OGDEN, Utah – Interior design students at Weber State University know how to market their expertise. In fact, it's an integral part of what they learn while pursuing a degree in interior design.
WSU offers associate's and bachelor's degrees in interior design through the Department of Sales and Services Technology.
"Our program meshes with the sales training courses, providing our students with marketing, communication and personal psychology knowledge that allows them to deal with clients one-on-one or in a conference setting," said Jan Slabaugh, WSU interior design professor.
Slabaugh said the faculty's dedication and experience in the field help prepare WSU students to succeed. In addition to full-time faculty, the university employs adjunct faculty who are practicing designers with large architectural and design firms.
The program is one of only 17 nationwide to be endorsed by the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA). NKBA's partnership provides students with resources, competitions and opportunities to pursue careers in the high-demand fields of kitchen and bath design.
Students also benefit from a community advisory committee that helps keep the program on the cutting edge of trends and techniques. This group, comprised of professionals from interior design, sales, architecture, kitchen and bath, and construction design, reviews curriculum, provides feedback and advice for students, and serves as a resource for competitions.
"With approximately 75 students enrolled in our program, they each receive personalized instruction from our faculty," Slabaugh said. "The strength of our program is our students and alumni."
Slabaugh said the gender and cultural diversity of the students in the program provide a wide range of opinions and perspectives. "That's important because a key component of good interior design is understanding people's desires and needs and incorporating them into concepts and solutions," she said.
The bachelor's degree offered at WSU also helps students better compete in today's world. Slabaugh said in recent years residential and commercial design firms have placed a greater emphasis on ensuring design concepts take into account function and quality of interior spaces for improving the quality of life, while increasing productivity and protecting the health, safety, and welfare of clients and the public. That new emphasis has prompted the industry's increased demand for well-trained interior designers with four-year degrees.