CIDA Site Visit: Shifting Toward an Alternative Interior Design Program Evaluation Method

Presented by: Dr. Ahmad Alansari, Debajyoti Pati

Background: The council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA) is a non-profit organization in North America that aims to set standards for accredited interior design programs. CIDA aims to bridge the gap between interior design practice and interior design education by preparing proficient entry-level designers to enter the national market. When CIDA judges visit schools to review an interior design program that is seeking accreditation, students’ projects must be presented in order to show evidence of compliance and knowledge with CIDA standards. Purpose: The purpose of this presentation is to illustrate an alternative method for CIDA program accreditation processes. The presenter will show the advantages and disadvantages of the typical CIDA site visit and will present a new, tested, method for evaluating interior design program outcomes. This methodology has been implemented and tested in a doctoral dissertation (Alansari, 2015). Methodology: In the aforementioned doctoral dissertation, a quantitative research approach was adopted to examine interior design students' knowledge and skill levels. The methodology for this study consisted of two approaches: measuring students’ knowledge and examining students’ design aptitude. A self-administered questionnaire was distributed to senior interior design students in their classes. The knowledge areas tested in the questionnaire were adapted from a reliable interior design exam that matches with CIDA standards (CIDA, 2014). To examine design students’ skills, interior design projects were collected and evaluated by six professional interior designers who were used as judges to determine the proficiency of the interior design projects. An online survey, using Survey Qualtrics, was administered to collect the required information. Students’ design projects were attached to the survey and participants were asked to evaluate them based on fifteen design guidelines adopted from CIDA standards (CIDA, 2014). Implementations: The methodology that will be presented was tested as a tool for evaluating interior design programs, similar to those seeking CIDA accreditation. The evaluation method eliminated several challenges, such as human prejudice, site visit time constrains, and overseas travel issues. Typically, CIDA invites three interior design judges to evaluate the outcome of each design program. However, this method provides opportunities for seeking more reviewers, as the site visit challenges are expected to be eliminated. In addition, this methodology will enable expansion of CIDA accreditation to interested overseas institutions without any cost implications.


  • Alansari, A. (2015). Examining the Preparedness of Interior Design Students In Kuwait From A Global Design Firm Perspective. Texas Tech University, Doctoral Dissertation.
  • Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA). (2014). 2014 CIDA Professional Standards. Retrieved February 20, 2014 from:
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