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Kwaliteitszorg

Onderwijs

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MASTER OF INTERIOR ARCHITECTURE


MISSION

The interior architecture programme aims to train students in a creative, student-oriented learning environment to become versatile interior architects who go on to promote the faculty’s ‘Design for Life’ philosophy in society.

This is done by imparting to students throughout their programme, in a way which takes account of the interaction between practice (the profession and creativity) and reflection (concept and design programme), academic and professional skills that reflect the profile of the programme, based around four areas: Adaptive Reuse, Retail Design, Display Design and Residential Interiors/Furniture.

Explanation

The Faculty of Architecture and Art aims to lead the field in Flanders and Europe and to work with students,
lecturers and researchers on making the built environment better and more attractive. We aim to design with
engagement, dedication, empathy, generosity and plenty of enthusiasm. We aim to design for everyone.

The faculty’s motto is ‘Design for Life’. Improving the user’s quality of life – psychologically, aesthetically and
ecologically – is central to this. The faculty aims to offer its students, lecturers and researchers a setting in which
they can develop to a level of excellence in an international context, with a clear sense of social responsibility and
regional engagement. The interaction between practice (the profession and creativity) and reflection (concept and
design programme) is central to this. In other words, our programmes combine hand, head and heart.

The main objective of the interior architecture programme is to train students in a creative, student-oriented
learning environment to become versatile interior architects. This is done on the basis of four core competencies:
design, research, communication and entrepreneurship. The programme covers four areas: Adaptive Reuse, Retail
Design, Display Design and Residential Interiors/Furniture.

True to the university’s ideal of Bildung – the endeavour to form the student’s entire personality – the programme
also aims to pursue this general education. But of course it also aims to teach the students the professional skills
that are expected of a future interior architect.

VISION

By focusing on various social developments and future challenges, the programme aims to further raise the profile of its existing expertise and play an innovative role in a regional, national and international context. It aims to offer its students, lecturers and researchers a setting in which they can develop to a level of excellence, with a clear sense of social responsibility.

Explanation 

The interior architecture programme has a great deal of expertise in both education and research. Its research activities are highly developed and of international quality. By focusing on various social developments and future challenges, the programme aims to maintain this innovative role in an international context. 

Thanks to the close link with research, especially in the master's programme, and the focus on four specific areas, the programme also seeks to pass on research findings to our graduates. We also want to make this expertise even more visible in a regional and national context in future, by making a concrete contribution through the provision of services to improving the immediate living environment (e.g. the adaptive reuse of historic religious buildings). Relevant exercises are frequently worked through in the design studio at both bachelor’s and master’s level, with results that merit wider practical use. In this way we aim to establish the reputation of our programme even more clearly. 

The faculty and its programmes focus on the following goals: 

  • Excellence: We aim to safeguard the existing standard of education and develop further in order to achieve excellence. We are developing our recently expanded research activities with two goals in mind: (1) to generate an autonomous knowledge centre around a number of socially relevant issues in order to (2) offer substantiated, focused and excellent education. 
  • Internationalisation: Our excellence in research and design will extend the programmes’ and research groups’ existing international network. It will be further underpinned by the international recruitment of and collaboration with students, lecturers and researchers. The international profile of the faculty and its programmes will be further developed. 
  • Social responsibility: Design education always focuses on a particular audience and particular users. The activities and projects of students, lecturers and researchers, and hence of the faculty, have a social relevance. This social relevance and visibility allow the faculty to assume its responsibility in numerous fields, including culture, the arts, social relations, education and the economy. 

On the basis of these goals, the interior architecture programme aims to take various actions in education and research in order to become a key player in Limburg with respect to all aspects of these disciplines within five years. Within Flanders, it aims to be of significant importance in a few specific research fields. The faculty wants to further develop an exceptional knowledge concentration for some of these fields, gaining an international reputation and even becoming an acknowledged centre of expertise. 

