The Attitudes of Interior Design Educators toward Concepts, Principles, and Theories of Sustainable Design

By Charles Ford, Mark Bateman, Kristie Chandler and Robin C. Duncan.

Published by The International Journal of Design Education

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: April 3, 2014 $US5.00

Research that investigates the interior design educator’s attitude toward concepts, principles, and theories of sustainable design has not been done. To provide a basis for the further development of educational strategies for sustainable interior design, researchers examined the attitude of interior design educators—who were also members of the Interior Design Educator Council (IDEC)—and their readiness to teach sustainable design concepts, principles, and theories of sustainable design. A national, internet-based questionnaire was sent to interior design educators who held membership with IDEC. The construct of the questionnaire was a three-part survey: demography, ecology, and sustainability. The ecology section utilized the New Ecological Paradigm (NEP) Scale. The sustainability section was based upon LEED principals of sustainable design practice. The questionnaire was distributed through utilizing SurveyMonkey. Respondents (n=257) were asked to rate each statement, utilizing a Likert-type scale, according to their level of readiness to teach general concepts, principles, and theories of sustainable design. The findings indicate that, as a whole, participants in this investigation have a slightly above average ecological worldview and confidence to teach concepts, principles, and theories of sustainable design. However, there persists a complex link between interior design, the interior design educator, and ecology that has not been bridged. Findings indicate that the link of ecological concerns and quantitative imperatives have only an average consideration among interior design educators. Such an implication brings the interior design educator’s authority to teach sustainability into question, given the educator’s absence of objective qualifications. The fact that interior design educators have a positive ecological worldview absent of the primary industry credential illustrates a disconnect between professional credentialing and interior design educators. Survey results imply that educators, while valuing sustainable design concepts, principles, and theories, do not equally value the primary credentialing set forth by the industry. Accredited programs’ faculty members credentialing expectations should ensure two thirds of all faculty members hold LEED credentials. Such a clear establishment of credentialing expectations will likely enhance class pedagogy by creating opportunities for uniformity in teaching sustainable design concepts, principles, and theories.

Keywords: Interior Design, Educator, Sustainable Design, Education

The International Journal of Design Education, Volume 7, Issue 3, May 2014, pp.11-25. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: April 3, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 709.408KB)).

Dr. Charles Ford

Associate Professor, Department of Interior Architecture, Samford University, Birmingham, AL, USA

Charles Ford is an assistant professor of interior design at Samford University. His education background includes a master's degree in historic preservation and education. He has attained degrees from Samford University, Regent University, and Savannah College of Art and Design. He is presently a candidate for an education doctorate at Samford University. His research interests include computer graphics (CG) and the visual transformation chain, image-based inquiry, preserving historic architecture as an expression of LEED fundamentals, bridging the sustainable gap, and studying concepts, principles, and theories of sustainable design for interior design education.

Mark Bateman

Associate Professor, Graduate Studies, Samford University, Birmingham, AL, USA

Kristie Chandler

Chair and Assistant Professor, Family Studies, Samford University, Birmingham, AL, USA

Robin C. Duncan

Assistant Professor, Teacher Education, Samford University, Birmingham, AL, USA