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AlumNews: Talon Articles

Interior design seeks accreditation

Monday, October 1, 2007  
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By Sara Shumate

Oklahoma Christian University’s interior design department is working to become one of the many departments with their specified accreditation to go along with the university’s general accreditation.

The interior design program is part of the art and design department.

“Our motto is that we ensure protecting the health, safety and welfare of the public, which of course is not pillow fluffing or color 101,” Instructor for Interior Design Amy Beauchamp said. “That includes anything from specifying materials that are slip resistant or fire resistant, making sure that there are means of egress so you can get out of a building if something happens: like a fire.”

Interior designers work to ensure that anyone can use a room effectively, regardless of age or disability.

“We do a lot of planning of spaces so that they function better within buildings and also furniture within rooms,” senior Lani Gunderson said. “We use the term ‘universal design:’ that all members of society can use a room with ease.”

Accreditation will soon be necessary for the interior design program to continue. States have begun to pass legislations that make graduating from an accredited program a necessity. Only three programs in the state of Oklahoma hold accreditation for interior design: the University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State University and University of Central Oklahoma.

“We would be the first and only private university in the state to hold accreditation, so that would be quite the accomplishment for OC,” Gunderson said.

In the next three to four years, an accredited program will be essential for interior design students because graduation from an accredited program will be required for students to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualifications exam.

“If we don’t become accredited within the next few years, then we could lose the program,” Beauchamp said. “Because otherwise, we have no business offering a degree. Here at OC, we have about 50 students in the program who are from all over the United States and every state’s legislation is different.”

The Council of Interior Design Accreditation reviews the past four years of the interior design program’s work for the accreditation process, culminating in an accreditation visit to the school. The review of the class work ensures that students are prepared to work at industry standards.

“A statistic we found about a while back is that there are anywhere from 10,000-12,000 high school students who want to get a degree in interior design from a Christian university,” Beauchamp said. “Not just a regular university, a Christian university, and right now there are only three, maybe four, Christian universities across the United States that are accredited. So, if we are on that list that would be a very large recruiting tool.”

The accreditation visit will take place Oct. 8-11. There will be an interior design gallery during that week. The show is the first that is entirely interior design. The gallery opening will be Sunday, Oct. 7 at 7 p.m. It is open to the public, and all students are invited to attend.

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