In the years ahead, the faculty plans to profile itself even more strongly in Flanders, Euregio and the world. The research activities that will be developed will give rise to exclusive expertise that will also become very important for the identity of the education. International benchmarking is always important here. 

EDUCATIONAL QUALITY

The educational quality report provides an analysis of the programme’s educational quality. Staff members at the Quality Assurance Office conducted an analysis of the quality of education on the basis of the programme portfolio and data from quality assurance tools.

After the analysis had been finalised, the Quality Assurance Office and the Director of Education worked with the  programme management to formulate suggestions and identify opportunities consistent with the university’s educational vision and objectives.


The educational quality report was presented to the education management team (EMT) on 29 June 2016, after which it was finalised. The final report was sent to the EMT, the vice rector for education and the dean, and has been added to the programme portfolio. The report forms an integral part of the strategic plan, which is submitted to the Board of
Governors.

The education quality report reflects quality characteristics derived from the quality assurance system and the Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area.

VISION COMMITTEE

The vision committee focuses on the programme’s educational vision or visionary aspect. The committee focuses on the programme’s academic level and the up-to-dateness of its content. The committee makes no judgement about the quality of the programme’s educational aspects. 

The members of the vision committee engage in friendly but critical dialogue, based on a variety of perspectives, with the EMT and various programme stakeholders. At its meeting of 26 May 2016, the vision committee analysed the approach taken and the vision for the future of the bachelor's and master's programmes in interior architecture on the basis of the documents provided and a site visit. The committee held discussions with: 

  • the EMT, which explained the current curriculum and a blueprint for curriculum reform and discussed the vision of reform and alignment with professional practice 
  • alumni and representatives of the professional field, who were asked about the extent to which the programme meets the requirements of the professional field 
  • students, who discussed their experiences in the programme.

In this way, the committee was able to form a broad picture of the programme, its qualities and its challenges.


Members of the vision committee

Substantive expert, chair:

  • Prof. Wim Van den Bergh, professor RWTH Aachen

Peer:

  • Susanne Pietsch, lecturer Delft University

Representative from professional field:

  • Paul Wauters, lecturer in interior architecture, Antwerp University

Alumnus and/or student:

  • Katrien Geebelen, alumna

NOTABLE FEATURES 

  • Strong development of academic research with a balance between conventional and design-based research and the integration of research into education through design and other studios, research seminars, master’s theses, etc. 
  • Due attention is paid in the programme to the implementation of current social themes in the curriculum. The strong regional foundations of education, research and services are one of the programme’s strengths. The regional network is highly developed, giving the programme management an insight into regional needs through focus discussions with alumni and the professional field, teaching assistants, internship coaches, etc. 
  • The intense focus on internationalisation in the programme and the extensive international network provide insight into international needs and help to keep the programme up to date. 
  • A good balance is struck in staffing between research and professional expertise, with close cooperation between lecturers at programme component level / within the programme, including in studio work where lecturers and practical teachers from various fields of expertise uphold quality together. 
  • Quality assurance is supported by constructive cooperation among lecturers AND between lecturers and students through formal and informal contacts, and the commitment/enthusiasm of the staff. 
  • The professional field and students report that the programme turns out professionals with a broad education consisting of academic knowledge and skills within the field of Interior Architecture. Among other things, the students rate the design studios and master’s thesis highly as effective ways to develop research, artistic/creative and practical/technical skills. 
  • Students and the professional field report that academic, technical and soft skills (ESs) are well developed and meet their needs, thus ensuring that graduates are employable in a wide range of occupations. The students appreciate the choice which is provided with regard to design studio, research seminar and master’s thesis (dissertation/project). This specialisation ensures the development of specific expertise that contributes to rapid employability. 
  • The programmes use a common-sense mix of teaching methods. During their studies, students come into contact with a wide variety of organisational forms and teaching methods (lectures, exercise sessions, study trips, individual supervision, design studios, internships, group assignments, discussions/debates, papers, portfolios, design and visual exercises, presentations, seminars, etc.). Clear thought is given to suitable teaching methods, in light of the learning objectives and the students. 

