University’s Interior Design Program is First in Connecticut to Receive Prestigious Accreditation

The University of New Haven’s interior design program has been accredited by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA), recognizing it as a leader in educating the industry’s professionals of the future.

December 3, 2020

By Renee Chmiel, Office of Marketing and Communications

Students working on a project
The University’s interior design program is first in Connecticut to be accredited by CIDA.

For Madeline Kryszpin ’21, being part of the University of New Haven’s interior design and pre-architecture program means being a member of a tight-knit group that has become like family.

Kryszpin recently shared her passion for her major by creating five posters about the program featuring topics such as successful alumni, faculty-mentored research, and the University’s American Society of Interior Designers chapter. Her goal was to illustrate the many impactful learning experiences and co-curricular opportunities that she and her classmates have.

Madeline Kryszpin ’21
Madeline Kryszpin ’21 is an interior design major at the University of New Haven.

Kryszpin or one of her classmates will have to make a new poster highlighting the program’s most recent accomplishment: becoming the first in Connecticut to be accredited by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA), an organization dedicated to advancing the interior design profession through standards and accreditation in higher education. Kryszpin’s posters were shared with the professionals from CIDA during the site visit.

“I am ecstatic about the accreditation,” she said. “The professors and students deserve this for their work that is of such a high quality. Our program deserves to be recognized with other accredited universities. My time in this program has helped me grow as a designer, but also a person, and I am very grateful for that.”

‘The mark of excellence’

Awarded for a six-year term, the accreditation attests to the high quality of instruction. It also ensures that the curriculum is current and reflects evolving industry standards, technology, and societal needs.

CIDA’s accreditation standards include 16 factors that address the crucial components of graduate preparation for the field, such as critical thinking, professional values, and technical knowledge. The accreditation is an assurance to students, parents, and employers that the program meets the rigor of peer review and that graduates develop the necessary skills and knowledge to practice interior design.

CIDA provides the shortest eligibility pathway to the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam, the interior design professional credential and qualification for state licensure. NCIDQ certification is the industry’s recognized indicator of knowledge of and proficiency in interior design principles.

Students in Italy
Interior design students learn from professionals while studying at the University’s campus in Tuscany, Italy.

“The CIDA accreditation is the mark of excellence for a program and an incredible validation for the education we provide at the University,” said Jamie Slenker, M.F.A., an associate professor of interior design. “This accreditation is so well deserved. Our students have had long-standing success in the field with unbelievable employment rates upon graduation and acceptance to graduate schools. This accreditation validates that for prospective students.”

‘I’ll always have a solid support system at the University’

Professor Slenker says the program enables students to have a wide array of networking opportunities, including through professional organizations such as the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) and through the University’s proximity to the design and art hubs of New Haven and New York.

Emily King ’21
Emily King ’21 traveled to Seattle with the University’s ASID chapter earlier this year.

This has been especially true for Emily King ’21, who credits opportunities such as trips, internships, and independent studies with deepening her passion for the field. A member of the University’s ASID chapter, she traveled with her fellow club members and a professor to Seattle for the organization’s annual conference. The experience offered an important networking opportunity, and it furthered her interest in architecture and interior design.

“This opportunity increased my desire to travel to large cities that have buildings and spaces that tell stories about the different environments,” said King, an interior design major with a concentration in pre-architecture. “It exposed me to new things and ideas, inspiring me. Between ASID, my dedicated professors, and the CIDA accreditation, I have no doubt in my mind I’ll always have a solid support system at the University.”

Kryszpin, King’s classmate, is also grateful for the many opportunities she has had to continue to expand her network, and she’s excited about the opportunities that the accreditation will offer to her and her fellow Chargers.

“The interior design professors work extremely hard to ensure that students have meaningful internships and real-life opportunities throughout their time at the University,” she said. “While the information we learn in the classroom is valuable, the experience we have in the real-world is really what sets us all up for success.”