Two MSU College of Architecture, Art and Design degree programs earn departmental designation
Contact person: Christie McNeal
STARKVILLE, Mississippi—Two degree programs at the Mississippi State College of Architecture, Art, and Design have now been elevated to full departments.
Mississippi Institutions of Higher Education recently approved departmental status for MSU’s Building Construction Science and Interior Design programs.
Dean Angi Elsea Bourgeois said the two programs already operated internally as departments, as independent academic units with their own leadership under the college umbrella.
When the College of Architecture, Art and Design was established in 2004, Interior Design was established as a stand-alone degree program with a separate curriculum leading to a Bachelor of Science degree, and was previously a concentration within the Humanities curriculum. The Building Construction Science program, which began in 2006, was also established from the outset as a stand-alone program leading to a Bachelor of Science degree.
Bourgeois explained that the programs were initially too small to receive departmental designation, but quickly grew in complexity as well as faculty and student numbers.
“We have long since exceeded the criteria required by IHL for an academic unit to be called a department,” Bourgeois said.
These benchmarks include a distinct financial structure and budget, an academic administrator, and a critical mass of faculty.
“We only had to ask IHL to create the departments within which these university programs are located,” she said.
“It’s really an outward and fundamental recognition of the stature these two programs have achieved,” Bourgeois said. “It demonstrates that these are important programs with all the fullness that people think of with a ministry.” The Dean said the designation recognizes not only significant growth, but also the reputation and achievements of academic units.
Since its inception, the Building Construction Science program has graduated 11 classes and earned full accreditation from the American Council for Construction Education. A new trades supervision option was also recently created as part of MSU-Meridian’s Bachelor of Applied Science program.
George Ford, who has led BCS for the past four years, said student enrollment has doubled since 2016 and will continue to grow as new programs are added.
“The American construction industry is expected to continue to grow for many years to come, and BCS Department graduates will become tomorrow’s leaders in the state and the nation,” Ford said.
Since joining the college, the interior design program has achieved dual accreditation through the Interior Design Accreditation Council and an additional body, the National Association of Schools of Art and design. Last year it added the Master of Fine Arts in Historic Preservation program.
Beth Miller, department head, said the new designation was a long-time goal for Interior Design, which also hosts minors in interior design studies and lighting design.
Bourgeois said the designation sets the units up for further growth and prestige.
“Department designation will allow them to be seen on an equal footing with our peers and recognized as the leaders in their disciplines that they have already become,” she said. “I look forward to seeing the growth these two programs will continue to achieve.”
Learn more about MSU’s College of Architecture, Art, and Design at www.caad.msstate.edu.
MSU is the main university in Mississippi, available online at www.msstate.edu.