FIDER has a key leadership role in the advancement of our profession. Our work is truly foundational—it prepares our future professional interior designers. To serve the field, FIDER develops standards specifically for interior design education. Academic programs must undergo an exhaustive examination process in seeking the mark of quality, FIDER accreditation. The process begins with self-analysis against the standards and continues with a FIDER site visit when a team goes to the campus to evaluate the program, again using the standards to measure success.
FIDER Standards are the cornerstone of the accreditation process that leads to program evaluation and, if successful, program accreditation. Standards are continually updated to reflect the changing nature of our profession and, while this is an ongoing annual process, FIDER has introduced major changes five times in our 33-year history, most recently in 2000. A current understanding of the education and skills necessary to begin a career in interior design is key to writing effective standards. This understanding comes from involvement in our community of interest—design professionals, educators, students, industry—involvement critical to achieving our mission.
One way that we stay current to achieve our mission on behalf of the profession is through outreach, both informal and formal. The FIDER Board of Directors takes advantage of every possible opportunity to participate in discussions about the future of the profession, including town hall sessions and leadership forums. Also, our board includes representation from major constituencies: IDC, IDEC, IIDA, ASID and NCIDQ, as well as accredited programs, our own Accreditation Commission, industry and the public (representing clients and consumers). The board reflects the community of interest and uses these affiliations to engage in dialogue.
Outreach may inform development of proposed changes to standards for education; however, there is also a formal process of testing acceptance through polling the community. The Standards Council conducts research that includes opportunities for commentary on proposed changes. If the field supports change, new or updated standards are published with an effective date timed to allow the academies reasonable opportunity to respond to new expectations.
What makes FIDER effective? It's well-known that FIDER is a strategically managed organization that relies on contributions to underwrite the accreditation process and volunteers' time to make it all happen. Support and participation of the profession is, and will continue to be, vital. We must strengthen the partnership between all stakeholders in excellence for interior design education. Finally, we must preserve our reach out into the field as the basis of effective leadership in our community of interest.
Beth Harmon-Vaughan, FIIDA
FIDER Board of Directors