of Interior Design so that they can prepare contract documents to legally facilitate all the components required to undertake a design project (research, programming, preliminary drawings; selecting furniture, finishes and equipment; coordination with architects, mechanical engineers, contractors and installers; finalizing drawings, purchasing schedules and code documents; placing orders with manufacturers; and arranging and supervising project installation).
3. Plan spaces utilizing program information that effectively and efficiently relate the interior space to client needs, utilizing furniture, finishes and equipment within the context of history of interiors and aesthetics (design theory — the elements and principles of design).
4. Design for client health and safety. The graduate will be knowledgeable regarding how interiors affect health and safety and whether interior elements comply with codes and regulations, particularly those that pertain to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and its underlying Universal Design (barrier-free) philosophy.
5. Have knowledge of interior products, specifically Furniture, Finishes and Equipment (FF&E). The graduate will know how products are constructed, how they are intended to be used, and how they are best maintained. The graduate will also understand how the manufacturing of interior products impacts environment and world resources in relation to endangered species, energy consumption, and labor practices.
6. Research and work with manufacturers’ representatives to establish the most appropriate equipment and materials for each specific client, and for a variety of design jobs.
7. Communicate both verbally and visually. The graduate will be able to express ideas in spoken and written language and drawings (either manually constructed or computer aided) to clearly show the client, contractors, and code officials the full extent and intent of the design project.
8. Demonstrate knowledge of building systems involved with the Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC), and also have knowledge of lighting systems and building and furniture construction techniques.
9. Research and acquire knowledge to implement interior design projects that are responsive to ecological issues and Earth’s sustainability through “green design” philosophy.
10. Work with a diversity of factors and solve problems by exercising judgment based on critical thinking and the criteria listed above (1-9) to create order out of chaos.
Ongoing Assessment and Program Activities
Faculty evaluation of student performance occurs within the curriculum using such measures as individual and group Interior Design projects (learning outcomes #1-10), exams, term papers, Computer-Aided Design assignments, oral presentations (learning outcome #7), environment- behavior research (learning outcomes #1 and #5), literature reviews, and comparisons to other programs in the state of Ohio. In addition, on a regular basis, interior design professionals and architects are invited to review and critique student project work (learning outcome #7). Field trips are organized to visit furniture dealerships and their design departments, major market centers (such as Merchandise Mart in Chicago and the Michigan Design Center in Troy, Michigan) and to the Toledo Museum of Art (learning outcomes #3 and #6). The ID Lab’s book collections, consisting of over 140 design books and twenty professional journals, is maintained and continually supplemented (learning outcome #3). Additionally, many Interior Design students obtain work experience in co-ops or internships.
The program continues the initiative of scholar lecture series. This ye i the nationally renowned interior designer Eva Maddox, who originated the idea h iw In conjunction with the lecture, the program organized a carrier day and a trade show. The trade show featured over forty vendors and more than ten design firms. The event was attended by dozens of interior design students and interior designers from the area. In this way, the program is not only upgrading the educational experience of the students, but also expanding its image as a major regional interior design education source. The events were made possible with the generous support of the College of Education and Human Development.
Data Collected From Alumni Survey
Faculty distributed a survey to alumni graduating in 2003 to assess the satisfaction, competitiveness, and employment status of our graduates. Twenty-five surveys were mailed with seven completed surveys returned. While the number of responses is problematic in terms of developing a representative picture of the experience of our graduates, the survey does provide a number of useful insights.
Practically speaking, all but one respondent indicated that they were employed (one was on maternity leave). One respondent was employed, but not within the area of her major. Although the respondents have taken positions as junior designers and sales representatives, considering the economic situation in 2003, this can be counted as a success. Design firms were laying off professionals in large numbers, and manufacturers were abstaining from hiring new staff. There were almost no openings in the area. Respondents indicated that they command salaries between $15,000 and $35,000. Again, considering the economic situation, this is a positive indicator for the program.
Most of the respondents reported that the interior design major program was very helpful or helpful in allowing them to achieve several goals: increasing knowledge in the subject matter, improving technical skills, increasing critical thinking skills, improving their understanding of the profession, increasing human relations skills, preparing them for a career, and improving their leadership skills. Respondents were split about whether the program prepared them well for internship. They were unanimous, however, that the program did not prepare them for graduate school; as noted earlier, none of the respondents are currently enrolled in graduate study.
Most of the respondents reply that the Interior Design Program delivered high quality education, high quality instruction, and quality faculty advisement. This is an increase compared to responses in previous years. Half of the respondents expressed satisfaction with the level of multidisciplinary and integrative instruction in the program. However, the majority of respondents believe that the goal of multicultural and global perspectives instruction was not met satisfactorily.
Regarding the assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the program, respondents are split and somewhat contradictory. However, we have information to construe a number of recommendations for the interior design program. These include incorporating more computer training into the program (learning outcome #7), developing and including more construction courses (learning outcome #8), providing more exposure to the ways designers operate in practice, including interaction with vendors and architects (learning outcome #3), as well as greater attention to professional practice issues (learning outcome #2), codes (learning outcome #4), specification writing, business and budgeting (learning outcomes #2, #5 and #6), and marketing and communication with clients (learning outcome #7).
Alumni input via surveys will be collected annually. The Interior Design faculty will review alumni feedback and other ideas about the program and will work to improve curriculum to address those concerns. Changes in the curriculum are contemplated for a long time but they are contingent upon resource availability.
Regarding short-term goals, we have to consider current resources and the prospects of severe budget cuts and holds on new full-time faculty positions, as well as part-time faculty positions. The major aspiration of the Interior Design Program is to find creative ways to service all students to the standards of the profession and to improve current courses. We understand the budget difficulties of Higher Education and efforts that the University leadership makes to sustain the quality of education. We appreciate the help and support from the School Director and the Dean for our program. Regarding long-term goals, we support BGSU’s dedication to become a premier learning community in Ohio, and it is the intention of the interior design faculty to make our program the leading Interior Design Program in Northwest Ohio. To this end, a long-term goal is to continue providing a high-quality education to our students by acquiring new faculty lines and by offering a wider variety of courses.