Recognizing that their efforts can have a tremendous impact on improving the interior design profession, nearly 200 volunteers, all drawn from interior design practice and education, currently assist the Council for Interior Design Accreditation in carrying out its work. The rewards, these dedicated volunteers say, are numerous and varied:
- helping to play an integral role in a process that produces recognizable and tangible outcomes;
- the excitement associated with charting new territories;
- the satisfaction gained in helping integrate the worlds of practice and academia;
- the ability to help “raise the bar” of professionalism for the field of interior design.
How you can help
CIDA’s adherence to strict fiscal responsibility means it must depend on many volunteers to help with a number of different activities associated with its accreditation program. If you’re interested in being a part of the process that sets the standards for 21st century interior design education, here’s how you might participate:
Because accreditation involves a peer review process, site visitors are drawn from the field of interior design and play an important role in the accreditation process. As on-site evaluators, site visitors are responsible for gathering evidence and developing informed judgments regarding program compliance with standards. Site visitors must have appropriate academic credentials, teaching or relevant professional experience in the field of interior design, objectivity, and strong communication skills. To serve in this role, volunteers must apply and supply references that testify to professional and personal qualities that will contribute to the effective participation of the volunteer. Site visitors are appointed by the Board of Directors following an application process. Download Application
For a more comprehensive description of site visitor qualifications, see pages I-5 and I-6 of the Accreditation Manual.
The Standards Committee develops, reviews, and revises standards for the purpose of the assessment of postsecondary programs in interior design, taking into consideration the body of knowledge and changes in society, higher education, and the profession. Standards Committee recommendations are reviewed by the Accreditation Commission and forwarded to the Board of Directors for approval. The Standards Committee reports to the Board of Directors. A person interested in serving on the Standards Committee should forward a copy of his or her resume or vitae, with a cover letter expressing interest, to the Board of Directors in care of the CIDA office. The Board of Directors makes all volunteer appointments. Inquiries about current openings may be directed to the CIDA office.
The Board of Directors appoints nine individuals who are familiar with the accreditation process and the field of interior design to an Appeal Board. The Accreditation Commission may appoint five members from this Board to serve, as needed, on a panel to hear an appeal of an adverse decision made by the Accreditation Commission. The panel is responsible for reviewing the appeal and may affirm the decision of the Commission or remand the decision to the Commission for further consideration.
Volunteering is Rewarding
I grow professionally as a designer and educator as I see how others approach the design process. Evaluating student work is stimulating and rewarding. Keeping a pulse on current standards is extremely helpful to my own program as well as the courses and studios that I teach. Being a CIDA site visitor is a rich and rewarding experience.
As an educator and practitioner, serving as a CIDA site visitor and participating in ensuring that the next generation of interior designers have access to a high quality professional-level education has been very rewarding. While I have been pleased to give back to the discipline doing this volunteer work, I have also come away with a broader view of educational philosophies and delivery methods, all of which has greatly enhanced my ability to guide my own programs.
As a practitioner, the most rewarding aspect of being a site visitor is the wonderful educators I get to meet and work with. We all share the common goal of supporting quality interior design education. The entire experience of each visit has been enriching and rewarding both personally and professionally.
I very much enjoy the opportunity to be involved in the educational process and to help foster the development of young design professionals. Knowing that the hours I volunteer are essential to the future careers of interior design students and the development of successful design programs brings unmatched reward.
There is a sense of fulfillment as a board member, that one’s role is an important contribution to the success and quality of the profession. Being an integral part of the establishment and implementation of standards that strive for the highest quality in our profession has been very meaningful for me.
Site visitors are put into an environment where we form bonds in a short amount of time with professionals that we might not meet otherwise. But the best part is the students. Over the years, I’ve watched them become more aware of the importance of the quality of their education, of accreditation, and what is happening with certification and the role that the Council plays in these areas. Once they’re informed, they come to demand more of their programs.
Over the last five years, my life has been enriched by serving with such a dedicated group of volunteers who, in addition to being successful professionals and educators, share a common and unselfish goal to help improve the quality of interior design education.