Friday, May 18, 2007


EDITORIAL CONTACT: Lisa L. Rollins, 615-898-2919 or

(MURFREESBORO, Tenn.)—Three members of MTSU’s Department of Human Sciences faculty were recently honored by students as part of the first-ever “Celebration of Interior Design Awards” held April 26 in Peck Hall on the university’s campus.
Members of MTSU’s student chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) planned the ceremony to formally recognize Sharon Coleman, Dana L. Miller and Dr. Janis Brickey, all assistant professors of interior design, for their exceptional contributions to the students’ learning within the field of design, said Dr. Deborah Belcher, faculty adviser to MTSU’s student ASID chapter.
Dr. Kaylene Gebert, executive vice president and provost of MTSU, presented the awards on behalf of the students to honor Miller and Coleman “for their dedication, commitment and lasting contribution to excellence in the profession of interior design” and to acknowledge Brickey for “her outstanding teaching techniques and use of technology in the classroom,” Belcher said.
Amanda Alldaffer, publicity chairwoman and event coordinator for the campus ASID chapter, conceived the idea to formally acknowledge the trio, then enlisted the assistance of Belcher, also an assistant professor interior design, to help plan and involve Gebert in the event so that ASID members “could recognize them on a larger scale, rather than just in our college and program,” explained Lydia Melton, president of the university’s ASID student chapter.
Regarding their contributions, “It's hard to put into words what Ms. Coleman, Ms. Miller and Dr. Brickey have done for the interior design students,” said Melton, Murfreesboro senior. “Yes, they have taught us everything from the basics of color choices and space planning to the intricacies of fire codes and computer drafting, but their influence goes so much further.
“They are our guides into the professional world of interior design and our friends,” she continued. “I know I can go to them anytime with a problem, be it school, work-related or a personal issue, and they will use their experiences and intelligence to advise me to the best of their ability.”
Indeed, agreed Dyersburg senior Jessie Cook, “They have all pulled many strings for us to be able to have the best speakers, like Michael Payne, and many others for our monthly meetings. …”
Honoree Coleman joined MTSU in 1983 as the coordinator for the interior design program, dedicating herself to its development, pursuing accreditations, supervising internships and cooperative-education students in interior design. She also developed and lead study tours to New York and abroad, enhanced courses through interactive/experiential learning techniques and developed computer-assisted design courses and 3-D software programs to help prepare students for the technological demands and expectations of the profession, Belcher said.
“I was touched and honored that the students would take time out from the busiest part of the semester to host a reception to thank the interior design faculty,” Coleman said. “Our interior design majors are eager to embrace new technology that supports their chosen career … (and) as the faculty member who has developed, implemented and taught the computer application courses, it is rewarding to see students who are eager to explore new design tools and presentation options.”
A member of MTSU’s faculty since ’92 and a founding member of the Tennessee Interior Design Coalition, Miller said, “I was very impressed that the students cared enough to take time during the last week of classes to put this together. I know they all have large interior design projects to complete and were working themselves to death.
“I appreciate their thoughtfulness, and I was very surprised to be honored in this way,” added Miller, who has played an integral role in developing and writing the Tennessee Interior Design Consumer Protection Act that is now under review as House Bill 84 and Senate Bill 210.
Credited with adding a wealth of design experience and technology skills to MTSU’s design studio, including developing interactive exercises and projects for foundation as well as senior-level courses, Brickey has been instrumental in bringing a variety of industry speakers into MTSU’s classrooms and student ASID chapter meetings.
“As the newest member of the MTSU interior design faculty team, I was
particularly touched by the students' recognition,” she said. “I returned to academia
because I sincerely believe in college students and their potential for development for the professional field of interior design.
“From my initial contacts during my interview process, I was impressed with the MTSU students and their individual and collective propensity for future professional
success,” she added. “During my first year here I have witnessed many examples of how students have embraced new ideas and technology … and look forward to many more opportunities to witness the special combination of talent, education, technology and individual dedication in the students.”
As for the design students appreciation for their faculty, “(Each of these women) make a daily effort in helping all of their students to the best of their knowledge.” said Cook, ASID co-president-elect at MTSU. “It shows in all of these women that they love and enjoy their career, making them great professors and mentors, and for that we wanted to thank them.”


• ATTENTION, MEDIA—To secure a jpeg of the award recipients for editorial use, please e-mail your request to Lisa L. Rollins in the Office of News and Public Affairs at MTSU at

Cutline: From left, Dr. Kaylene Gebert, executive vice president and MTSU provost, helps honor interior design faculty members Dana Miller, Sharon Coleman and Dr. Janis Brickey for their dedication to students, along with MTSU student officers of the university’s American Society of Interior Designers Lydia Melton, president, and Amanda Alldaffer, publicity chairwoman and event coordinator.

Photo credit: Jack Ross/MTSU Photographic Services

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