Accreditation renewed for Department of Design

a student building model on display for accreditation review in December 2019

A student model of a building sits on display in McGuffey Hall during the CIDA review visit in December 2019.

Radford University’s Department of Design was recently reaccredited by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA). This marks the third consecutive time that the program has been reaccredited by the organization. CIDA evaluates interior design programs against a set of 16 standards that range across student outcomes and professional standards.

“CIDA is the gold standard for design programs,” says Dr. Holly Cline, who chairs Radford University’s program. “We’re one of only four colleges in Virginia that have this accreditation.”

Programs accredited by CIDA must undergo rigorous evaluation every six years. They undertake annual evaluations where students and employers are surveyed. Three years into the process programs must submit an interim report to CIDA. The process culminates with an on-site visit by CIDA representatives, followed by notification of their status during the sixth year. A team of international experts visited and evaluated Radford’s program in December of 2019.

Accreditation by CIDA is valuable to academic design programs because it demonstrates to potential employers that students are graduating with the skills needed to be successful in the workforce. Students in interior design programs have to learn about building codes and other criteria that are important to keeping people safe when designing public spaces. Accreditation verifies from an outside organization of professionals and academics that programs are including this type of instruction within their curricula.

Cline says there are also other advantages. Accreditation requires that that programs monitor the placement of students within the professional field, as well as creating advisory boards comprised of working professionals and academics. These activities help programs keep a finger on the pulse of what is happening in the field, as well as within their own programs.

“We’re thrilled to have successfully completed the process again,” says Cline. “Meeting this set of rigorous standards is a challenge, and thanks to the hard work of our faculty we have once again demonstrated the tremendous value of our program for students wanting to start careers in interior design.”

A student building model on display for CIDA representatives during their December 2019 accreditation review visit.

Student models and documentation on display for CIDA representatives during the December 2019 accreditation review visit.

Apr 13, 2020
Jason S. Hutchens, Ed.D.