SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Sacramento State’s Interior Design Program’s resources can no longer accommodate the demand of students, leading department officials to declare the program impacted this semester.
Students applying to the interior design program will face tougher requirements, officials said.
"We’ve introduced a higher GPA, we’ve introduced a set of prerequisite courses that have to be completed, and then we’ve introduced a portfolio review process," said James Kenney, program director.
The decision to impact requires an application process, during which the department provides the university with an explanation as to why there is a need. Impaction status is granted to those who have successfully demonstrated that there are more students than teachers can efficiently teach.
Once set into motion, the new requirements have an affect on everyone, including those students who are currently Interior Design majors.
"Students that are currently enrolled at a community college will be affected, students that are at Sac State that in lower division or upper division – there’s some impact on everybody, but it’s typically a good thing," Kenney said.
Kory Davis, a sophomore Interior Design major, views the change as positive.
“This keeps upper division classes small and it insures that the most qualified students will be in the program,” Davis said. “You have to make sure you are passionate about the subject and willing to work hard for your success.”
Though there is no specific timeframe for how long the program will be impacted, students should remain optimistic about the benefits of increased requirements, Kenney said. While the change may disqualify less competitive students from the program, it will allow the program to be efficient in preparing students and meeting their needs.
“I want the program to have a reputation for being difficult,” Davis said. “I look for a program that will prepare me to work in the field and give me the upper hand when applying for a job.”
Jenny Bianchini, a third year student hoping to be accepted into the Interior Design major, agreed.
“The most important criteria when looking at programs, for me, was the reputation,” said Bianchini.
Bianchini had difficulty trying to register for required classes and pointed out that once she is accepted into the major, it will be much easier to get the instruction she needs.
"The real advantage is that it allows the student, once they get in, to have guaranteed seats in (upper-division) classes," Kenney said.
He also pointed out that the effect will vary from semester to semester.
"Some years it might be highly competitive, some years it might be very easy to get in, but it’s basically going to be managed growth," he said.
Kenney said the program is popular for many reasons, particularly because of the rising popularity of reality television.
He cautions, however, that the phenomena of reality television shows featuring remodeling themes tend to create unrealistic expectations of what the interior design world is all about.
"Interior design is much more technical, much more involved, and I think the picture that’s painted in the television programs presents sort of a false image," Kenney explained.
More importantly, however, he said he believes that people are drawn to the school’s program because it is accredited by FIDER, the Foundation of Interior Design Education and Research. FIDER is a national non-profit organization "that is represented by architects, interior designers, corporations, and higher education," he said. "Basically, they set standards."
Davis acknowledged that FIDER accreditation is what made her decide upon Sacramento State over other schools.
“Initially, I noticed that the CSUS Interior Design program was FIDER accredited,” Davis said. “When looking for a good Interior Design school it seems pretty beneficial to see if the program is accredited.”
Sacramento State’s is one of 148 FIDER-accredited programs and the only one in California that is east of San Francisco, according to the organization’s website.
"We meet a national standard that’s recognized by the design community," said Kenney.