Interior architecture and design faculty present at the Interior Designer Educator Council annual conference in Vancouver

Leah Scolere and Laura Cole at the IDEC conference in Vancouver

The faculty in Colorado State University’s Interior Architecture and Design Program, presented on their innovative research and teaching methods in Vancouver, British Columbia this semester. For the first time since the start of the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Interior Design Educator Council held its annual conference in person with several Department of Design and Merchandising faculty in attendance. 

Laura Cole 

Laura Cole headshotLaura Cole, associate professor in interior architecture and design, was a member of the IDEC Service Collaborative. In addition to presenting on several important research topics, Cole also helped to organize several social and networking events for professionals, faculty, and graduate students. The time to connect was a valuable part of the conference, with many colleagues not having connected in person since before the pandemic.  

Cole presented her research titled “BIPOC Birth Center: Successes and Challenges in Delivering Design Justice Themes in the Interior Design Studio.” Her mixed-methods pedagogy evaluated a junior-level design studio course focusing on diversity, equity, and inclusion themes. This led to valuable discussion on the successes and challenges for educators working to integrate DEI into their studio coursework and teaching methods. 

Additionally, Cole was part of a team that hosted a follow-up conversation at this year’s conference around a leadership task force examining DEI at IDEC from 2021-2022. The leadership team discussed updates on their timeline for methods to advance DEI work at IDEC, specifically around increasing membership. 

Finally, Cole collaborated in a panel discussion around wellness and well-being themes in interior design. Prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the panelists shared ways to increase educator knowledge about wellness and well-being instructional materials in the classroom. 

Maria Delgado 

Maria Delgado headshot

Maria Delgado, assistant professor in interior architecture and design, presented an innovative project she’s had in the works for over two years. Delgado has mentored students each summer to learn and use a Matterport 3D camera to document and map historical architecture around Colorado – on the CSU campus, in Fort Collins, Sterling, and Central City. Students and the public can now experience these historical buildings as a part of the Architectural Virtual Library. The 3D documentation of these buildings includes tags that provide additional information on the history of each space. The Architectural Virtual Library allows people to view the buildings both in a virtual reality capacity as well as an augmented reality experience for those physically touring the buildings. Last summer, Delgado worked with student interns to implement learning worksheets for K-12 students, making the experience a learning tool for young students, college students, and the public.  

Jain Kwon 

Jain Kwon headshotJain Kwon, assistant professor in interior architecture and design, presented research titled, “How Empirical Research Informs Design Process: Learning from Wayfinding Design Projects Implementing Eye Tracking.” This research has been an area of focus for several design projects implemented by Kwon and her student researchers in the Spatial Perception and Cognitive Experience (SPACE) Laboratory. “The presentation synthesizes two exploratory studies implementing eye tracking to examine individuals’ behaviors and the ‘why factors’ in navigating unfamiliar spaces,” said Kwon. “The studies were conducted for two wayfinding design projects engaging client stakeholders.” Eye tracking is an innovative technology that measures participants’ eye movements as they navigate a space for the first time. This data has helped to inform design decisions around wayfinding. 

Leah Scolere 

Leah Scolere headshot

Leah Scolere, assistant professor in interior architecture and design and program coordinator, also presented at the conference. Scolere presented “Materials Methods: Connected Learning in Materials Education.” This presentation focused on connecting design learning frameworks to interior materials emphasizing industry partners, building networks, and exploration of physical materials from an interest-driven perspective. This work connects closely with the materials courses she teaches, her supervision of the Design Library, and several industry events and partnerships Scolere has organized with materials-based companies and visits to CSU. 

Scolere also worked to increase professional opportunities for those in the field while at the conference, serving on a roundtable discussion centered on submitting research to The Journal of Interior Design and the review process for publication. Scolere aided in a CV Workshop for professional development for those in attendance.