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St. Kate’s offering new major in interior design

Alumna and adjunct instructor Annie Ballantine at International Market Square -- a future site of St. Kate’s interior design classes.
Alumna and adjunct instructor Annie Ballantine at International Market Square -- a future site of St. Kate’s interior design classes.
Photo by Tony Nelson.

When Annie Ballantine ’05 came to St. Kate’s, she dreamed of starting her own interior design business and having an office at International Market Square in Minneapolis. Today, she has achieved both — and she has been key in establishing the University’s interior design major.

The new major, housed in the School of Business and Professional Studies, was approved in spring 2012 and started enrolling first-year students in fall 2012. Transfer-students will be admitted in spring 2013. Graduates of the program will earn a Bachelor of Science in interior design.

“Interior design has evolved as a profession, and it now requires well-rounded professionals in the field,” says Ballantine, who owns Annie Ballantine Design and has taught interior design classes at St. Kate’s. “Knowing how something works is nice, but interior designers must really know how something affects people in the space.”

Ballantine has spent the past year collaborating with an outside consultant and Trudy Landgren, associate professor of family and consumer science at St. Kate’s, to create a rigorous curriculum for the major.

The coursework focuses on both creative and critical problem-solving aimed at developing practical solutions. Faculty will cover a wide-range topics, including: sustainability and material science, business law, and design for special populations and nonprofits. Students will also learn to take a socially conscious and ethical approach to solving design dilemmas.

“This is a field dominated by women, and what’s lacking is a concentration of leadership,” says Justin Wilwerding, acting program director. “That’s why St. Kate’s business school connection is significant. We need designers who can think critically and know how to manage people and financials.”

Partnership with IMS

Upper-level interior design courses will be offered in dedicated classroom spaces at International Market Square (IMS) — a major hub for design resources and a premier showroom for many interior design and architectural firms in the region.

The St. Kate’s-IMS partnership will connect students to residential and commercial design practitioners, as well as facilitating valuable internship and part-time work opportunities.

“Our students and graduates will not only be interior designers, but leaders in the industry,” Wilwerding explains. “They’ll have exceptional design and technical skills, and great business acumen."

For more information about St. Kate’s Bachelor of Science in interior design or future plans for design at St. Kate's, call Justin Wilwerding at 612-223-8681.

Related stories:
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Rising Star
Designing Woman: Annie Ballantine '05

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Sep. 5, 2012 by Pauline Oo

See also: Alumnae/i, Business, Faculty, Liberal Arts