Keeping Watch Over Our Future
Few would disagree that the future of the interior design profession—any profession, actually—rests in the inspirations and ambitions of today's youth. These are the individuals who will one day make the tough decisions and take the necessary actions that will guide the profession when this generation relinquishes the reins. These future leaders will guard and protect the profession's interests for the next generation. And so the never-ending continuum goes.
The potential this link between one generation and the next holds for an ever-changing industry dynamic is why this particular issue of IS has always been one of my personal favorites—because for nearly a decade now, we have turned our attention in the July/August issue on the critical subject of educating the keepers of our future.
First, in her Eco Design Matters column, Penny Bonda writes about the encouraging growth of scholarships for EnvironDesign®, our annual sustainable design and business conference. We are especially grateful that 15 companies stepped up to the plate this year, providing 24 scholarships to students eager to embrace the premier learning opportunities on a subject that grows in importance daily. And while we are thrilled with the increase (double from the previous year), sadly, there were dozens of student requests we couldn't accommodate. It is our goal to someday be able to fulfill the wishes of all who want to attend EnvironDesign—a number we know will only burgeon as today's youth wisely recognize the overwhelming need to apply their skills and talents to help preserve our planet.
This issue also profiles Lisa Whited, a much-admired and well-respected champion of the professional practice rights of interior designers. Currently head of the interior design program at the Boston Architectural Center (BAC), Whited has rightfully earned industry-wide kudos for her seemingly tireless work to move forward legislation that protects the rights of interior designers to practice their profession—not only in her home state of Maine, but nationally as well. As a practitioner, Whited has long advocated the collaboration between architects and interior designers. As an educator, she recognizes the long-term impact she can have on the future of the profession by teaching her students the value such collaboration can bring to the success of any project. "If I can't convince practicing architects that collaboration with interior designers is valuable, then I'm going to educate young architecture students of that value in real ways," she explains.
Finally, this issue includes our fifth annual special supplement profiling the work of the Foundation for Interior Design Education Research (FIDER), the association responsible for accrediting interior design academic programs throughout North America. This year we explore how FIDER reaps ideas from the field in its efforts to continually raise the bar for superior educational standards—as well as plants many innovative thought processes relevant for 21st-century teaching methods. We think you'll find this year's special section, including a glimpse into the behind-the-scenes site visit evaluation process, especially enlightening—work accomplished, by the way, by 100+ volunteers who give up their own personal time to ensure that stringent standards are maintained when educating the custodians of the future.
We commend the visionaries mentioned above—the scholarship providers, the practicing professionals and educators, the devoted volunteers—for keeping watch over our future, and for keeping the light burning bright.