The mission of our Interior Design Major is to prepare students to obtain entry-level positions in their field and function as trained professionals. Students conceive and develop viable design solutions within the interior environment utilizing creative, critical, and technical methodologies. They are prepared for the purpose of improving the quality of life, increasing productivity, and protecting the health, safety, and wellbeing of the public by incorporating function, aesthetics, and environmentally sustainable products. By meeting the educational goals, students should develop an attitude of flexibility and a desire for life-long learning necessary to meet the changing demands of the interior design profession..
Meet our Faculty
Judy RuvunaInterior DesignRead More
I was intensely curious as a child, always asking, "Why?" I wanted to know how things worked and frequently created my own toys by pulling things apart to create the toys. Drawing eventually became a way for “keeping me out of trouble” by creating things on paper. I realized that I wanted to be a creative professional in high school when I created a set for a play that I had written. Building the set and painting the scenes was a lot of work; it also made me realize how powerful design could be.
I design projects and assignments to improve the student’s critical thinking and problem-solving skills and use my industry experience to bring real-world context to the material that I teach in the classroom. I make sure that the students have a clear understanding of the design process and explore typical questions and problems associated with each phase of the design process. This allows the students to learn how to conceptualize, explore, define and produce. The students then go into the production phase with the best possible design solutions for every project they work on. They also learn how to communicate, critique, provide feedback and collaborate on ideas as if were working in industry.Is there a class assignment that exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring? Similarly, how does your approach inspire each student to push themselves beyond their own perceived limits?
When students come to CAD I (Computer Aided Drafting) they are initially a bit overwhelmed; some of them having never used a computer to draw or design. Each new group of students come into the class with different skill sets; the challenge is to get all the students ready to design their final project and produce a set of construction documents. I use targeted assignments, tutoring and create a collaborative learning environment. The students are always amazed at what they can do.What role does collaboration contribute to students' success, especially when students from other programs contribute to the same project?
Collaborating and sharing ideas is vital for generating new and innovative ideas. In my classes where I have Interior Design and Design & Technical Graphics students, collaboration has produced some really interesting projects. Students are exposed to a different way of thinking and solving problems.In your opinion, what is the single most important thing you impart to your students to help them succeed in your class and in the real world? Alternatively, what is the most critical advice you would offer any student as he / she embarks on a creative career?
Find something that you are really passionate about, work hard, and don’t be afraid to fail. Failure has generated some of the most innovative design solutions. Remember that the world is full of creative designers; never ever stop learning.
Is there anything else you'd like us to know about you, your experience, or your role as a faculty member at The Art Institutes?
I had always been concerned that having a background in Textiles, Interior Design, Architecture and Historic Preservation, I would have to choose. As a faculty member at The Art Institute of San Antonio, I get to use all of my experience.
Vanessa LangtonWhat would you say is the defining moment in your life when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?
As a kid I made drawings regularly. When fellow students and teachers began to recognize my potential, I thought maybe there was something to art and creative expression. My mother nurtured my interests in art by taking me to museums regularly to look at the works of great artists and she bought me art supplies to practice. I knew very young that I could not live without art and art history in my life.
How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience to provide an industry veteran's sense of the realities / challenges / opportunities of the profession?
Prior to teaching art history I worked as a graphic designer and I know what it is like to be an ambitious art student trying to prep a portfolio to hunt for a job. As an art historian, I also know how important it is to be able to describe your artwork through written and spoken words. Through art history, students learn not only about different eras in art, but they also learn how to talk about art. These skills can be applied to any area of study—graphic design, the culinary arts, game art design, photography, etc.
Is there a class assignment that exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring? Similarly, how does your approach inspire each student to push themselves beyond their own perceived limits?
At the end of each quarter, my students are required to give an oral presentation. Not only does the student have to research a specific artist or art era, but they have to put together a slide show, a script, and present this to a room of their peers. This pushes the student towards a goal as they are faced with a deadline.
What role does collaboration contribute to students' success, especially when students from other programs contribute to the same project?
Perhaps when students are assigned to work together they end up discussing their chosen areas of studies through a critical point of view and look beyond the surface to acquire meaning. They could question the who, what, and why using methods of formal analysis to all areas of the creative spectrum.
In your opinion, what is the single most important thing you impart to your students to help them succeed in your class and in the real world? Alternatively, what is the most critical advice you would offer any student as he / she embarks on a creative career?
Work hard and always give your best—your work is a direct representation of yourself and your abilities!