Clemons recognized for work championing interior design in schools

Youth in K-12 are rarely exposed to interior design as a possible career, but Stephanie Clemons, Ph.D., is working to change that. She has served as a University Distinguished Teaching Scholar, professor of Interior Architecture and Design in the Department of Design and Merchandising, Chair of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) National Board of Directors, President of the Interior Design Educators Council (IDEC), and Chair for the Journal of Interior Design. Clemons is also a previous recipient of the Board of Governors Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award.

In celebration of Clemons’ contributions to the field, she was awarded the ASID Nancy Vincent McClelland Merit Award, a national recognition.

Attracting quality students

Stephanie Clemons in a classroom.
Stephanie Clemons, center, with high school students in the Richardson Design Center.

Research has shown that K-12 exposure to interior design is usually limited to residential settings. Commercial design, such as for medical centers, schools, and retail spaces, is rarely taught in these classrooms. As students move into their college career in interior architecture and design, many have misconceptions about the major and a significant portion may never explore the discipline.

“Attracting quality design students begins as early as third grade and no later than eighth grade,” said Clemons.

Clemons seeks to make changes in the education landscape by shaping the subject matter taught in high school interior design courses to accurately educate K-12 students about the interior design profession. Her goal is to invite youth to explore interior design in ways that encourage future professional development.

Changes in curriculum

Clemons receiving her award
Stephanie Clemons, center, at the ASID Awards Ceremony.

By working with state and local curriculum specialists, Clemons compared the interior design education materials currently available to middle school and high school teachers with state and national standards of interior design education. She found there was a need to change national standards, offer up-to-date professional information, and develop a national assessment of learning. This inspired her efforts to develop the first high school level interior design textbook based on state and national standards, and lead a team in the development of a national pre-professional assessment and certification to test students’ high school interior design knowledge.

Additionally, Clemons’ background in research and teaching enables her to apply innovative teaching methods to the curriculum she helps develop. Experiences like game-based learning, flipped classroom environments, brain-based learning activities and student success initiatives all play a big role in enhancing student learning and increase retention of college level students.

As an educator, advisor, and leader in the interior design profession, Clemons has worked for many years to better the educational opportunities of students.

“Nothing pleases me more than working with the next generation of design professionals,” said Clemons.

About the ASID Nancy Vincent McClelland Merit Award

This award honors individuals, organizations, manufacturers, or research projects for outstanding support of the interior design profession through education, research, promotion of the value or impact of interior design, or another significant contribution.

The Department of Design and Merchandising is part of CSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences.