IIDA: Lessons Learned

March 26, 2007
By Pam Light, FIIDA

There is a gradual evolution taking place in the interior design profession as an increasing number of second career professionals graduate from interior design programs and enter the workforce. As these individuals bring a varying breadth of past professional viewpoints to the field of interior design, it is no surprise that they are looking for alternatives to the normal career path to mesh their current and previous interests.

One of these alternate paths is the opportunity for post-graduate education and research. For some, this is a continuation of university study toward a masters or doctorate degree in interior design or affiliated behavioral specialties. For others, it is an interest in professional options with the opportunity to help others in their educational development such as serving as a design firm resource librarian or overseeing a firm's CEU curriculum. As these opportunities expand, there is clearly a need to service the professionals who are interacting with design in a different way, and IIDA is pleased to provide a variety of services to this important segment of the profession.

To service this market, IIDA promotes the Education and Research Forum. While most of IIDA's forums support specialty areas of design practice, the Education and Research Forum supports designers with a specific interest—providing research and education for the next generation of designers. The IIDA Education and Research Forum advances the interior design profession by promoting education and advocating the pursuit of scholarly inquiry through philosophic discussion, research and creative performance. The forum supports excellence in undergraduate, graduate, and continuing education and encourages collaboration between interior design practitioners, educators, design resource librarians and industry members—all those working on interior design research initiatives.

Under the guidance of Kim Mikula, IIDA, vice president of forums, Giselle Newman Young, IIDA, ASID, Education & Research Forum advisor, along with her task force of Carol Crawford, IIDA, Kristi Ramos, assoc. IIDA, Constanza Von Unruh, IIDA, Eric Wiedegreen, IIDA, Phil Bulone, IIDA, Margaret Anderson, assoc. IIDA and Stephanie Deshaies, IIDA has been very active in the spread of information in this area of design. The IIDA Web site, www.iida.org, has also become a central resource for posting new information in the field.

The Education and Research Forum has undertaken an ambitious philanthropic agenda targeted toward high school students—the future of the interior design profession. The ACE Mentoring Program (www.acementor.org) provides information to high school students who are exploring careers in architecture, construction and engineering. IIDA's forum arranges for Members and other interested designers to serve as mentors for high school students in their area. The forum also collects new and used design books for a book drive known as "PASSitON." The project donates these design-related books to local high school libraries—providing important resources for aspiring interior designers.

IIDA's own knowledge center also provides a number of important educational and research opportunities and makes them available to all professionals. This online resource features a database of articles and other research related to the design community. Whether your objective is to learn about current industry research or you're looking to support your professional practice needs, the database provides easy access to important interior design literature. The knowledge center also keeps Members apprised of events and CEU opportunities through the calendar of events and the database of continuing education courses.

Through the Education and Research Forum, IIDA is reaching out to aspiring interior designers and helping to shape the future of design by providing important resources for researchers in all areas of the profession. Continuing professional development is important to our Members, and we take our obligation to support the future of our profession through evidence-based design very seriously. For more information on how you can get involved, e-mail [email protected].

Pam Light, FIIDA, LEED AP, is the 2006-2007 president of IIDA and a senior vice president with HOK in Culver City, CA. IIDA is headquartered in Ste. 13-500 at the Merchandise Mart, Chicago, and can be reached at (888) 799-IIDA; www.iida.org; or [email protected].

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