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updated: 12/26/2012 7:56 PM

Judson University offering interior design in 2013-14

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Submitted by Judson University

This fall, Judson University launched an interior design program, which is now open for enrollment of the 2013-14 academic year.

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The program, which is part of Judson's School of Art, Design and Architecture, builds on a successful architecture curriculum. Interior design students will earn a minor in architectural studies while completing the professional interior design curriculum in the third and fourth years of study. Students will develop skills in traditional and digital design and will explore both commercial and residential interiors. Graduates will enter their careers with a global understanding of the interior design industry and will be able to make design decisions relative to ecological, socio-economic and cultural contexts. The program's context of an evangelical Christian institution and emphasis on environmental stewardship make it unique in the Chicago area.

"Design is one of the most forceful factors on human behavior, and is a part of every experience that we have," says Curtis Sartor, Dean of the School of Art, Design and Architecture. "We must therefore create conducive interior environments that are pleasant and allow the maximum enjoyment of spatial experiences. Judson University is also the only evangelical Christian college to offer an interior design degree as part of a School of Fine Art, Graphic Design and Architecture. With these associated disciplines in our school, the interior design graduate will have a deeper understanding of the design of interior environments and the relationship to a Christian worldview."

Keelan Kaiser, chair of Judson's Department of Architecture and facilitator for the new program, says they are excited about adding Interior Design to the Department of Architecture offerings.

"The career opportunities are fantastic for all of the design disciplines and interior design is no different," says Kaiser.

Graduates of Judson's architecture program have enjoyed ample career opportunities at a time when many other college graduates struggle to find employment. While the average unemployment rate for most young architecture graduates is around 20 percent, Judson's rates are much lower, between three to five percent. Kaiser anticipates that the model created for the interior design program will reap similar results.

According to careerplanner.com, the market for interior designers is experiencing unprecedented growth this decade, at 19 percent from 2006 to 2016, faster than average for all occupations. Economic expansion, growing homeowner wealth, and an increasing interest in interior design will increase demand for designers. Postsecondary education in interior design is necessary for licensure, which is required in 23 states, including Illinois.

"With a collegiate experience that is both small scale college and large scale cosmopolitan city, students at Judson have the best of both worlds," explains Kaiser. "We expect graduates of the interior design program to be competitive with other regional programs, with an edge in terms of personal relationships, ethical judgment, and concern for the natural and built environment. Our professional programs are respected in the Chicago design environment and our graduates experience great opportunities for leadership within the design practices they participate."

Students interested in the interior design program or other majors are invited to the overnight preview day on Jan. 20-21 and Feb. 17-18, where they can tour campus, stay in a dorm room overnight, meet with professors and financial aid, attend chapel and classes.

Founded in 1997, and accredited in 2004, Judson's Architecture program is widely acknowledged for its innovative approach to architectural education including a one-year preceptorship (internship) and its context of an evangelical Christian institution. Environmental stewardship is a design philosophy that guides the program and its approach to architecture education.

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