Overhauling Interior Design Education Across the U.S.
Although Shashi Caan should be applauded for her concern about these issues, it is disingenuous of her to imply that “there isn’t a serious research-based or masters-level [Interior Design] program.” [“Why Shashi Caan Is Overhauling Interior Design Education”] She might believe that she is overhauling interior design education in New York, but the most interesting educational design offerings are to be found outside any narrow definition of the field. There are many serious and progressive programs in the United States—some of which are at Masters level—that are actively seeking to distance themselves from the orthodox view of the subject that is the current status quo.
That orthodoxy is promulgated by the only accrediting body for interior design in the United States and Canada: FIDER. Many of these schools do not teach interior design as defined by this body, but are more interested in a broader, more progressive and interdisciplinary view that accurately reflects the changing landscape of the design profession. The professional bodies and legislators will eventually catch up with this new reality, and we may one day have an accreditation process for this subject area which properly recognizes and encourages creative thinking. Design schools have a responsibility to resist the slide towards the narrowing of definitions serving only a professional partisanship, which ultimately will not be in the best interests of their students.
Head, Department of Interior Architecture
Rhode Island School of Design