RECOMMENDATIONS

  • The programme could achieve an even more distinctive profile by paying attention to the balance of professional (design, artistic, technical, practical) skills and research skills within the specialist areas of interior architecture. 
  • Analyse the possibilities of incorporating even more practical/technical skills into the curriculum, for example by extending the internship (possibly between the BA and MA). An extension to a two-year master’s programme is recommended, but the programme is subject to legal provisions in this respect. 
  • Expertise in regional aspects (industrial/cultural/religious heritage) has the potential to be translated to Euregional/international level (an international master’s in adaptive reuse). At bachelor’s level, student mobility could be further increased by the introduction of a mobility window. 
  • It is important to remain attentive to the strong quality culture of the programme. Ease of contact between students and lecturers and the close interaction/cohesion among lecturers must be maintained. Where possible, the input from various stakeholders needs to be further optimised and formalised. 
  • In the curriculum, the programme could usefully pay even closer attention to budgetary, building and legal requirements and to knowledge about materials and construction, linked to the design project and the attention to soft skills in addition to the ESs, such as entrepreneurial spirit, teamwork and improving language skills (within the discipline). This could be done, for example, via the possibility of an honours programme. 
  • Further develop an evaluation programme with support from the Educational Development, Diversity and Innovation Office, with due attention to building support. 
  • Quite a few improvement actions from the assessment visit report are included. These are not being systematically followed up on at present. It is therefore recommended that these be addressed more systematically. 

Strategy day and plan

On 3 November 2016, the strategy day for the bachelor’s and master’s programmes in interior architecture took
place. The vice rector for education, the dean of the faculty, the EMT’s chair and members and staff members for
education and from the Educational Development, Diversity and Innovation Office and the Quality Assurance Office
took part in this day. The strategic plan was approved by the Board of Governors on 7 March 2017.

Strategic plan objectives

ENHANCE THE QUALITY OF THE PROGRAMME BY WORKING ON EDUCATIONAL DEVELOPMENT AND INNOVATION

  • Develop the Residential Interiors section of the Master’s programme
  • Develop an ‘internship 2.0’ in the programme
  • Develop a transparent and up-to-date evaluation policy
  • Develop an innovative policy on teaching methods
  • Make further efforts in the areas of feasibility/realism in the programme in consultation with the
    professional field

FURTHER DEVELOP THE PROGRAMME’S INTERNATIONAL AMBITION IN TERMS OF MOBILITY, CURRICULUM AND NETWORK

  • Develop a mobility window in the bachelor’s programme (for both outgoing and incoming mobility)
  • Follow up on the existing international master’s programme in adaptive reuse
  • Identify the existing international network and draw up and implement an action plan for the further expansion of this network (including in Euregio) with strong international partners
  • Set up new actions and critical evaluation of existing internationalisation actions (incoming and outgoing
    mobility of lecturers and students)

STRENGTHEN THE EDUCATION-RESEARCH RELATIONSHIP

  • Develop lines of research in relation to the studios
  • Develop the learning of research skills, including artistic research

STRENGTHEN THE RELATIONSHIP WITH SOCIETY

  • Position fac ARK (the Faculty of Architecture and Art) as a centre of expertise through active participation
    in social debate from the design studios, linked to ongoing research in interior architecture
  • Strengthen fac ARK’s regional and urban embeddedness and its visibility in the region/city
  • Further expand alumni operations (incl. support for leavers) and relations with the professional field and other organisations
  • Draw up an action plan to organise one or more postgraduate courses

IMPROVE THE PROGRAMME’S COMMUNICATION AND ORGANISATION

  • Improve internal communication about the programme
  • Improve external communication about the programme
  • Define and develop a complementary personnel framework, in particular the independent academic staff framework, by 2022
  • Develop an offering in the area of professionalisation in education and research (incl. the exchange of
    good practices)
  • Expand facilities