Interior design program prepares for accreditation review

The Council for Interior Design Accreditation will visit the University in October.

Caitlin Anderson

The University of Minnesota’s interior design program is preparing to be reviewed for renewed accreditation, a process that is required to maintain the program’s high status and has left faculty working non-stop.

The Council for Interior Design Accreditation is visiting the University in October to review interior design student work and speak with the administration. This review occurs every six years, said Tasoulla Hadjiyanni, director of the interior design program.

“What the accreditation means is that a program meets a certain set of standards,” said Hadjiyanni. “CIDA looks at the profession and social issues that are happening [within interior design].”

CIDA trained site visitors review the program’s compliance with the accreditation standards. These standards are internationally recognized for interior design, according to the CIDA website. 

These criteria can range from teaching student government regulations to applying a global context when designing. These standards will be reviewed in an exhibit in McNeal Hall on the St. Paul campus, featuring student work. 

Students were asked by the faculty to bring in coursework from the past three years. 

“They’ve been collecting a lot of our work from projects,” said Katelyn Flemming, an interior design student. “They’ve been making sure they have work from all areas of our classes and throughout the many years.” 

University faculty have been compiling this work to be presented to CIDA Oct. 5 through Oct. 9.

“It’s been something we’ve been working really hard on behind the scenes the past three years,” said Stephanie Zollinger, a University professor in the interior design program. “[And] making sure all the standards are covered in our courses.”

The faculty is helping prepare for the CIDA team visit where they will not only review student work, but also meet with students and the administration, and tour the program’s facilities. 

“All the interior design team is busy. It’s an arduous process,” said Genell Ebbini, a University professor in the interior design program. 

Flemming said that she can tell that the faculty is working hard. 

“I know a lot of professors are stressing to get it done in time. It’s a really big deal,” Flemming said. 

The University is one of the only two accredited interior design schools in Minnesota, the other being Dunwoody College of Technology in Minneapolis.

“The possibility of getting employment is dramatically increased by coming out of an accredited program,” Zollinger said.

Not all interior design schools are accredited, but Hadjiyanni said in order to be taken seriously the status is necessary. 

“I am not worried about the outcome,” she said. “[But] these next few weeks are bound to be 24/7 working on this and devoting all the time it will take.”