I have served on a task force for the Interior Design Experience Program (IDEP) for two years now. As an educator, I actually went to the first meeting thinking that the interior design profession didn't need an experience program like this; students are always working in internships while they are in school, so what value could this "monitored experience program" bring? I had a host of questions when I started—perhaps the same ones you have today—and here's how they've been answered.
WHAT IS IDEP?
* It is a monitored experience program for graduates of interior design education programs. It was developed by three interior design educators (D. Jackman, B. Harwood, and R. Veitch) for NCIDQ.
* It occurs after students have completed their undergraduate program.
* It does not replace an internship taken during school, although participants may begin it after completing 96 semester credits or 144 quarter credits of course work.
* It takes two years (3,520 hours) to complete while the participants work as entry-level designers. Participants gain diverse experience in: programming, conceptual/schematic design, design development, construction documents, project administration, post-occupancy evaluation and business practices.
WHAT DO THE PARTICIPANTS/MY GRADUATES DO?
* Enroll through NCIDQ.
* Pay registration fees of $225 over two years. Once IDEP is successfully
completed, participants can sit for the NCIDQ exam, once, free of charge! (This is true only until January 2008, unless the NCIDQ Board extends it.)
* Work with a supervising interior designer who monitors their work
experience to be sure they are exposed to and gain experience in the diverse parts of the design process.
* Meet with a mentor to expand their contacts, learn from another designer and broaden their experiences.
* Complete a log book to document their experiences.
WHAT VALUE DOES IT HAVE FOR THE PARTICIPANTS/MY GRADUATES?
*IDEP requires participants to have a certain number of hours in many different aspects of the design process. For example, they need 570 hours in programming, 445 hours in conceptual/schematic design, etc. As a result, participants are guaranteed a diverse experience and participate in tasks and activities they might not get if not required. In other words, in an entry-level position, they won't be tied to a computer for two years.
* Participants can meet the required hours in several ways; they may not actually do the programming, but they may sit in on programming meetings. The responsibility lies with the design firm and the participant to be sure the experience areas are met.
* This diverse experience will reinforce their undergraduate program, building on their classroom experience.
* They will be monitored and mentored by design practitioners.
* The diverse experience helps to prepare them for the NCIDQ exam.
* They have documentation of their work experience for licensing or certification.
* It provides them with a cohort group and a mentor with whom they can
discuss design issues and not be isolated from other practitioners.
WHAT IF THE PARTICIPANTS/MY GRADUATES CANNOT FIND FIRMS WHO SUPPORT IDEP?
* NCIDQ is working to educate architecture and design firms about IDEP and the value of having IDEP participants in their firms.
* The program is similar to the architects' Internship Development Program (IDP), so many firms are familiar with this kind of program and accustomed to documenting their tasks for their entry- level architects.
WHAT IS MY ROLE AS AN EDUCATOR?
* Explain it to your students. Start them thinking about IDEP in their second and third year so they are asking questions of designers during informational interviews and their internships. If designers in the area are not aware of IDEP, this gives them time to get acquainted.
* Serve as the information liaison between the students and NCIDQ.
* Serve as a role model by passing the NCIDQ exam. (If you are a member
of IDEC and meet the NCIDQ requirements, you can take the exam for free.)
* Sit back and watch the NCIDQ pass rate of your graduates climb!
HOW DO I GET INFORMATION ABOUT IT FOR THE GRADUATES?
* Contact NCIDQ at www.ncidq.org
Denise A. Guerin is a Morse-Alumni Distinguished Professor of Interior Design in the Department of Design, Housing and Apparel at the University of Minnesota and a Fellow of the Interior Design Educators Council. She received IIDA's Michael Tatum Award for Excellence in Education and NCIDQ's Louis Tregue Award. Guerin is the co-creator and coordinator of InformeDesign® and teaches ethics, business practice, interior design research and design studios. She also is a FIDER site visitor and serves on the IDEP Task Force for NCIDQ. IDEC can be contacted at (317) 328-4437; via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; or visit www.idec.org.