Interior Design Instructor
The Art Institute of Pittsburgh — Online Division
Never stop learning, researching, listening, and observing. Elizabeth Thompson , Interior Design Instructor , The Art Institute of Pittsburgh — Online Division
Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?
Even at 10 years old, I knew I wanted to become an interior designer. My hobbies were building dollhouses and re‐drawing floor plans from the lifestyle section of the newspaper. It wasn’t until I attended college that I realized there are so many facets in the interior design profession.
How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?
As an educator and a professional, it’s rewarding to share my skills and experiences with students. I connect assignments and objectives to the industry, and advise students to build and enhance their portfolios in school and throughout their careers. I encourage them to join professional organizations and network with industry professionals.
What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?
Every class features a final project presentation. I advise students to think about their presentation throughout the process, instead of waiting until the end of the session. We often work with clients—who want to be part of the process, not just see the final drawings—so students need to be at the top of their games.
How does collaboration contribute to students’ success?
Interior designers work with graphic designers, architects, engineers, contractors and other specialists. So, the more students can practice collaboration in school, the better equipped they are for the real world.
What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?
Never stop learning, researching, listening, and observing. Interior design is a career of lifelong learning.
Anything else you’d like to share?
It’s wonderful working with students across the country in shaping the future of the interior design profession.