CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Feb. 21, 2014 — Southeast Missouri State University’s Bachelor of Science in human environmental studies/interior design option has been accredited by the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA).
The accreditation is effective through September 2020.
The accreditation process began in 2008 when the interior design faculty decided to pursue NKBA accreditation
“The NKBA has a body of knowledge that every accredited program must include in the curriculum,” said Carol Nesler, instructor of human environmental studies. “We began the process by identifying each learning objective and determined if each objective was or was not being covered in our current curriculum. We then began the process of revisions that included new course prefixes, new course titles and course content revisions.”
Interior design program faculty completed the self-study in 2011. In December 2011, the program became an NKBA supported program, which is similar to “pre-accreditation.” In May 2012, the interior design program submitted student work samples based on the NKBA Student Design Competition, and many of student projects were rated as “outstanding”. A site visit by representatives of NKBA was completed in April 2013.
“Accreditation provides quality assurance. It gives credibility to our program, and it provides scholarship opportunities for our students,” Nesler said.
Accreditation from NKBA will be useful to graduates of the program as they enter the job market. NKBA accredited programs prepare students for professional industry certification. Graduates from NKBA accredited programs are eligible to sit for the academic portion of the NKBA certification exams, waiving the two-year industry experience requirement. With the NKBA accreditation, students are now eligible to participate in competitions in which scholarship prizes are awarded, and accreditation will expand research opportunities. A $500 grant is awarded annually to accredited programs to help fund NKBA student chapter activities.
Fifty-eight students are currently enrolled in Southeast’s interior design program.
“We have several students who have recently graduated who are currently working in the kitchen and bath industry, and many who are working in the commercial areas of design,” Nesler said. “That is the beauty of our program — our students are certainly prepared for the kitchen and bath industry, but they are also prepared to design with the mindset of protecting and enhancing the health, life safety and welfare of the public – the true goal of interior design.”
Faculty members in the interior design program also have their eyes set on an additional goal. In the near future, they plan to seek accreditation for the program from the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA). This accreditation would be an additional springboard for growth in the program.