When the school year was winding down last spring, we asked for reader input regarding the importance of FIDER [Foundation for Interior Design Education Research] accreditation for interior design programs. As the temperature rose in May and June, passions did too. Since the red-hot afternoons of July, we have taken a short vacation from the timely topic, but we are compelled to open it up for public discussion once again due our growing readership and the advent of the 2005/2006 academic calendar. After the last installment, a reader wrote to us with an intriguing comment that we felt would be the perfect catalyst to revive the sparks of this important debate. See if you agree.
One reader’s viewpoint:
I have often wondered why the schools that are squealing the loudest about FIDER being a requirement for licensure, NCIDQ, etc., aren’t at least attempting to seek the accreditation” How do they know their program is "all that" unless they review the standards and apply” Frankly, I thought we were strong until we went through the FIDER process, and now I realize what all we gained! Yes, it was a lot of work, and it was expensive, but our program truly evolved for the better!
In the introduction, we provided links to the previous articles. So that you fully understand the points made so far, we recommend that you read those installments in chronological order before commenting. In addition to your visceral response to the overall topic, consider responding to the following questions as well…
Educators in non-FIDER accredited programs:
If your program does not have plans to pursue the accreditation, please explain why. Lack of funds” Lack of faculty to complete the work” Lack of interest on the part of faculty and/or on the part of higher-ups of the institution”
Educators in FIDER accredited programs:
Were you part of the process of gaining this accreditation” If so, do you agree with the opinion stated above” Does your school use its accredited status to woo students and/or grants and corporate donations”
Current students, new graduates and practicing designers:
Did the fact that your school was or was not FIDER accredited have any bearing on your decision to attend” Did you even know what FIDER accreditation meant when you were considering your education” Did institutions mention their status when advertising their programs” Are you now in the sticky situation of wanting to be licensed in your state but are having difficulty because you attended a school that was not FIDER accredited and your state’s design legislation language states the requirement of “FIDER or equivalent accredited education” for registration”
Remember, all views are welcome, and, as demonstrated above, we can keep comments anonymous if you prefer. Even though this is a hot-button issue, it is not our intention to get anyone into hot water with his/her employer, academic institution, colleagues, etc. Let freedom ring and opinions sing. Please direct correspondence to firstname.lastname@example.org. Comments will be posted starting with the January 2006 issue.