Curriculum changes approved for School of Interior Design

Incoming interior design students at Ryerson can expect changes to the curriculum in the near future, and many current students agree – it’s time for a change.

Ryerson’s School of Interior Design (RSID) received approval on curriculum changes that were proposed at the senate meeting held last week on Nov. 7.  

A sign for the Ryerson School of Interior Design building from when Ryerson was still a polytechnical institute and not yet a university. (Photo by Hayley Hanks)

The RSID hopes to make changes to the lengthy course schedules and repetition in course materials.

“The newly passed curriculum looks to condense and realign topical areas to make room for innovative and forward-thinking design processes that have reshaped the field of interior design,” said Jonathon Anderson, the chair of the curriculum committee for the RSID.

Fifth-year RSID student Emma Kulcsar said the current curriculum can be “overbearing, stressful, and hard to manage.”

“It’s not comparable to aerospace engineering, but something that many people don’t realize about Interior Design is that it is one of the most intensive creative programs at Ryerson, and definitely not for the faint of heart,” Kulcsar said.

RSID students often struggle to balance heavy course loads while maintaining a life outside of the program.

“Our projects require a lot of attention to detail, making it hard to just throw something together and hand it in,” said Samantha Tomei, a third-year RSID student. “I usually find myself pulling an all nighter once a week, although once deadlines are close, I hardly get any sleep.”

Although the program is designed to be taught over four years, Kulcsar said she is taking an extra year to complete the program. She found many other students take this route as well.

“There is no logical progression or algorithmic way to stroll through the program, and so coupled with the needs of students to work part-time, do extracurricular activities, prepare for future education, go on exchange, many find it hard to complete certain courses because of the intensive and competitive nature of the program and the way it is currently instructed,” she said. 

Finishing the program can often be difficult for students. As of 2013, the graduation rate for interior design students was 77%.

The curriculum changes were “developed with the student in mind” Anderson said, making it easier for the students to access and navigate the program.

RSID students feel these changes are necessary to their overall success in the program. Kulcsar is happy to see the school considering its students’ needs.

“The reforms show careful consideration and a focus more on interior design, especially towards one’s final semesters, meaning one can focus more on [their] final studio projects,” she said.  

The curriculum change detailed adjustments to the length of classes in the introductory courses of the program, repetition of course content to maintain a better flow throughout the four years and overall time to dedicate to the output and detail of design assignments.

“We realized that in order to stay at the forefront of interiors education, and to once again set the bar high for other established and emerging academic programs in North America, we needed to rethink our curriculum,” Anderson said.

“The new curriculum looks to capitalize on the use of making in both the technological and analog sense to afford our students the best opportunity to carry this important set of skills into their careers beyond Ryerson.”

Although the proposal was approved by Ryerson’s Senate, there was a slight revision.

Marcia Moshé, vice-provost academic at Ryerson, wants to replace the current Senate agenda, which addresses the proposed curriculum changes to, “the new curriculum will be implemented for new admissions starting in the Fall 2018. All other cohorts will complete the former version of the curriculum.”

So while students who are currently enrolled in the program will have to complete the curriculum as normal, there is guaranteed change for students who plan on attending the RSID in Fall 2018.

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