UT Welcomes New Interior Design Program Chair

KNOXVILLE — J. David Matthews is the new chair of the interior design program at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Though new to an administrative role, Matthews has 16 years of teaching experience in interior design.

“Dave Matthews joins our college with an outstanding background in teaching, research, practice and virtual technology,” said John McRae, dean of the College of Architecture and Design. “He has an excellent record across a range of areas crucial to interior design and to our focus on interdisciplinary collaboration. Professor Matthews is an accomplished leader, and we are certain he will take our interior design program into national prominence.”

Prior to coming to UT Knoxville, Matthews taught interior design for 11 years at Ohio University, where he was also the director of academic technologies for two years. As director of academic technologies, a position he held while teaching, he assisted faculty to improve teaching and learning with technology.

Matthews’ first full-time teaching position was as an assistant professor in the Department of Housing and Interior Design at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro for five years. Prior to that, he spent three years in the professional arena as a designer.

Matthews, who also will be a teaching professor in the program at UT, has learned a lot from his years as an educator.

“The most valuable lesson I have learned from teaching is to listen and respond to the wide array of creative ideas students have,” he said. “Each student brings a unique experience to the classroom, and my job is to facilitate learning in a manner that recognizes their individual experiences and ideas and furthers their understanding of design.”

Matthews has had experience in technology and teaching collaborative studios with students from China and Japan and hopes to help improve global initiatives in the College of Architecture and Design as well.

“I look forward to working with the other faculty in the program in a manner that enhances a global educational experience and implementing new technologies to deepen learning,” he said.

Among Matthews’ many accomplishments, he is most honored to have been a part of the Ten Visions project that was exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago. The Ten Visions exhibition presented diverse views of the future of Chicago’s built environment from 10 internationally renowned architects.

Another significant honor was receiving one of the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards’ Excellence in Education Awards. This award recognizes one’s potential to build a relationship between architecture and interior design in the educational setting.

Matthews has a master’s degree in architecture from Miami University in Ohio, a bachelor’s degree in interior design from Ohio University, and a bachelor of fine arts degree from Ohio University.

Matthews replaces Josette Rabun, professor emerita, who retired in July 2009. Associate Dean Barbara Klinkhammer had served as the interim chair.

The interior design program joined the School of Architecture to form the College of Architecture + Design in 1997. The program is top-ranked in the state and has approximately 80 students. The four-year bachelor of science in interior design degree is professionally accredited by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation.

C O N T A C T :

Kristi Hintz (865-974-3993, khintz@utk.edu)

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