Watkins College of Art, Design & Film is adding a new concentration in sustainable design to its curriculum beginning in the Spring 2013 semester, it was announced by Ellen L. Meyer, president of Watkins. The College received approval for the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design, Sustainable Design Concentration from the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), the national accrediting agency for art and design and art- and design-related disciplines.
Complementing the College’s present Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design, the Sustainable Design Concentration will provide an opportunity for students to acquire additional skill development and project exploration in work that meet human needs without compromising the environment, such as creating designs that use non-toxic or recycled materials in building materials and fabrics.
“The study of sustainable design—essential in today’s world—places the College in a leadership position by ensuring that students responsibly address the environment in which we live, work and play,” said President Meyer.
According to the US Department of Labor, employment of interior designers is expected to grow 19% from 2006 to 2016. Positions relating to sustainable design have been created that did not exist ten years ago, and sustainable interior designers or consultants will fare better than average by differentiating themselves from the rest of the generalized group. For example, the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) has increased its sustainability requirements for new construction and substantial renovation projects, stipulating that such projects be certified under the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program at a minimum Gold level.
Cheryl Gulley, professor and chair of the interior design department, said, “Interior design clients are increasingly more savvy and desire a less environmentally-demanding footprint. Employment opportunities are growing nationwide in environmental organizations and in architectural, engineering, construction and design firms, many of which have divisions dedicated to delivering sustainable proposals for healthcare, hospitality and educational facilities.”
Students who elect to participate in the new Sustainable Design Concentration will complete the existing interior design courses relating to sustainable design, as well as new courses in the ecology of design, global sustainability, and sustainable building systems. In addition, student thesis work in this concentration will focus on sustainable aspects of design as a primary component of their yearlong Senior Thesis experience.
Spring 2012 classes begin on January 17.
At left: Sustainable kitchen by Taylor Barker
At right: Residential model by Rachel Swan
About the Department
Watkins Interior Design students are consistently recognized for their creativity and professionalism in both academic competitions and community involvement. Watkins won the 2012 student competition at the annual conference of the Tennessee Chapter of ASID (American Society of Interior Designers) in October and, for the past two years, a Watkins student has received the chapter’s top honor, the Jane D. Reagor Award for outstanding interior design student in the state.
Alumni of the program can be found in commercial, residential, hotel, restaurant, healthcare and furniture design, with all members of the 2012 graduating class currently employed in the interior design arena.
Watkins’ Interior Design program is accredited by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA), recognizing that the standards and educations given are of the highest quality.
About the Program
The Interior Design program at Watkins College of Art, Design & Film promotes a curriculum intended to educate the student who is intent on a professional career as a registered interior designer with strong links to the professional communities that are impacting the twenty first century. Students who earn a BFA degree in Interior Design at Watkins will possess professional presentation techniques and technical skills, will be capable of creating innovative designs, analyze and problem solve, and understand the application of appropriate material use and code requirements. Courses offered within the interior design major encourage the student to develop imaginative, responsible solutions to problems created by social needs and economic constraints, as well as the material and physical limitations of the built environment. The integration of fine art classes elevates the student’s ability to develop resourceful responses and further balances the increasing demands of technology. The BFA in Interior Design culminates with the successful completion of an individually selected Thesis Project, which is intended to be a clear demonstration of expertise in a chosen area of interest.
About the College
Watkins College of Art, Design & Film is a four-year baccalaureate college offering a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Film, Fine Art, Graphic Design, Interior Design and Photography, a Bachelor of Arts in Art, and a Professional Certificate in Film. The faculty and staff are committed to a learning-centered environment that challenges students to engage the mind, train the eye and cultivate talent and skill into an active realization of creative potential. Established in 1885 as a community-based learning institution, Watkins became a baccalaureate college in 1997. It continues to shape and positively influence the cultural horizon and economy of our community through art, design and film instruction in an academic setting, as well as through the Community Education program for youth, teens and adults. Watkins is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), and Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA).