While the conversation surrounding diversity, equity, and inclusivity (DEI) and its importance in the interior design profession is critical, it is not new. Many organizations and universities have incorporated these concepts into their hiring requirements and their mission statements. As educators, it is critical that we prepare our students for the professional application of classroom knowledge and the importance of collaboration with a diverse group of individuals. An understanding of the benefits of a diverse project team and the development of empathy for other lived experiences is a necessity to prepare students to succeed in the interior design profession. Interior design educators are in a unique position to guide conversations focused on DEI. Higher education institutions do not have the restrictions that the interior design profession has, and this allows students to have meaningful conversations and explore innovative solutions that are sometimes too time-consuming for the professional environment (McClung, 2019). The learning experience is an essential part of the lived experience of students and may positively change their perspectives as they move forward in their careers (Koopman & Koopman, 2018). It is critical to evaluate the studio classroom discourse to ensure that students were considering and addressing issues of DEI and accessibility in a thoughtful and beneficial way. An analysis of final studio projects, student evaluation surveys, and general student comments exhibited the impact these efforts had on the interior design student’s understanding of complex social justice issues and their relevance to the interior design profession.
Assistant Professor, Interior Design Department, University of the Incarnate Word, Texas, United States Judy Ruvuna
Assistant Professor Interior Design, Interior Design, University of the Incarnate word, Texas, United States
Inclusivity, Equity, Diversity, Interior Design, Education, Social Justice