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SFA interior design faculty members awarded Best Presentation at conference

October 18, 2017 - University Marketing Communications
Professor Dr. Mitzi Perritt, left, and Associate Professors Sally Ann Swearingen and Leisha Bridwell, who teach in Stephen F. Austin State University's interior design program, were recognized with the Best Presentation Award at the Southwest Regional Conference for Interior Design Educators Council in Dallas.
NACOGDOCHES, Texas - Professors in Stephen F. Austin State University's interior design program were recognized with the Best Presentation Award at the Southwest Regional Conference for Interior Design Educators Council in early October in Dallas.

IDEC is a professionally recognized association for interior design educators in North America. The organization works to advance interior design education, scholarship and service, according to the IDEC website.

SFA Professor Dr. Mitzi Perritt and Associate Professors Sally Ann Swearingen and Leisha Bridwell delivered a presentation about service learning during the conference, which hosted design educators from universities in various states such as Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Colorado, New Mexico and Texas.

Last year, Perritt, Swearingen and Bridwell restructured their courses to include charrettes, intense design periods, to provide students with both an experiential- and service-learning opportunity.

"These projects demonstrate how students can use their own skills for service," Swearingen said.

In the first charrette, SFA students worked with Love In the Name of Christ, a non-profit Christian organization, to renovate a storage building into a bathing and laundry faculty for the Nacogdoches homeless community.

This year, students partnered with the Douglass Volunteer Fire Department to plan a new fire station. Students divided into teams with a mixture of classifications, and upperclassmen served as team leaders to help guide newer students in the design process.

"This process is good for students," Bridwell said. "It's rewarding that we as faculty members get to be a part of projects that mean so much to the community."