Kimberlie Wade, Associate IIDA

Kimberlie Wade

Finish strong and strive for excellence. Kimberlie Wade, Associate IIDA , Interior Design Instructor , The Art Institute of Charlotte, a branch of Miami International University of Art & Design

Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

In high school I asked myself, “If I’m going to work for the rest of my life, what do I want to do?” My answer: “Be an interior designer.” When I was growing up, my family often went to Parade of Homes shows and I’d walk into a model home and say things like, “Why did they put the bathroom here...it should be on the other side.” My mom soon agreed that I needed to become an interior designer.

How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?

I manage my own interior design business, so I frequently share my client experiences and show samples of current projects with my students. I stress that their education in this field is ongoing, and they always have to be open to learning and transferring their skills to new projects.

What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring, and how do inspire students to push themselves beyond their own perceived limits?

I often employ speed-sketching and peer critique exercises to encourage students to work through the ideation stage of the design process without over-analyzing their initial concepts. It forces them to assess their work at a rapid pace while generating more ideas. I want my students to be problem solvers and critical thinkers, and exploration through the design process helps develop those skills.

How does collaboration contribute to students’ success—particularly when students from various programs work together?

Student success and creative thinking thrive in a collaborative studio environment where they develop lasting, positive relationships with their peers. Accepting a constructive critique from a peer often pushes students to strive for excellence in their work. And when students from different programs collectively contribute to a project, it helps them learn to value the skill sets of other disciplines.

What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?

Finish strong and strive for excellence.

What’s the most critical advice you would offer any student embarking on a creative career?

Treat people with honor and respect.

Anything else you’d like to share?

My all-time favorite educational activity is taking my students out into the design community. It’s a labor of love.