In June, George Fox University’s interior design program received national recognition, earning the International Interior Design Association’s (IIDA) 2023 Campus Center of the Year honor. Selected among dozens of schools across the U.S. with an interior design program, George Fox was recognized with a “Changemaker Award” for the overall excellence of its program and the outstanding work of its students.

Casey Martin, an instructor of interior design, accepted the award in Chicago in June as part of IIDA’s awards ceremony.

Among the projects highlighted for the “Changemaker Award” was one in which students worked alongside architecture students from Portland State University and a nonprofit organization to develop and design interiors for sleeping pods for the houseless population in Forest Grove, Oregon. As part of the project, students focused on trauma-informed design, creating safe and secure spaces for those experiencing homelessness.

Casey Martin with the Changemaker award

The university’s interior design major has more than doubled since 2020. It focuses on industry connection, allowing students to work with professionals in the field on a regular basis while they earn their degree. It also emphasizes designing empathy-driven projects in an effort to help surrounding communities find solutions to issues around housing. 

To this end, the major’s curriculum was massively overhauled in 2020 to make students’ skill-sets more applicable to current industry standards. Three years later, that new curriculum is paying dividends, as both the graduating classes of 2022 and 2023 have seen strong employment numbers.

Interior design students presenting

In 2022, 80% of the program’s graduating students had jobs before graduating at competitive salaries. In 2023, 100% of graduating students had jobs less than a month after graduation, with half of them already knowing where they were headed before graduating.

Students in the program are also increasingly more successful in landing internships, as 100% of them participate in paid internships that provide them with valuable work experience and create long-lasting professional connections.

Share this post: