The name of the design program will change to the Department of Interior Architecture and Design this summer


The Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design announces that the name of its interior design department will officially change to the Department of Interior Architecture and Design, effective July 1. Additionally, the Bachelor of Interior Design will also become the Bachelor of Interior Architecture. and Design.

This change also signifies the high standard and increased ambitions of the Department of Interior Design, which has been the fastest growing department on the U of A campus in recent years. Under the leadership of Carl Matthews since 2012, the department has increased the number and diversity of its students, as well as the diversity of the research strengths of its faculty. Teachers and students were recognized in many ways.

Since 2015, four U of A interior design students have received a $30,000 scholarship from the Angelo Donghia Foundation. The teachers have received design education research grants, including $49,000 from the Angelo Donghia Foundation and $30,000 from the Nuckolls Fund. Several professors have been awarded prizes at the national, regional and national levels. A 2020 interior design graduate has been selected for the prestigious YACademy Architecture for Exhibition program, a 10-week course focused on exhibition design.

“The change in nomenclature for the Department of Interior Architecture and Design publicly affirms what has long been recognized as the comprehensiveness of the discipline and the degree,” said Peter MacKeith, dean of the school. “I applaud the faculty and students of the department for this vigorous affirmation of disciplinary identity and endorse Professor Matthews’ leadership of the department for continued success.”

The Fay Jones School’s Professional Interior Design degree emphasizes commercial and multi-family design and construction. The program requires knowledge of structural systems, construction techniques, building systems – such as heating, ventilation and air conditioning – and electrical systems. Students learn and work in interdisciplinary teams with architecture and landscape architecture students.

“The term ‘interior design’ is very misunderstood by the general public,” Matthews said. “Many citizens associate the term with single-family home decor.”

Matthews noted that a recent voter poll found that 98% of students and 79% of program alumni support changing the name of the degree and department to architecture and interior design. The ministry’s Professional Advisory Council also supports the change.

The Interior Architecture and Design title is also more in line with current international standards, Matthews said. The main international professional organization is called the International Federation of Interior Architects/Designers. All Fay Jones School interior design students are required to study abroad, and many seek professional work and higher degrees internationally. Additionally, the program aspires to recruit more international students.

“Over the past few decades, there has been a movement for accredited interiors programs to change their names from interior design to interior architecture or interior architecture and design,” Matthews said.

This change will further align the U of A program with peer institutions, with which the program competes for students, he said. Another state interior design program, at Harding University, changed its name to Interior Architecture a few years ago.

Matthews noted that there will be no significant changes to the program’s schedule with this name change.

“The name change is more of a realignment with what we’ve been doing than a harbinger of a program change,” he said.


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